Transcript:

Speaker Edwin Horne was my great grandfather, my mother's beloved grandfather. He came from. Oh, gosh. So he came from Indiana. He was half American Indian, half white English.

Speaker And it's this dog. Was that what that was? That was what I.

Speaker You're about to tell me about your grandparents or your great grandma, right?

Speaker Edwin Horne was my great grandfather, my mother's beloved grandfather. He was born in Indiana. His mother was an American Indian Cree or or we think Cree possibly may be black, but we're not sure from the Midwest. And his father was an English Englishman, a white Englishman who might have been a trader on the Ohio River.

Speaker What was Edwin's reputation in terms known for? I know he had a newspaper and he was an activist.

Speaker And yes, he was incredibly he was very my great grandfather, Edwin Horn was a Republican activist in Reconstruction. He had several newspapers in the Midwest and the South during Reconstruction. He was in politics. He was appointed to several jobs by the Republican Party, including President Benjamin Harrison, made him a delegate. He was a delegate to the I think the 1880 Republican convention and the 1884 Republican Convention. As a newspaper editor of Black Papers, he was influential with the black vote, which, of course, then was 100 percent Republican.

Speaker And when he got to New York to me just a little bit about him in Brooklyn, well, in Brooklyn, he became the first black member of the New York City Fire Department.

Speaker And I'm not sure if they knew he was black because he didn't look black, he was blue eyed and he was he his parents made him an Indian because in Indiana, in those days, it was you. In fact, his parents didn't make an Indian. They the government made him an Indian because it was the same kind of racism. His mother was Indian, so he was an Indian child. If you had a black mother, you were a black child. And in in Brooklyn, he became a member of the New York City Fire Department. He was a captain. I think certainly he was an officer because he was an older man. And this was a Tammany Hall job because he had become a Democrat. When he came to New York in the 1910 election, he swayed the black vote to the Democrats for the first time because they were all were mad at Teddy Roosevelt because of Brownsville, which was the famous black cavalry.

Speaker Teddy Roosevelt had mistreated the black cavalry who had been with him in San Juan Hill and had not taken their side in a racist argument with the town in Texas, where they were state based, Brownsville, Texas, and there was a famous Brownsville massacre. And so blacks were where blacks were accused of killing some white townspeople. And actually it was believed that it was white town townspeople who killed these people and blamed it on the black soldiers who they wanted out of the community. But anyway, that was what made Teddy Roosevelt unpopular with the black voters and what made my great grandfather become a Democrat. And because he was awarded rewarded by Tammany Hall with his job in the fire department and a Tammany sinecure.

Speaker And your great grandmother, Cora Horn, what was called cowhorn was amazing.

Speaker She was very different, Edwin, from from Edwin. Edwin was incredibly handsome. Edwin loved opera. Edwin used to go to the theater and he was a great ladies man. I believe my great grandmother was very serious. She came from the south, from Georgia, from Atlanta. She'd been one of the talented tenth. Her sister was in school, was a classmate, Fisk with WBB Dubois. And Dubois was in love with her sister, Lena, who was a great beauty. Cora was very attractive, but Lena was the great beauty. And Cora was a bluestocking. She was a suffragette. She was an intellectual. And she was a graduate of Atlanta University and of the the small experimental school grammar school that they had that the Northern Reconstruction activists had built for the children of those who they thought would be educated to become the teachers of the new black free people. And the reason my great grandmother went to that school was because her father was a member of the tiny black bourgeoisie of Atlanta in that time, because he had grown up that he'd been a house servant in Atlanta. And if you were a house servant in a big town, you got some sort of education. And he was somehow literate and he became a caterer and had a restaurant and was a solid citizen of the black bourgeoisie in Atlanta at the time. He had these two daughters who were rebels of that society. And they were both very attractive, very popular young women and very much concerned with the uplift, which was the great cry of the day. What was his relationship with this woman and display what the talents of the talented tenth was a term created by WBB Dubois, who was a northerner from a long generation of free blacks, and he went south for an education that we eventually went to Harvard. He began his secondary education at Fisk Fisk and where he met my great grandmother sister. And he believed that there was which there was clearly in the black population, a talented tenth who were known as the black bourgeoisie, was one tenth of the black population who were educated, who were middle class. And it was basically based on education. It was certainly middle class in those days was not about economics because nobody had any money. It was about education. It was about status. It was about whether you had a profession where you were a doctor, a lawyer, an editor, a teacher, not a working class person.

