My Audition with Barbara Walters

Barbara Vey -- May 30th, 2008

Barbara Walters

The original "Babawawa"

Last night I had the honor of hearing Barbara Walters speak about her controversial book, Audition, sponsored by the Harry W. Schwartz Bookshops.  Local Milwaukee news anchor,  Kathy Mykleby (check out her Drive by Video) hosted while a packed house sat mesmerized by the journalism royalty.

Barbara explained that she wrote the book for her developmentally disabled sister, Jackie, who she was constantly embarrassed by when she was younger and was always angry with because of her disability.  As a matter of fact, she named her adopted daughter Jackie, so her sister would also have a baby.

And speaking of her daughter, Barbara is quick to point out their rocky relationship and how Jackie ran away from home and Barbara was encouraged not to report it because of the media it would get and what that might cause her daughter to do in rebellion.  An unthinkable position for any mother.  The good news is that Jackie grew up and is now running an outdoor therepy program call "New Horizons," for troubled teens. 

Barbara also admits that she has a lot of regrets, like not following through on a crush on Clint Eastwood when he asked her to stay for dinner after an interview.  While she’s not nervous about doing interviews, in real life she doesn’t drive a car and "can’t make up her mind" (her daughter blames it on her being a Libra).  She doesn’t want a movie made about the book because she doesn’t want anyone to play her sister, mother or father.

Lori Anderson and Jeanette Klitzke
Handshake collector Lori Anderson and friend Jeanette Klitzke.  Lori shook my hand after learning I met Lisa Ling and shook her hand.  A first for me.

Then microphones are set up for audience questions.  Here’s my chance to be an ace reporter (since HarperCollins refused me an interview…the nerve!).  I quickly spit out my gum, introduce myself and throw in PW’s name hoping she’ll take me a little more seriously.  I thank her for my nickname, Babawawa, which she acknowledges with a smile and a shrug.  Now my hard hitting journalistic question… "Barbara, since you’ve admitted to "have done it all," what romance book have you read and enjoyed lately?"   Pausing to think about it, she tells me she mostly reads nonfiction to prepare for her interviews, but she can read her good friend, Danielle Steele’s books in about 20 minutes.  She also takes a moment to thank me for PW’s great review and I say, "You’re welcome."  Interview over.

So what hard hitting journalist question would you have asked Barbara Walters?

Bottom Line:  I think Barbara Walters needs to interview some romance writers so she can read some good books.  After 70 plus years, she’s due for her "Happily Ever After."

WISN News Anchor Kathy Mykleby Discusses Barbara Walters

Barbara Walters fans Amy Braun-Gross and Shelly Clumpner

20 thoughts on “My Audition with Barbara Walters

  1. Mel Francis

    I really want to read this book and I would love to see Barbara in person! Congrats on getting to be a hard hitting journalist, Barbara! And you’re right. Barbara W needs to read more romance. Everyone deserves an HEA

  2. Edie Ramer

    Barbara, first Lisa Ling, and now Barbara Walters. Your life is good! Fun drive-by interviews. It’s too bad you couldn’t have had more time with Barbara. You would have given her books and asked her to blurb them for you.

  3. Barbara Vey

    Edie, I actually did have books with me, but I didn’t even get close enough to throw them at her. :) Mel, look for more hard hitting journalism when I attend RWA. No mercy.

  4. mary s

    Wow Barb–I’m impressed! Now you have graduated to the heavy hitters!! Congratulations on your interview question with Barbara Walters–I think that was a very good question!

  5. Jennifer LaBrecque

    Barbara, I would have been a mass of nerves. And you know, some women just don’t do/get romance. My aunt — her preferred reading is business journals and books relating to finance. She actually LIKES them. go figure.

  6. Liza

    All I can say is Wow! I would love to get to meet Barbara Walters, but to get to ask her a question is so cool. Love that you asked her about romance book.


    “Barbara also admits that she has a lot of regrets, like not following through on a crush on Clint Eastwood when he asked her to stay for dinner after an interview.” Glad you brought up that question. She definitely needs to read romance novels! If she had, she would never have passed on a chance to get cozy with Clint Eastwood. And he has brains, too.

  8. Eda Suzanne

    Hmm. Has anyone ever done a study to see if there is a relationship between reading romance novels and having real romantic relationships? Gut feeling the more you read the more you want the real thing! If I had to ask her a question, I would want to know why she has done a 360 on older women who kiss and tell. She was very upset when a grandma admitted having had an affair with – I think it was JFK – in her youth. Barbara felt it was embarrassing for the woman’s children to know. Eda Eda’s Wit& Wisdom

  9. Tori Carrington

    WTG, Barbara! What an excellent experience. Thanks for sharing it. Actually, we have a question for you: Did Barbara Walters live up to expectations in person? I think that’s our greatest fear, that our idols won’t live up to our idea of them. One-on-one, Dr. Ruth looked like she’d come straight out of the Wizard of Oz (I know, I know, so un-PC)and I just wanted to hug her or adopt her or both, but I definitely didn’t want to talk to her about s-e-x. Morgan Freeman was much thinner than I would have expected, which I think is the case with most movie and TV stars. Mary Higgins Clark, however, was exactly as we’d envisioned, and I stood in awe of Tom Wolfe and stuttered in Jayne Ann Krentz’s company even though she’s one of the most down-to-earth people you could ever meet. So did BW live up to expectations? Did she have an entourage? Was she able to hold her own on the other side of the mic? Lori & Tony P.S. We caught the Clint interview in question, Jacquie, and it’s the only time, I think, that I’ve seen BW thrown completely off her game. She was so enamored with him that if he’d have touched her she’d have fainted. Hmm, then again, I think they danced. He probably had to hold her up. God, that guy was hot!”

  10. Barbara Vey

    BW was exactly as I pictured her. Very thin, but what surprised me was her talking about her insecurities. Didn’t see an entourage, but they hustled her in and out pretty fast. I’ve met Mary Higgins Clark and she was amazing and looked exactly like her book jacket. And, I agree, JAK is so very sweet.

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