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Workplace follies with Barbara Walters

Posted by Jan Gardner  May 27, 2008 06:23 PM

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Barbara Walters is a bit gushy in "Auditions" when she writes about the celebrities and heads of state she has known, but she offers quite a social history of workplace mores, too, with herself as Exhibit A. Among the highlights:

She once worked for William Safire (later of New York Times fame) at a public relations agency. He denied her request for a raise, telling her she was lucky just to have a job. Subsequently, he gave her a sexy nightgown as a Christmas present. Go figure.

One of her clients at the pr agency was Lionel trains. She gave a set to Dave Garroway of "The Today Show" who played with it on the show, then took it home for his own enjoyment.

After Hugh Downs left the "Today Show," Frank McGee arrived in 1971. He didn't care for Barbara and didn't want her joining him on interviews with political figures from Washington so he complained to their boss. Initially, the boss said it was OK to eliminate Barbara from the interviews, but Barbara objected. Then the boss and Frank agreed to let Barbara ask a question after Frank asked the first three -- if there was time. Barbara was free to conduct interviews off the show's set so she did a lot of jetting around to further her career.

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