Speaker And that was the difference.

Speaker And what was it that the talent was supposed to do?

Speaker I think Dubois believe that they were going to teach and uplift the rest of the black race, the teeming black masses, as he called them, and cowhorn.

Speaker What was her relationship with the NAACP?

Speaker Well, I'm not sure, but I think she was an early member. She certainly joined every organization that existed. As far as I could see. She was in every she was in the Big Brothers, Big Sisters, the National Council of Negro Women, the women of Color for Peace. The she was Republican. She remained Republican all her life, even though her husband became a Democrat.

Speaker She was active in every sort of women's or race race oriented group.

Speaker So I gather she was an early member of the NAACP.

Speaker Um, I'm sorry. I just need you to go back over the answer. And Will was, if you could do that, was a member of everyone.

Speaker Well, Horn was a member of every organization you could think of the she was a suffragette. She was a Republican activist. She was a black women's activist. She was a education activist.

Speaker She was very much for no smoking, no drinking. Clean up your act. All of those groups she was a member of.

Speaker When you talk to your mom, what is she saying about this? This activist street lady, I mean, how much how how was she with her, adored her, if she or Cora do you want to stop?

Speaker It's just I'll just have some more of that. Sure. We.

Speaker The black bourgeoisie had a very special well, let me just talk about Brooklyn and those folks, it was a very tight knit group. Could you tell me what to to the best of your knowledge, what that group was like?

Speaker The black bourgeoisie of Brooklyn was an amazing community. It was very close knit, full of many, many talented people, many of whom left Brooklyn and went on to great achievement in the outside world is a very enclosed world, certainly for the women, for most of the women. My great grandmother, who was an activist, was different, but most of the women was very much about family, about a very circumspect and closed and quiet but active social life. Their incredibly social. It was a life of quiet achievement, I would say, because it was very much private, but very much they were happy people. I think they seemed to like their life. And it? S seems like a lot of fun. I mean, the young people had their groups, everybody had clubs, the young people, the women, the men, they had wonderful annual parties. Everybody went away for the summer to the Cape or Long Island. And it was a very interesting community in America that no one knew about. It was a secret.

Speaker And when your mother was growing up, this was the last one.

Speaker Yes, she did because of her family, but she was my mother belonged to the Brooklyn black bourgeoisie because of her family. The horns were very important in that society. But she, because of her unique parents, was a fringe member, because her parents were divorced and she was the only member in her group who had divorced parents. Both of her parents came from that world. Her mother's family had been in Brooklyn even longer than the horns. His her grandfather, my grandmother's grandfather, was a member of the Brooklyn Board of Education, one of the first black members, and he'd been in the Civil War and he was an inventor. And he had this wonderful shop where he sold his inventions. They all had to do with sort of household things like curtain rods and household artifacts.

