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JOY BEHAR SHOW
Interview with Debbie Reynolds; Finding Fergie
Aired December 21, 2011 - 22:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOY BEHAR, HLN HOST: The duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, has spent a lot of time in the tabloids, but who hasn`t? I spent one filthy weekend with Andy Griffith and they never leave me alone.
Anyway, the scandals and turmoil took a huge toil on her psyche, so she embarked on a healing journey, documenting in a new book called "Finding Sarah," and a new series on the Own Network of the same name. In this scene, she consults a shaman
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH FERGUSON, DUCHESS OF YORK: Why. That`s good.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just when you do the movement, don`t comment on it. Stay with it. Stay in it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BEHAR: Where does one find shamans nowadays? Shamans R Us?
With me now is the very lovely Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York. Hello, Sarah, so happy to see you again.
FERGUSON: Thank you for having me on your show. It`s exciting. It`s a first.
BEHAR: Yes, it is a first, that`s right. I think you`re the first royal we`ve had on also. You`re still a royal?
FERGUSON: Well, no. I am the Duchess of York and I live in the same house as my handsome prince, but I wouldn`t say that I`m part of the royal family. I`m divorced from the royal family.
BEHAR: I know. I know. You had the mother-in-law from hell, if you want my opinion.
FERGUSON: Actually, you know what, Joy? She is the finest lady I ever met in my life.
BEHAR: Oh, really?
FERGUSON: I just absolutely adore her.
BEHAR: Then why didn`t she invite you to the wedding?
FERGUSON: It wasn`t her choice.
BEHAR: Why not? She`s the queen. Who else has got authority over the queen?
FERGUSON: It was so wonderful because it was William`s day, and he was so happy. And him and Catherine looked so great. And the girls, I was proud of the girls.
BEHAR: Oh, Beatrice and Eugenie. I know.
FERGUSON: Did you like the hat?
BEHAR: Oh, the hat is a riot. Who picked out that hat, I mean?
FERGUSON: Well, she and Phillip Treacy. Great man, wonderful Irishman. Full of joy.
BEHAR: People are saying, oh, Sarah Ferguson probably picked it out so that they would have fun and all the cameras would be on Beatrice. And then --
FERGUSON: It`s funny how they all think that about me. I was tucked away in the embrace of Thailand, in the jungle, listening to sort of the harmony of all the birds.
BEHAR: Is that what you were doing during the wedding?
FERGUSON: I was. I was at a place called Kamalaya (ph), which is a great wellness center, and I went there to learn to meditate and be calm and be cool.
BEHAR: Did you learn how to do it?
FERGUSON: I did. I did. And it didn`t have any televisions or radios, so that was an added bonus.
BEHAR: Did you do that on purpose?
BEHAR: You did it on purpose, to get away from it all.
FERGUSON: Yes, I did, yes.
BEHAR: But no. The hat, Beatrice, she sold that hat -- they sold it on eBay or something?
BEHAR: Good for her.
FERGUSON: And she turned a disaster into a triumph.
BEHAR: I think she had a sense of humor about it. And that was charming. And we all had fun with it, and so what? It`s a hat.
FERGUSON: Yes. And actually, you know, they were -- they loved the day. You know? And I think Andrew was -- on the morning he rang me and he said, you know, gosh, here we -- it`s going to Westminster Abbey. And I said, yes, are you wearing your same uniform? He went, duh, I`ve been promoted, I`ve got more gold bands, which I love in a way. Because that sort of -- he made it real. And I went with him, he took a photograph of me in his pocket.
BEHAR: But you know, you have to know that we`ve been talking about the fact that you weren`t invited to the wedding quite a bit on this show.
FERGUSON: Have you?
BEHAR: Yes. I thought it was wrong. I did. I think it`s a bad idea. I mean, not that they can -- they`re not exactly the Waltons, the royal family, you know what I`m saying? The Nazi uniform, the tampon episode with Charles. They got after you for toe-sucking. Meanwhile, what about that conversation of the tampon with Camilla? You know what I mean?
FERGUSON: Joy, you have been around a long time. Of course --
BEHAR: Yes, I have been.
BEHAR: I think it was the (INAUDIBLE) era when I was born.
FERGUSON: Almost the same as me. I was born in `59, and those days were so different, you know? And now you literally can`t move anywhere without some sort of Twitter or somebody doing something. They`re on you. Yes, so I was sad, very sad not to be there, but I was very, very happy that it was a young, new couple, fresh, clean page, you know.
FERGUSON: It`s great to see the young royals really in harmony together.
BEHAR: Do you think that if Diana were alive they would have invited her to the wedding? It is her son.
FERGUSON: I think definitely. Yes.
BEHAR: Even if she was going out with Dodie Fayed?
FERGUSON: I don`t know. I don`t know.
