Cover image for Audition : a memoir
Audition : a memoir
Walters, Barbara, 1929-
Personal Author:
[Large print edition].
Publication Information:
New York : Random House Large Print, [2008]

Physical Description:
ix, 977 pages (large print), 32 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm
Lou, Dena, and my princess grandmother -- My childhood -- "Skinnymalinkydink" -- Sixty-three cents -- The pistachio green house -- New York, New York -- Miami at war -- "A very normal girl" -- Sarah Lawrence -- Television 101 -- Bad choices -- It gets worse -- Television 102 and a strange marriage proposal -- Passage to India -- A funeral and a wedding -- Thirteen weeks to thirteen years -- Becoming Barbara Walters -- Garland, Capote, Rose Kennedy, and Princess Grace -- Born in my heart -- Dean Rusk, Golda Meir, Henry Kissinger, and Prince Philip -- Sad times in Florida -- Winning Nixon, losing Sinatra -- Exit Hugh, enter McGee -- Marriage on the rocks -- Historic journey : China with Nixon -- A dead marriage and the Dead Sea -- Resignation in Washington. Victory in New York -- Fun and games in Washington -- Special men in my life -- Egypt, Israel, and ¡Hola, Castro! -- The million-dollar baby -- "Don't let the bastards get you down" -- Thank heaven! The Specials -- Finally, Fidel -- The historic interview : Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin -- Exit Harry, enter Hugh -- Heartbreak and a new beginning -- The hardest chapter to write -- 9/11 and nothing else matters -- Presidents and first ladies : forty years inside the White House -- Heads of state : the good, the bad, and the mad -- Adventures with the most mysterious men -- Murderers -- Uncommon criminals -- Over again, never again -- Celebrities who affected my life -- Monica -- The View -- Exit-- To be continued ...
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN4874.W285 A3 2008B Adult Non-Fiction Large Print
PN4874.W285 A3 2008B Adult Large Print Large Print

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Young people starting out in television sometimes say to me: "I want to be you." My stock reply is always: "Then you have to take the whole package."

And now, at last, the most important woman in the history of television journalism gives us that "whole package," in her inspiring and riveting memoir. After more than forty years of interviewing heads of state, world leaders, movie stars, criminals, murderers, inspirational figures, and celebrities of all kinds, Barbara Walters has turned her gift for examination onto herself to reveal the forces that shaped her extraordinary life.

Barbara Walters's perception of the world was formed at a very early age. Her father, Lou Walters, was the owner and creative mind behind the legendary Latin Quarter nightclub, and it was his risk-taking lifestyle that made Barbara aware of the ups and downs that can occur when someone is willing to take great risks.

The financial responsibility for her family, the fear, the love all played a large part in the choices she made as she grew up: the friendships she developed, the relationships she had, the marriages she tried to make work.
Ultimately, thanks to her drive, combined with a decent amount of luck, she began a career in television. And what a career it has been! Against great odds, Barbara has made it to the top of a male-dominated industry.

She has spent a lifetime auditioning, and this book, in some ways, is her final audition, as she fully opens up both her private and public lives. In doing so, she has given us a story that is heartbreaking and honest, surprising and fun, sometimes startling, and always fascinating.

Author Notes

Barbara Walters was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on September 25, 1929. She earned a B.A. in English from Sarah Lawrence College in 1951 and began her television career in the publicity department of an NBC affiliate in New York City. She went on to produce women's programs for an independent television station and later wrote and produced news and public affairs programs for CBS.

In 1961 Walters became a writer and reporter for the NBC television show Today. She was a regular panel member on the show from 1963 to 1974, when she became co-host. In 1976 Walters signed a then-record $1 million contract and moved to the rival ABC network as correspondent and the first female co-anchor of network evening news. In 1979 she began her 25 years as co-host of the television news magazine 20/20. She is also known for the Barbara Walters Specials, an irregularly scheduled celebrity interview series, as well as her participation and patronage of the daytime women's talk show, The View. She was a contributor to the magazines Good Housekeeping, Family Weekly, and Reader's Digest, and in 1970 her popular book "How to Talk to Practically Anybody about Practically Anything" was published. She has also written the autobiography "Audition."