Speaker And she married my great my grandmother, Edna Scotter, and married my grandfather, Terry Horn, who was the oldest son of Edwin and Cora Horne. And they were a hopeless match. He was also a ladies man, incredibly handsome, a gambler who had a Tammany job through his father working in the maybe Labor Department. Yes, I think because Frances Perkins was his boss and Frances Perkins became the first woman cabinet member under FDR and he worked in integrated work situation. And he married Edna Skytrain, who was this young belle of Brooklyn society who had done nothing all her life and not been educated for anything. But she wanted to be an actress. They got married. They got divorced almost instantly, having had this child who nobody knew what to do with when the child was born. Her grandmother raised it part of the time. Then her mother insisted that she wanted to take care of the child. Teddy absconded completely. He went to California. He did send money. He supported her financially, but he had nothing to do with the mother and child. The mother didn't really want that much to do with the child, but she was angry with all the horns because of her husband. So she would come back and forth. She would take the child and she was touring in her in her in her shoes, the Lafayette players in Harlem for a while. And then she went south in these touring black acting companies. And so the child would be left with different people in the south while Edna was touring around. Then every then once a year, she'd go back to Brooklyn and she'd go back to school and she'd go back to her Brooklyn friends who by now were calling her Salvation Sal, because she was like a waif in that community, which was so family oriented, so close knit. She belonged, but she didn't belong. She was different.

Speaker And in the sense of how was she treated?

Speaker She had a terrible time in the South, a difficult to write. My mother had a difficult time in the South because she was a little they used to call her yellow.

Speaker She was a fair skinned child. And they would say, why do you speak like that? Because she spoke with her grandmother, had taught her to say, speak Lena, you must articulate. She would say this to my mother when she was about six. So my mother was like always conscious of speak. And that was a very big thing with Cora Horne.

Speaker And when she was in the South, she didn't she wanted to fit in. So she would always, for the rest of her life, had these two accents that either would sort of merge or you see that she uses probably quite unconsciously by now. But that was because of this of having to deal with this new situation that she found herself in as an orphan, essentially. Actually, she had a wonderful time. Finally, when her her uncle, Frank Horne, who was a wonderful man, who was a poet and a member of FDS black cabinet in the New Deal, was dean of the Fort Valley Junior College, which was one of those southern colleges for blacks, which was an agricultural school, but also some academics. And he was the dean of that college. And mother lived with him and his wife and she had a wonderful time in. And she like that very much.

Speaker Well, it seems that he took her in because she had so many difficult things, difficult experiences.

Speaker Well, I think she was left alone for so I'm not alone. But she was left by her mother with different families who I gather most of the families were kind, but very, very poor. I know there was one situation where there were there was a lynching involved, not with the family she was in, but nearby. And there was great fear about that and.

Speaker And I think basically it was that her uncle came down and found her in one of these situations and was appalled and I'm not sure what the details are completely, but was appalled at the situation she was living in.

Speaker There was one woman basically sort of punished her on a regular basis.

Speaker That's right. There was a woman who punished mother, who was one of them, who was actually a very good friend of my grandmothers, who was also an actress. And she was living with them at one point when mother and Lena when I'm sorry, when mother and my grandmother were living in Atlanta and this woman was very strict, that's about all I know. And she used to beat mother a lot regularly for the smallest infraction.

Speaker And that's about that's what I know about that.

Speaker Do you remember in doing the research for this book, I take it you found that a lot of this from talking with you. How did how did what did you feel when you found out about this, about enduring doing the research for the book?

Speaker Excuse me. I'm not sure what you mean by the question. Do you mean.

Speaker Actually, what I'm gonna do is I'm going to paraphrase a great question, which was basically you knew a certain woman as your mother when you were doing the research for this book. Did you find out something different? Who was the woman?

Speaker Who was the child that used to be actually are? Who did I discover my mother to be in the doing the research? It's interesting because when I first began the research for the horns, I was fascinated by the family. I knew nothing about these people. So my mother wasn't really that interesting to me. And the thing that interested me about my mother in this story was what a sad little girl she was.

Speaker And I felt so sorry for she was so sweet and her parents totally neglected her and ignored her. And the only thing that she adored her uncle, she adored her grandfather. She respected and worshipped her grandmother, the grandmother. Her grandmother, I gather, was not a very affectionate woman, but her grandfather was very affectionate. And I just felt so sorry for him. And I felt she was this sweet, little darling, lonely child that she wanted to take care of. But she didn't, to be perfectly frank, interest me as much as all the people I discovered.