BEHAR: They`re capable of not inviting the mother because they don`t like who she`s going out with. It`s possible with these people. I`m not a fan.
OK, let`s get to the harder stuff about that damn tape about you in the hotel room.
FERGUSON: Oh, for heaven`s sake.
BEHAR: I know. Let`s watch it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FERGUSON: Five hundred thousand pounds, when you can, to me, open doors.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It would be Prince Andrew?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that a deal?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BEHAR: OK. She has her fingers in her ears. She doesn`t want to listen to this. I know, I don`t blame you, because some people were saying you were selling access to Andrew. But you say no.
FERGUSON: No. What I say is that I can`t even look at that sad person. I was just lost completely. And it makes me really -- I find the whole thing really hard, you know? I didn`t realize that it would be seen as selling access. I didn`t even think about it.
BEHAR: What does it mean when you say 500,000 pounds to me when you can to me, open doors, it would be Prince Andrew? What does that mean, that they would meet him?
FERGUSON: It`s all been very heavily edited, Joy.
BEHAR: Oh, it has been?
FERGUSON: Because they forgot to write all the bits about charity and everything else.
BEHAR: So fill us in. Fill us in. What were you doing there? What were you talking about?
FERGUSON: What it was is I think after many years, I had gotten to the point of being this people pleaser and working so hard to try and keep all my staff and to keep it all in a certain place. And then I was doing speaking engagements, like every two weeks in order to try and keep above the parapet. To keep -- and I hadn`t really -- I lost my way. It was like, looking back, I go, who was that? Where was I? And my girls say right now, mom, you know, in a way we want to thank the "News of the World", because they gave us our mommy, because they stopped you from going, burning out, I think.
BEHAR: Oh, that`s interesting.
FERGUSON: It is interesting. And on the day, Joy, when I saw that man on Tuesday -- if I could just have a minute.
BEHAR: Yes. Go ahead.
FERGUSON: I was with that man. A friend of mine for 15 years introduced me to him saying, oh, yes, he`s great, he`s from India, he`s got a big company, and my father and his father went to school together. So you go along for the lunch. And the man said -- he couldn`t look me in the eye and he kept twitching his leg. I said, are you nervous about something? What`s wrong with you? And in my heart, my instinct knew he was -- something was wrong.
And he said, no, no, no, I just want to invest in your business and help do charity work. I said, well, look, I`m going to London next week. He said, I`ll meet you in London for dinner. That was a week later, he came. So before I went to dinner, I said, can you sign a confidentiality agreement, please, and he declined. Then and there I knew it was wrong. Why didn`t I just leave? Anyway, what I said to him was --
BEHAR: You had an instinct that something was off but you didn`t go with the instinct. Because why?
FERGUSON: Because I wasn`t aware like I am now. I didn`t listen to my heart. I just overrode it.
BEHAR: You didn`t trust yourself.
FERGUSON: I didn`t trust myself. I didn`t -- I was so naive and so desperate to please all the staff I had, all the debts I had, that I didn`t think of the consequences that this could be a setup.
BEHAR: That`s another thing. You had so many debts, you were bankrupt you say at the time, I guess, right?
FERGUSON: Financially and emotionally, Joy. Yes.
BEHAR: Well, why didn`t Andrew give you some money?
FERGUSON: Well, it wasn`t really like that, because I didn`t think anyone was really watching. I was going at such a speed. I was, everything`s fine, I`m all right, you know, the FINE -- frustrated, insecure, neurotic and emotional.
And the saddest thing is, is that I went to dinner, and because Andrew and I and the girls are all a team, and the man said -- you know how clever the journalists are, they put words into your mouth, and they then edit and cut and then make it out, and then the world saw whatever they wanted to show.
FERGUSON: So I was sitting there and I went, yes, yes, yes, too much wine, you know. Exhausted, absolutely exhausted. And I made a big, giant mistake.
BEHAR: You made a mistake. All right.
FERGUSON: I made a mistake. And I made a mistake, and I still have to sit here and say --
BEHAR: I think you suffered more than you had to. You`re not Charles Manson, Sarah. You know what I mean? It`s like so you made a mistake. So what?
BEHAR: People look at this and the sex scandals we`re dealing with constantly. Those are mistakes, you know?
FERGUSON: I think the great thing, Joy, is that, you know, I`m one of those people, I went, Sarah, you did it, and now you`ve got to repair. And Andrew`s been amazing. In fact, he`s helped me with all of my finances and in fact he`s helped -- I`m now debt-free.
BEHAR: That`s great.
FERGUSON: And he`s been there for me.
BEHAR: I`m glad for you, and I want to find out when we come back whether Dr. Phil helped you at all.
FERGUSON: All right, OK.