In 1975 Walters was named broadcaster of the year by the International Radio and TV Society. She has won Daytime and Prime Time Emmy Awards and the GLAAD Excellence in Media award. Walters received a Hollywood Walk of Fame star in 2007 and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the New York Women's Agenda in 2008. In 2009 she was honored at the 30th Annual News and Documentary Emmy Awards with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Audition might seem an odd title for this long-awaited autobiography. After all, who is more established in the public's mind than the iconic Walters? But  that's what is so terrific about this book. Walters really does let readers see what's behind her TV persona, and in many ways, what she reveals is an insecure woman whose life has been one audtion after another. The daughter of a night-club impresario and a mother who wanted a more stable life, Walters moved a lot, ever the new kid. But the greatest influence on her young life was her mildly retarded sister, who evoked in Walters both love and guilt. Her family's ups and downs led her to believe that one day she would be financially responsible for them, and that eventually happened. But as Walters makes clear, this insecurity is also what propelled her forward; her strong work ethic and some good timing also helped to shape her amazing career. However, all that success came at a price. It affected her marriages and her daughter, and it engendered amazing hostility from male colleagues unwilling to give this pioneer a break. For readers of a certain age, much of the pleasure of the book comes in remembering along with Walters: her star interviews, her trip to the Bay of Pigs with Castro, her talks with kings, queens, and presidents. Then there's dish on what really happened behind the scenes at The View. A smart, funny, fascinating book in which Walters captures possibly her most elusive subject: herself.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2008 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Starred Review. Although Walters writes, It was not in my nature to be courageous, to be the first, her compulsively readable memoir proves otherwise. No one lasts on TV for more than 45 years without the ability to make viewers feel comfortable, and Walters's amiable persona perfectly translates to the page. She gives us an entertaining panorama of a full life lived and recounted with humor and bracing honesty. Walters is surprisingly candid: about her older sister's retardation, her father's suicide attempt, her midlife affairs (including ones with John Warner--before and after his marriage to Elizabeth Taylor--and a very married Edward Brooke, the first African-American elected to the U.S. Senate since Reconstruction), her daughter's troubled teen years and her acrimonious relationships with coanchors Frank McGee and Harry Reasoner. She vividly recounts her decision to leave NBC's TodayShow after 14 years to become the first female nightly news coanchor, and tells of the firestorm of criticism she endured for accepting that pioneering position and its million-dollar salary. Alternating between tales of her personal struggles, professional achievements and insider anecdotes about the celebrities and world leaders she's interviewed, this mammoth memoir's energy never flags. 32 pages of photos. (One-day laydown May 6) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved All rights reserved.

Library Journal Review

Listeners have two recordings of Walters's 580-page tell-all from which to choose. The abridged version is read by the media personality herself, and other than affording listeners her authentic voice, complete with her trademark lisp, this version is not worthwhile--lasting just six hours, it omits massive amounts of information; notably, Walters's affair with former senator Edward Brooke. In the unabridged version, Bernadette Dunne does a fine job as a surrogate for Walters. The quality of both versions is excellent, and both are appropriate for audio and biography collections in all types of libraries. The unabridged version is recommended for purchase, though some collections may warrant the abridged, CliffNotes edition. [Audio clips available through and; the Knopf hc, released in May, is an LJ Best Seller, a title most borrowed in U.S. libraries.--Ed.]--Nicole A. Cooke, Montclair State Univ. Lib., NJ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Excerpt from the Prologue Back in the sixties, when I was appearing daily on NBC's Today show, I was living on Seventh Avenue and Fifty-seventh Street. My apartment was across from Carnegie Hall and on the corner of a very busy street. It was also near several large hotels that catered to businessmen. Perhaps because of this, the corner was the gathering place for some of the most attractive "ladies of the evening." Each morning at five o'clock I would emerge from my building wearing dark glasses, as I hadn't yet had my makeup done, and I was usually carrying a garment bag. It seemed obvious to the "ladies" that there was some big "number" I had just left. Now, bear in mind that, even then, I wasn't exactly a spring chicken. But I would emerge and look at the young ladies, some of whom were still teenagers. "Good morning," I would say. "Good morning," they would answer. And then I would get into this long black limousine with its uniformed driver, and we would glide off into the early morning light. And you know what effect all this had on the ladies?     I gave them hope.  Perhaps this book may do that for you.  So here it is, the whole package, from the beginning. From the Hardcover edition. Excerpted from Audition: A Memoir by Barbara Walters All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.