Speaker Excuse me one moment, we were caught and you started out in Pittsburgh, could you tell me a little bit about what life was like in Pittsburgh?

Speaker I'm afraid I don't remember life in Pittsburgh. I left it when I was about two.

Speaker I think maybe toddling.

Speaker I mean, I really don't remember. I remember a park across the street from where I live, and that's all I remember park with swings.

Speaker I remember my father. I remember I think I must remember my baby brother, but I really have no memory. I was two or three when I left. Maybe three. Yeah. When I left Pittsburgh, I was about three.

Speaker And when you left Pittsburgh, as tiny as you were, is it New York?

Speaker We went to Brooklyn briefly, which I remember very well when I left Pittsburgh. We we went to Brooklyn briefly. And I remember the House and Shauntay Street very well. I remember not details of the house, but I remember I think I have a memory of my Uncle Burke, my great uncle, actually, but we always called him Uncle Berg, and then it was off to California.

Speaker And where did you go off to California with my mother.

Speaker I was sorry. I went off to California with my mother.

Speaker Oh, no, I don't love you too young to remember. There was this. Did you travel by train?

Speaker Yeah. Oh, we traveled by train to California and we arrived in California. Remember, we started singing Mother and I's. We always did when we were with our my aunt Edwina, who was a horn relative who came from Chicago, I believed. And she was an interesting woman also. And my aunt Edwina, my mother and I remember we were singing Mother and I was singing anyway. Edwina probably wasn't singing California. Here we come. And we sang it at the top of our voices when the train pulled in to California.

Speaker Do you have a what were those early days in California?

Speaker Oh, I remember California. I remember the early days in California very well.

Speaker I remember our house, which is at the top of a hill called Hawthorne Avenue and I, where Humphrey Bogart was our air raid warden and he lived right across the street and Peter Laurie lived down the hill. And this was the great excitement in the neighborhood. And I went to school, walked down the hill to the school, walked down the hill to the Catholic Church. I remember the war. I remember having it. We had a victory garden. And next door, our next door neighbors were a French refugee family.

Speaker I'm sorry, I don't know why, but I remember the early days and I think that now I remember the early days in Hollywood. I remember our house, the top of Hawthorne Avenue. I remember Humphrey Bogart being our air raid warden. I remember the Peter Lorry lived down the hill and cars used to always slide down the hill. It was such a steep hill that cars parked at the top of the hill would slide down backwards, which was great fun for all the kids in the neighborhood. And it was wartime.

Speaker And our next door neighbor was a French refugee family. And my first best friend was a little French refugee child who didn't speak English. And she taught me my first French word, which was puppy for doll.

Speaker And I walked down the hill to school where Natalie Wood was a little child who I remember came into the school when I was there. She was either in my class, I think she was younger and everybody somehow knew it was Natalie Wood. We didn't know her name, but she'd already been in the movies. We made one movie, I think probably in Orson Welles that Orson Welles movie that she made. Perhaps then I remember going to church just to go to church.

Speaker Um, I don't know if you were too young for about the whole incident. We were neighbor circling petitions to get you out.

Speaker I was too young to really know what was going on when the neighbor circulated a petition to get mother removed from our neighborhood. So I only really heard about it later. Apparently, Humphrey Bogart, the great air raid warden who would come and say literally, you did have to black out the windows every night. So he would come and say he would be the one who would knock on the door and say, fix that curtain if it wasn't fixed. And apparently when this neighbor went to Humphrey Bogart, who was a great guy, who was always fighting with his wife at the time, who is not Betty Bacall, but who was Mayo-Smith. So I think her name was they were known as the battling Bogart. And they were always. Huge fights, which you could hear, and he said, if you come near me again with that petition, I'll punch you in the nose or words to that effect. So that was that story.

Speaker Oh.

Speaker Are you going to tell me where the church went down the hill?