BEHAR: So we`ll have more with Sarah Ferguson in just a minute.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FERGUSON: Whole bookshops don`t have my books, because they believe that I`m not the kind of person they want in their bookshops. I was pretty sad to hear that. I can`t let that discourage me. I`m here to reinvent myself and that`s what really matters.
BEHAR: Glad to see you`re back.
FERGUSON: Coming back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BEHAR: That was me running into the Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, on 57th Street. I can`t believe I didn`t stop. There must have been a big sale at Bloomingdale`s.
And I`m back with Fergie herself. So you know, I watched the episode where you and Dr. Phil had a chat. And he was telling you that you`re addicted to being liked. Right?
And he was a little hard on you with that, I think. Most people want to be liked, but you tell me why it`s an addiction for you.
FERGUSON: Well, I didn`t realize it was an addiction until he told me. And I actually wanted to hug him, because, you know, when somebody suddenly labels your behavior, you suddenly go, OK, now I can fix it. And it gave me hope.
What I want to do is I want everyone to love me. And therefore, you go and you do everything else for everybody else and you get caught, which is what happened to me.
BEHAR: But let me be an armchair shrink for a second, because I also heard about your early childhood, where your mother abandoned you basically at 12 years old, and then you had some other things where your father was not very nice to you.
FERGUSON: Called me (INAUDIBLE).
BEHAR: Called you names and everything. Well, that will lower your self-esteem, and -- your mother leaving, a child must think, my goodness, I must be so unlovable, you know? And of course -- like me, like me, my mommy didn`t like me. I mean, it`s a very deep issue.
I don`t think that Dr. Phil can fix it in one session on an Own channel. It`s something that I thought, I hope that you are looking into that further and not just doing this show.
FERGUSON: No. Thank you, Joy, because the whole point --
BEHAR: That will be $50.
FERGUSON: The whole point of this, of doing "Finding Sarah" is that when the cameras stop, it`s a real work in progress. And so after the cameras stopped in January, I took myself off for three or four weeks, and I did four hours a day on personal mentoring on this exact subject.
BEHAR: Right. I mean, some people are asking, why are you doing a TV show, et cetera? And I don`t really think that that`s a fair question, because a lot of people do TV shows. We all work for a living. And this is the one you decided to do.
I think that your show is particularly painful for you, and it`s hard to watch because you`re in such pain sometimes, you know?
FERGUSON: Well, I think that being such a public figure and having humiliated myself so suitably well, you get to a point where, when someone says, why did you go seek help and the cameras are there, let them in. You`ve gone and blown it anyway, so why don`t you just go and learn some more.
And in learning, you know, it`s not about me. It`s about the viewer. Let`s say the viewer can say, well, I don`t want to even mention it, but maybe through her I can. And I hope, I hope that that`s -- in my microscopic (ph) world that people can see, OK, maybe I can help myself. There`s a lot of lonely people out there.
BEHAR: You don`t know people like that?
FERGUSON: No, there`s a lot of lonely people.
BEHAR: A lot of lonely people.
BEHAR: Who need to have some kind of help, I think. You know, I do psychodrama. You ever try that?
FERGUSON: No. What`s that?
BEHAR: Well, you basically do some role playing. So we would have you in a room with you and your mother. And you would reverse roles with her. You`d say, mommy, why did you leave? And she -- you would answer as her. And you might be able to come to some conclusion.
FERGUSON: Yes. Well, actually, funnily enough, we call that neuro- linguistic programming in the Warrior (ph) program, and I`ve been working with --
BEHAR: That`s good.
FERGUSON: -- two years on that. And it really does work. We go back in time, back to the time line, and I speak to my mom.
BEHAR: 12 years old. That`s it.
FERGUSON: And go backwards (ph) and look down.
BEHAR: Oh, perfect.
FERGUSON: That`s what I do.
BEHAR: That`s very similar. And I think that -- because that way you connect the insight with the feeling.
BEHAR: And it all comes together for you.
FERGUSON: Right. And if you can change the way the program looks, then you can change it in the right way. And that`s what I did.
BEHAR: But one more question on that and then I`ll get off the shrink couch.
FERGUSON: No. It`s fun.
BEHAR: Do you get in touch with your rage towards your mother for doing that?
FERGUSON: Well, funnily enough, I have actually got to the point where I was able to say, you know, why did you go? And --
BEHAR: And I`m furious with you for doing it.
FERGUSON: I think the most important thing was it wasn`t -- she didn`t let me say, but why are you going, at the time. I remember it very well. I thought to myself, well, I better shut it all down, because otherwise she`ll be upset. And I did -- that`s when food took over.
BEHAR: And you`re also scared. You`re being abandoned, so you`re not going to ask the question. And you become more timid.
FERGUSON: Then you put up a brick wall.
FERGUSON: And actually, you know, what`s interesting, in 1972, whenever she left, there was no telephones to Argentina.