Speaker I used to go down the hill to church. Everything was down the hill because we lived at the top of this hill and my world was very small. It was school and church. And I went down the hill to church, to the little Catholic Church and the public school where I remember very well when we learned not to give the fascist salute and pledge allegiance to the flag because or not to salute because they said it was too much like the fascist salute. So we had to do I pledge allegiance to the flag and not take our hand off and say in the name of the whatever it was, the flag of America.

Speaker And I remember when we were all taught to sing God Bless America, it must have been these were all in the same year, if not the same week. And that was my great sense of of the war. I became very patriotic and I had this little wagon that I would fill up with cigarette papers, silver papers. I remember asking Lennie Hayton, who was became my stepfather, but I just remember what I remember about Lenny is that he would give me the silver paper from his camel cigarettes or whatever cigarettes he was smoking.

Speaker And I would make this huge ball of silver that I would take finally so big and took it in my little red wagon to the school where you collect where they collected the silver foil. And I had a victory garden and I wanted so much to grow up. I wanted the war to last so that I could be a wave like Harriet Pickens, who was the first black wave or one of the first two black waves. And she was an old Brooklyn friend. And she came to see us. She was my uncle Brook's girlfriend, and she came to see us in her white wave uniform by Mambo. She was so gorgeous. And I just wanted to be a wave in the worst way.

Speaker When you were in California and there was at some point, which I guess you began to see the strange man, could you tell me as a child what your memory from my memory of Lenny as a child of big I mean, I don't remember him that much.

Speaker I remember playing the piano for him. I always play the piano for him. I used to compose pieces. I mean, I say this is a joke. I didn't compose pieces, actually, but I would play pieces for him called Storm and it would be lots of loud bass and rain, little tinkly and then sort of flowers bech happy. I was sort of they were tone poems that I would make up on the piano. I play them for him and he was very appreciative. Naturally he was going to try and be nice to the child of his friend and my memories of Lenny that and that and the cigarette papers basically in those days in the Horn Avenue days, that was about all I remembered of him.

Speaker And how did you find out that your mom and my mother called me and told me that she had married Lenny? This was in New York and she said, don't tell anybody. It's a secret. I guess it was 1947 and I didn't tell anybody it was a secret. And I liked Lenny, so.

Speaker It's fine that I love Lenny. Why were you in New York?

Speaker I was in New York because I was going to a progressive school called New Lincoln, which my mother wanted me to go to very much, was in her. She was at the time that she was campaigning very heavily, briefly for Henry Wallace and was in her political, very political phase and then switched to Harry Truman in the middle of that campaign. But I think it was basically for that campaign. And I went to this progressive school for a year before I went away to boarding school. I liked school. I never learned how to do long division or I never learned English grammar. It was like an anti name school.

Speaker What was it like?

Speaker To have your mom and how she I know she was a good mother, but she wasn't around very much.

Speaker My mother was a wonderful mother who was not around very much. So I suppose traditionally you would say, was this a good mother? But I think in terms of love and support, I always knew she was there. And fortunately, I always liked this. I like the school I went to from the age of 11. I love that school. So there was no and I was a kind of independent kid, so maybe I made myself that way. But whatever it was, I wasn't I didn't feel bereft that I'm consciously aware of because the holidays were always great fun and there were a lot of compensations, presents and trips and that sort of thing. Trips.

Speaker Yes, we traveled a lot out to California. Did you have any with you?

Speaker When I first went to California. I think my brother was with me. I said, you know, I was five years old, so I don't have a huge memory. But I know he was there parts of the time because I remember we listened to a radio program with my mother where she was on this radio program called Suspense.

Speaker And it was so scary that I was hiding under the table. It was something about under the coffee table, something about the Japanese or German spies being after her. And it was you know, we had the blackout curtain on the windows and everything. And I remember being scared and Teddy wasn't scared at all, even though he was younger and he was sneering at me for being scared.

Speaker Did you miss not being around?

Speaker Well, I think I probably did, though I'm not sure if I I mean, I don't remember then feeling weird longing to see my brother, but I'm sure I did, basically.

Speaker What about your dad?

Speaker I'm sure I missed him in the beginning. In fact, I know I missed him in the beginning and then I just didn't miss him very much. I had a wonderful father figure in Lennix who was just so loving and so wonderful. So that was he was really my father figure. My father was not my father figure.

Speaker Tell me about these troops.

Speaker Well, I use anyone.

Speaker Is there any one that stands out?

Speaker All the troops were wonderful. I used to love to travel and my mother used every vacation we go to Europe or we'd go to I'd meet her in California if I was in New York or I would go to wherever she was performing. I would go to at whatever point. And she was, oh, we were always together at Christmas and always together at the big holidays and always for the summer. So it would always involve travel. And I used to travel by myself across the ocean on the French line always when I was 10 years old, when I was 11, I guess I took my first trip by myself and I loved it. And I was always traveling by myself and my mother's manager, a wonderful man called Ralph Harris, used to give me all these envelopes with tips. What this is what you get for this. This is with a total itinerary of every minute so that I never felt afraid. I just felt adventurous. And I was a great reader.

Speaker So I was always reading and imagining myself and all these adventurous adventures in travel.

Speaker Were you aware of this time, I mean, when you were with your mom or the store or who was she?

Speaker Well, I think my mother was always both when I was little. She was not very little because when I can't remember when I first saw my mother perform, but I guess she very early on became mom and became Lena Horne the star, because I went to I went to visit her on the lot at MGM, which was a great treat, and I used to see her perform. So I knew she was a performer, except the first before I ever saw my mother perform. And I think I did not know she was a star. I didn't know what she did. I was taken to see Cabin in the Sky and I must have been whatever 1943 I was five or six.

Speaker I'm very bad about math. I was taken to Sea Cabin in the Sky and the end of Cabin in the Sky. I think there's an earthquake or something and my mother dies or seems to be destroyed in the general destruction of this nightclub with Rochester. Or he did. He was all right. But anyway, all these bad guys and who among who were my mother and I burst into tears in the movie theater and I was so upset that they had to go and call her and she had to call me and let me know that she was alive. So that was my first estar experience, I guess.

Speaker When did you did you get to see any of the fabulous costumes?

Speaker Oh, were you into the glamour of Hollywood?

Speaker I was not into the glamour of Hollywood because I didn't really know I was in Hollywood. You know, I was a little kid and this is where I lived. But I was into the glamour of my mother's clothes very much. She had this designer at the time and Hollywood called Edmond Kara, who is very handsome. And he had this beautiful sister who was a model, and he made her clothes then and they were so beautiful. And I remember once getting into terrible trouble because I had a friend spend the night when Mother and Lenny went to Palm Springs to visit Frank Sinatra. And we decided after everybody went to bed with two girls that we were going to try on all of my mother's clothes or try and use her makeup and get the jewelry out and everything, which we did. And we got all these things and we were parading up and down with all these clothes and having a wonderful time. When my mother came back, suddenly she had decided she was not happy that weekend at Frank Sinatra and was back and discovered that we had gone to bed without putting all the clothes away and everything else. And she was like, that's why I was punished. Couldn't go. Here was a radio show I was going to go watch. I wasn't allowed to watch it.

Speaker Now, what kind of mom was she in that respect, was she strict? Was she thinking about how she was?

Speaker My mother was strict about some things and lenient about other things, like all mothers. I mean, she was not very different from most mothers, except that she was a glamorous star. I think mothers, you know, all mothers are stars in somebody's life. So my mother was a certain kind of star in my life. She was my mother, the star, and she was my mother, the star. And she was very lenient about, oh, I mean, she never punished me. I mean, punished me. Yes. When I tried in the clothes and couldn't go, here's Sam Spade and once spanked me, which because it was theoretically because I told a fib, but I hadn't. And then she realized I hadn't and she apologized. And so she was never any kind of and rarely a raised voice.