BEHAR: She went to Argentina. Like Governor Sanford. What is it about Argentina? Did she go off with a man?
FERGUSON: Yes, an Argentine polo player. And lived right down south, so you could never get to speak to her. So -- and then we went to war against the country, so I lost --
BEHAR: The Falklands.
FERGUSON: So I lost mom -- I didn`t only lose mom to a country and a man, but I also lost her to war.
BEHAR: OK. I want people to watch a little segment of you talking about your mother.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FERGUSON: I believed that I caused my mother to leave, and therefore I`m worthless and unlovable. My mom left me when I was 12 and she ran off with an Argentine polo player. As soon as she left, I remember going with my pony into the sweet shop and buying sweets, and then sitting with my pony, eating the sweets. And I remember that really well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BEHAR: So when you watch that, what do you think?
FERGUSON: Poor mom.
BEHAR: Poor mom. Not poor Sarah?
FERGUSON: No. Because I forgave mom and I love mom. And she died in a hellacious car crash.
BEHAR: She did? Oh, she had a car crash.
FERGUSON: On a Sunday --
BEHAR: It`s a tough one. See, it`s a very tough knot to figure out, because the mother leaves the child. The child is furious. And then the mother dies in a car crash, so you don`t even have time to be mad.
BEHAR: Because you`re so worried about mummy.
FERGUSON: And also Hector, the man she ran off with, died of cancer at 50 years old. So she didn`t have very many years with him anyway. And then she was a widow, sad, miserable, living in the pampas. So she -- you couldn`t ever ask her to be the mother then, because she was really needing to mother herself.
BEHAR: Right. I just hope that you feel as sorry for little Sarah as you do for mom.
We`ll be back with Sarah Ferguson after a quick break.
BEHAR: I`m back with the Duchess of York, Ms. Sarah Ferguson. Now, you and Prince Andrew are living together still, you still love each other. But what about -- first of all, is it strictly platonic at this point, or is there a little hanky-panky?
FERGUSON: You sound so British -- hanky-panky. We`re keeping it clean, Joy. We`re keeping it clean.
BEHAR: Keeping it platonic.
FERGUSON: We are yes, completely. No, we`ve been -- we`re very happily divorced to each other. When I`m in England, I do stay in one of his guest rooms. It`s quite kind of a large house, he`s got one or two lying around.
BEHAR: That`s nice. Do you date anybody else? What`s going on with your love life?
FERGUSON: No, absolutely zero.
FERGUSON: I`ve decided that it is like a desert out here, you know, and it`s time, it`s time. But actually, if anyone comes along, they`re going to have to put up with the press and blah, blah, blah. And him because Prince Andrew is always there with me. So they`re going to have to --
BEHAR: So what are you going to do? You can`t be just a single woman for the rest of your life, can you?
FERGUSON: Well, I`m 51. Hopefully not.
BEHAR: But you have to do something about that.
FERGUSON: Well, I don`t know. OK, more therapy. What do I do?
BEHAR: What kind of men are you interested in?
FERGUSON: Humor, tall.
BEHAR: Humor, tall. Yes.
FERGUSON: Good looking, great looking.
BEHAR: President Obama?
FERGUSON: I think he`s kind of unavailable. What about Liam Neeson, he`d be great.
BEHAR: Liam Neeson. Oh, the widower. I mean --
BEHAR: That`s perfect. And you`re both -- he`s not really British. He`s Irish.
FERGUSON: Irish, but I`m Irish.
BEHAR: Close enough -- oh, you`re Irish, of course.
FERGUSON: Red hair and you know --
BEHAR: So he`s your type.
FERGUSON: Feisty and -- let`s put it out through the show.
FERGUSON: Maybe his agent`s listening.
BEHAR: Who else? Let`s say Liam is not available, who else?
FERGUSON: Unavailable, I think.
BEHAR: Do you go for power, do you go for looks?
FERGUSON: No, no, humor. Slightly cutting edge, a bit wacky. I mean, I`ve had the best with Andrew. I did. Best looking --
BEHAR: But when you married him, you didn`t really know him very well, and the marriage -- what did you say, you spent 40 days a year with him.
FERGUSON: Yes. For the past five years --
BEHAR: So how long did you know him before you actually got married? You were a pretty bride, by the way.
FERGUSON: Thank you.
BEHAR: Very pretty.
FERGUSON: Yes, well, actually, we met in August. And I had three dinner dates in a weekend and we got married in July.
BEHAR: So you were just unformed, both of you.
FERGUSON: But Diana had the same with Charles, you know.
BEHAR: Oh, yes.
FERGUSON: And I think after that, after Diana and I, the other brides, they have had -- I think that everybody got to understand it`s better to go and sort of spend some time, knowing what you`re getting into.
BEHAR: How do you think the queen mom is feeling about Kate? She is a commoner, as they say, which is such a derogatory term, isn`t it?
FERGUSON: Everybody`s a human being. And true royalty is royalty in heart, you know?
BEHAR: That`s right, Sarah. I really wish you the best, my dear. I`m glad you came by. And you`re doing great.
"Finding Sarah" airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on OWN. And her book, also called "Finding Sarah," is available in stores on June 28th.
We`ll be right back.
JOY BEHAR, HLN HOST: She was just 16 when she was discovered at a beauty contest and was soon singing and dancing in movies with the likes of Gene Kelly. Check her out in the classic film "Singing in the Rain."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BEHAR: I`m exhausted just watching that. Here with me now is stage and screen star, the very talented Debbie Reynolds. Applause, applause, applause.
BEHAR: OK, Debbie -- you were with two of the greatest dancers in America.
DEBBIE REYNOLDS, ACTRESS: Ever.
BEHAR: Gene Kelly and Donald O`Connor. Were you a dancer at that time, too?
REYNOLDS: No dancer. I was fresh from high school and a gymnast. I was a gymnast.
BEHAR: That was close enough. You knew how to move.
REYNOLDS: You could flip off a bar, but you couldn`t make your toes move. It`s very different.
BEHAR: You had a musical talent that they brought out.
REYNOLDS: God was good to me and gave me musical talent. I`m glad you said that.
BEHAR: Of course you do. So, you know, as you`ve been watching the story about Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver, I was thinking, were you getting flashbacks to -- there`s so many similarity to what happened to you back in the day.
REYNOLDS: Eddie screwed the housekeeper?
BEHAR: No -- you know what, Debbie --
REYNOLDS: I thought it was Elizabeth --
BEHAR: One thing about Elizabeth, she didn`t do windows. I know that about Elizabeth Taylor.
REYNOLDS: Never knew that --
BEHAR: There was other things about it. It`s public, humiliation --
REYNOLDS: It`s sad for the boy. The boy that was created in the moment.
BEHAR: You mean the love child of the housekeeper?
REYNOLDS: The love child. I`m really sorry for the love child. What`s his name going to be, what school is he going to go to, who`s going to support hi m?
BEHAR: Arnold`s going to support him, Arnold.
REYNOLDS: Has he been around him?
BEHAR: Yes, he`s been supporting the boy.
REYNOLDS: Doesn`t mean -- has he played ball with the boy, seen the boy?
BEHAR: I don`t think so. That I don`t know. I really don`t know. It`s different from yours, I think. You had a very public breakup.
REYNOLDS: I don`t think Eddie ever looked like Arnold.
BEHAR: Eddie was cute in his own way. You want to know the truth, I find Eddie more attractive than Arnold. I love a tall, skinny Jewish boy like Eddie Fisher.
REYNOLDS: That`s good.
BEHAR: This big pumped up thing is not my cup of tea.
REYNOLDS: Well, no. No, I didn`t care for a big pumped up thing. But anything bigger than Eddie would have been nice.
BEHAR: And you know -- yes, that`s true.
REYNOLDS: No, I think the whole Shriver thing is -- she`s such a classy woman, her whole family, and the background. And she`s such a brilliant woman herself. That I think it`s just sad. I`ve been there, done that, and it`s tragic. And it will take her years to get over it. After all, her children are adults, young adults. And --
BEHAR: Yours were little. Carry and Todd were little --
REYNOLDS: My children were little, and it was much easier for them because two years old compared to 10-years-old and 13 years old, 17, whatever the -- Arnold Schwarzenegger`s -- his name kills me.
BEHAR: Yes, yes.
REYNOLDS: Just California. His --
BEHAR: California. Yes. But, you know, I know it`s difficult, but I think the kids will suffer a little bit.
REYNOLDS: Oh, certainly they`re going to suffer. First of all, I`m sure that Arnold has been a good father, and I`ll sure that he will continue to be so. This is a tragedy for all of them, just for his one act of stupidity --
BEHAR: It`s not just one, that`s the beauty of the story. There are many stories of groping, et cetera.
REYNOLDS: I heard about them.
BEHAR: I wonder what your opinion is of that, because Maria knew the reports about the groping and all the rest of his peccadillos, and yet she backed him up and supported him in the governor`s race.
REYNOLDS: So did I with Elizabeth. I said I have to send her to be with her. Tragedy, her husband passed away, she`s our best friend. I want Eddie to be with Elizabeth. I think women do that that are really good friends and nice people. Most of us are nice.
BEHAR: Yes. Yes.
REYNOLDS: We`re not all maid-humpers.
BEHAR: Do you regret that but that, though?
REYNOLDS: I never humped the maid.
BEHAR: No. That you sent -- Elizabeth -- Eddie to comfort Elizabeth?
REYNOLDS: I think it was a foolish thing to do to anyone as beautiful as Elizabeth --
BEHAR: You were pretty, too, Debbie. Everyone talks about Elizabeth, how beautiful she was. There are other actresses who were just as beautiful as Elizabeth at that time.
REYNOLDS: Eddie didn`t see them. He went right over.
BEHAR: Yes. She was more exotic. Maybe you were more of a homespun type of gal.
REYNOLDS: I was a girl scout. I really was a simple little girl, that`s what I was. And he fell madly in love with Elizabeth. Now I understand, you know, so many years later. It`s in the past now.
BEHAR: It`s in the past. But your career is not in the past.
REYNOLDS: No, isn`t it great?
BEHAR: You`re still kicking.
BEHAR: And going and dancing.
REYNOLDS: It`s the only thing that keeps you alive, keeps you happy.
BEHAR: The career?
REYNOLDS: Well, I think so. I think performing just to hear the holler of the audience and go out and hear the laughter. You know, I wasn`t -- I make my announcement, it`s called "Alive and Fabulous," that`s my title. People are so shocked that I`m still alive.
BEHAR: No, they`re not.
REYNOLDS: Debbie? Debbie? Let`s go catch Debbie before she dies. Everyone`s -- kicking off fast nowadays, you know.
BEHAR: Yes, no, not everybody. Betty White is still kicking.
REYNOLDS: She`s kicking, but you know, she`s only one out of many.
BEHAR: That`s true.
REYNOLDS: And then there`s me.
BEHAR: Who else is there?
REYNOLDS: We`re kind of alone, you know. Oh, well, we don`t know.
BEHAR: There`s Barbara -- Barbara Walters is still doing --
BEHAR: She`s younger.
REYNOLDS: Yes. Barbara.
BEHAR: Yes. And you got into showbiz by accident?
REYNOLDS: Yes, I entered a local beauty contest with people who -- a really poor family, they gave away a free blouse and scarf if you entered, you didn`t win. I wanted a free blouse and scarf, silk, I was so excited. And I won, and that started it. There were talent scouts there, they took me to the studio and changed my name to Debbie. It happened like that.
BEHAR: What was your name before?
REYNOLDS: Mary Francis.
BEHAR: Mary Francis Reynolds?
REYNOLDS: Mary Francis Reynolds.
BEHAR: That sounds like a nun.
REYNOLDS: Does it?
BEHAR: Mary Francis Reynolds, yes, it does.
REYNOLDS: You say that because you`re Catholic, an Italiano girl.
BEHAR: I`m not that Italian.
REYNOLDS: She can`t speak it, but she`s Italian.
BEHAR: The studio system in those days was the greatest. They took care of you.
REYNOLDS: Put you under contract, paid you, taught you, you took lessons, you couldn`t dance, you will. You couldn`t sing, you will. Whatever you couldn`t do, whatever you didn`t know, you learned. It was a very exciting time. It was school without being schooldays. To me, it was a blessing. And I -- I`ve never forgotten. It was the golden era.
BEHAR: It was. Nowadays actors are out on limb. They don`t know what`s happening.
REYNOLDS: Not good for them. They`re wonderfully talented. All the young kids are very, very gifted. They don`t have the protection of the studio system which was a big boss, and they were the big bosses. They told you what to do. And I did it because it was right. They bought a script for you, they produced a film for you. They did all your clothes, they did everything. You were just a lucky person.
BEHAR: They were a little dictatorial. When we come back, I want to talk about Louis B. Mayer and what he did to Judy garland.
REYNOLDS: He worked her and Mickey Rooney --
BEHAR: Don`t tell it yet. We want to tease the next segment. We`ll be right back.
BEHAR: I`m back with legendary screen actress, wonderful idol, Debbie Reynolds.
REYNOLDS: We`ve been talking about sewing.
BEHAR: Yes, we were talking --
REYNOLDS: My mother was a seamstress, so I always bring it up somehow. Sentimental, sweet things.
BEHAR: So we were talking about the drugs that Louis B. Mayer, that horror, gave to Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney, too, right?
REYNOLDS: A lot of people -- Mickey would maybe deny that. They had a hospital on -- whenever anybody got tired, they gave them a vitamin shot, you know. A vitamin shot would pick them up --
BEHAR: A real vitamin or amphetamines?
REYNOLDS: Well, inside suddenly everybody went -- it picked them up.
BEHAR: I`m sure it did.
REYNOLDS: They did have a little help there. And it wasn`t good for, you know, Judy and I think Mickey and some of the other younger people.
BEHAR: Did they ever give you any of those vitamin shots?
REYNOLDS: They wanted to. But I really wouldn`t do it. I hate shots. I don`t like needles anyway. No, I didn`t -- I needed it during "Singing in the Rain," yes. But I didn`t. I figured, go ahead suffer.
BEHAR: They would get Judy up, and then they would give her sleeping pills to put her to sleep. No wonder the poor girl --
REYNOLDS: She was very hyper. She couldn`t sleep. She had a real problem. She would take sleeping pills to sleep, then she would need something to pick her up.
REYNOLDS: That killed her.
BEHAR: It did kill her. She was not that old. What was she?
REYNOLDS: She was 47. I knew her in the we end -- I saw her off to England, the week that she went off. They held her check where she was working at the Fountainblu in Florida where we were working side by side. They held her check because she went on for me. I caught the flu, she went on for me, they held her check -- wild things. She was so depressed, and they held her luggage, and she went off to England without any luggage. She was so depressed when she got there that they just said, you know -- so she went in the bathroom by herself. That`s just the saddest thing.
REYNOLDS: And what a genius.
BEHAR: Brilliant. One of the greats of the 20th century.
REYNOLDS: She`s still lasting. You know, the people today remember Judy Garland.
BEHAR: They do. Did you know Joan Crawford? Was she a bitch?
REYNOLDS: Actually, she was really nice, but she was powerful. And if she didn`t like you, I you`d be in a lot of trouble.
BEHAR: Was she mean to the kids like her daughter wrote in "Mommy Dearest"?
REYNOLDS: The eldest daughter, yes, she was.
REYNOLDS: She just would take it out on the oldest one. She seemed to get a little smashed. And unfortunately, the oldest one was up when she came home, and the other ones were in bed. Yes, that`s true. I knew her forever, her whole career. She was very nice to me, and, you know, just once when she hit me with the --
BEHAR: The wire hanger?
REYNOLDS: The wire hanger. It just hurt -- hurts right across the back when it hit.
BEHAR: What about Betty Davis? Her daughter also wrote a nasty book it her --
REYNOLDS: What is that? That made me --
BEHAR: Are you scared Carrie will write one about you one day?
REYNOLDS: Oh, Carrie will and has.
BEHAR: She writes about me, my mother. She says -- you know, it`s best to -- she says my mother always says something -- it`s better -- on pie as you -- I can`t remember.
BEHAR: OK, all right. But --
REYNOLDS: It`s very funny in Carrie`s show. See that, don`t catch mine. I don`t do that joke anyway.
BEHAR: Carrie is -- she wrote a lot of stuff about you. She wrote that "Postcards from the Edge." I think that was sort of --
REYNOLDS: That was made up. That "Postcards from the Edge" she wrote really about herself, about a boy who was a -- I don`t know which drug it is, but someone blow your head off, you know, she wrote it about herself. And then they decided to make the father in the show a mother. So Carrie just rewrote it for Mike Nichols.
BEHAR: There`s a scene where Shirley McLean is on the piano singing, "I`m here," I could picture you - "Oh, I`m so swell you`re so great have the whole world on a plate. Starting here everything`s coming up roses for you and for me" -- no, that`s Ethel Merman.
REYNOLDS: One of those shows. Yes, I did that. I do that. I do that. Any party I go to or I give, I always get up and sing and dance and do some -- it depends if it`s getting boring, you know. I like to kick it up.
BEHAR: Some of those Hollywood --
REYNOLDS: We did that in Hollywood. In Hollywood we had a pianist always hired. Everybody got up -- was supposed to get up and do a poem or read -- people wanted to read a play.
REYNOLDS: Everyone had talent. That`s why.
BEHAR: Everyone had talent. Everybody got up and did something, something kicky.
BEHAR: You know last time she was on with me, she told me -- Carrie - - she said that if she didn`t have you as a role model there would be no way she would still be working. Isn`t that nice?
REYNOLDS: I think it`s true about -- you can`t quit, you just go on. It doesn`t matter what, doesn`t matter how sick you are because maybe that will even work for you. And you`re doing it for them. The audience, they got there, they paid there. So you can get out there if you feel bad. That`s too bad. Your calling card is your talent. Your talent is to get out for the audience and entertain them to the best of your ability no heart mow sick you may be. In the end, you do feel better. You work it out, don`t you?
BEHAR: Yes. Even when you don`t want to go on, it feels better after you`re done at any rate.
REYNOLDS: No, yes -- no, you just do feel like you`ve accomplished something. You`ve done a good job of it.
BEHAR: Right. Now, besides being, you know, in your cabaret act and your career still going, you`re also such a collector of Hollywood costumes and all sorts of memorabilia, which I find -- and you have an auction coming up.
REYNOLDS: Yes, I collected for 50 years. In 1930, MGM had their big auction and sold everything off. They wanted to keep the land and get rid of all the memorabilia, costumes, cars, all the swords, everything. It was just horrible because real estate people wanted it, and they had it. And Turner bought the -- thank god -- the movies, and thank god for Turner.
BEHAR: Thank god for Turner is right. Yes.
REYNOLDS: And so that`s what happened in the `70s. And then `75, FOX had a big auction. They sold everything. And then Columbia and so forth and so on. So I went to every auction, I went to every person, anybody I heard was selling anything. I have a gift there by you -- I brought -- not a gift.
BEHAR: Not a gift. This is very valuable stuff.
REYNOLDS: This is Harpo --
BEHAR: Harpo`s hat, my god.
REYNOLDS: Harpo Marx. I loved the Marx brothers --
BEHAR: I never put a hat on, but in this case I will put a hat on.
REYNOLDS: Too cute. You look cute. You look cute.
BEHAR: I look ridiculous.
REYNOLDS: No, it`s not your type. You have to have a bell to go with it.
REYNOLDS: But I have, you know, Charlie Chaplin and, of course, all the wonderful costumes. About 11 of Monroe`s costumes, her beautiful white dress.
BEHAR: The dress from -- not "Some Like it Hot." from "The Seven-Year Itch."
REYNOLDS: Subway --
BEHAR: The dress goes up, that`s "the seven-year itch" right? How much do you think you`ll get for that?
REYNOLDS: We`re supposed to get over $1 million.
REYNOLDS: That`s been offered that in China. But I hate to see anything go out of America. American films have been in the world for over a hundred years, and naturally our history is what should sustain and last. And I wanted to make all this for a museum for --
BEHAR: Right, but you couldn`t get it together?
REYNOLDS: I couldn`t raise the right money. And then I just couldn`t get the industry interested. But now we have so many fabulous costumes, 5,000 costumes and cars.
BEHAR: We`ll talk more about it in just a minute when we come back.
BEHAR: I`m back with the fabulous Debbie Reynolds. I have some Facebook questions.
REYNOLDS: That`s fun.
BEHAR: Who was the love of your life?
REYNOLDS: Oh, gosh.
BEHAR: We know it wasn`t Eddie Fisher. Or was it?
REYNOLDS: Eddie Fisher was my first love.
BEHAR: Who is the love of your life?
REYNOLDS: My husband is the love of my life obviously. Robert Wagner I had a very big crush on.
BEHAR: Did you have a thing with him?
REYNOLDS: No, a crush.
BEHAR: You just liked him.
REYNOLDS: You asked me who I had a crush on. I loved David Nimmon, Dick van Dyke was on the other night on your show. He was adorable, he is adorable. He just fell in love with a younger girl. I`m out, just like that. Before I was in. I was out.
BEHAR: It said "Ask Debbie what was her most beloved role in the movies?"
REYNOLDS: "The Unsinkable Molly Brown." Great movie, great dancers.
BEHAR: I never realized until I saw "The Titanic" that that woman was actually on the boat, Molly Brown. She didn`t go down. "Postcards from the Edge," fact or fiction. You said it`s not fact, right?
REYNOLDS: No, but it was great writing. That was my daughter.
BEHAR: Your relationship with Carrie is interesting because you`ve gone through periods where you`re friends, and then you get mad at each other. Is that true?
REYNOLDS: I`m a mother, I`m her mother and I feel as though I must tell her the truth. And when I feel there`s something going wrong, in my opinion what`s going wrong, if she doesn`t feel it`s not going wrong, she`s not going to mind me and she doesn`t. So it`s fine, she`s had a very successful career, and after all "Postcards from the Edge" is just one of the little things, you know. "Star Wars."
BEHAR: She`s a very talented writer.
REYNOLDS: Writing a new play now. Now she`s on -- what`s the diet?
BEHAR: Jenny Craig. She lost some weight, huh?
REYNOLDS: Yes, 40 pounds.
BEHAR: Good for her. Is she happy and excited she thinner?
REYNOLDS: She`s very excited. Now she only has two boobs.
BEHAR: How many did she have before?
REYNOLDS: Well, one was on her back.
BEHAR: I hate that.
REYNOLDS: It`s not a good look. It really hard to make your clothes fit. And it`s hard to scratch.
BEHAR: That`s not genetic, is it? You don`t have one, do you? No music yet.
I have I to hear Zsa Zsa Gabor, I understand from her husband that she watches this show. So could you give her --
REYNOLDS: Zsa Zsa, if you`re watching, darling, we hope you`re going to be better and you`ll get the leg fixed up and divorce your husband right away.
REYNOLDS: Debbie, thanks so much for coming by. Debbie`s Hollywood memorabilia auction kicks off June 18th. For information go to profilesinhistory.com. And if you`re in New Jersey, check out Debbie`s act on Saturday. The woman is working. Thank you for watching. Goodnight, everybody.
REYNOLDS: Thanks, Joy.