Speaker But she was very strict about social stuff like coming in at a certain hour or not staying out late, not going out with the wrong people who in her mind were people who were too fast. I think she probably got that from her grandmother.

Speaker And Lenny used to let me drink. I shouldn't say this, but Lenny was a twenty's person and their big thing was they had cocktails all day long. I mean, Lenny, they were making cocktails. All his friends made cocktails. That was what the 20s did. It made drinkers. And he used to let me from the time I was 16 on have a brandy after dinner or have a little cream demander. And my mother would say, oh, I don't know if I approve of that, Lenny, you shouldn't let her have that brandy and soda or whatever it was. And I used to go around sipping drinks at parties. I didn't become an alcoholic.

Speaker I don't know why, but I really was interested in what the grownups were drinking. Moscow mules, my favorite, that was vodka and ginger beer, which they used to drink, and little copper iced copper mugs. And I like that. I probably should have been an alcoholic because of all the sipping of drinks behind people's backs that I did. Sweet drinks mostly.

Speaker Well, I didn't watch too many famous martinis.

Speaker I hated martinis. They martinis. This day, Lenny was the biggest martini drinker and he was the greatest martini drinker ever. I like the little onions he put in his martinis, but I thought I think martinis tastes like gasoline. I hate martinis.

Speaker Not in the same camp when moving into.

Speaker Did your mother ever really discuss with you what it was like being out on the road because as her parents began to dry out, she had to do a lot of clubbing?

Speaker I remember my mother saying one of my strongest memories of my mother always saying to me was, I hate show business. She would say it all the time. Sometimes she'd scream, I hate show business.

Speaker And I never could figure out why she would say this, but she always said it. And I think the show business she hated was nightclubs.

Speaker And there were certain owners of nightclubs, well-known hoods, who she would not allow over the dressing dressing room door, who would have to stand in the doorway and talk to her other hoods. She liked sort of elegant ones with wonderful manners. And there was a wonderful, wonderful man. And I think they were hoods. But, you know, there was always in Las Vegas you couldn't help but be slightly tainted by the hood element. And some of them were very charming, wonderful people who I loved as a child. But in other cities, not Las Vegas, some of them were really terrible people, I gather, from my mother.

Speaker Do you remember first?

Speaker I remember I remember the Bugsy Siegel anecdote, but I don't remember it happening. I remember being told about it that mother had been appearing at the Flamingo, Bugsy Siegel's nightclub in Las Vegas. I think there's probably then the only one. And she was on the bill, Xavier Cugat, who apparently was a sort of quazi racist or was not treating her with the respect that she felt she should have.

Speaker And I think he was introducing her badly or something, just sort of sloughing it off. And she complained to someone and I don't know who she complained to, but I know that she got a phone call in her dressing room. Miss Horne, this is Mr. Siegel. And I gather you're having some problems. And she told him yes. And these are the problems. And he said, don't worry, they will never happen again. And they never happened again. And Kogut was practically kissing her feet, I gather, after that. So one word from Mr. Siegel did the trick.

Speaker Did you ever see your face?

Speaker Oh, yes, I used to go to Vegas all the time. I loved Vegas. I used to see my mother in Vegas a lot. In the 50s, there was a place called Sands, which was the, I think the most elegant place there at the time. It's where all the big stars, quote unquote, used to be Sinatra. My mother, Danny Thomas. I don't know who Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. Those were the big star performers at the time. And the Sands was where they all went to. And it was a very it was run by the people who had started the Copacabana in New York. So the room where they performed was called the Copa Room or the Copa Cabana room or something.

Speaker And I loved it because all you did was sleep all day and then stare at the pool all day, sleep till noon and stay at the pool all day and then stay up all night and go. I used to go and see all the other shows that were playing and I was allowed to play the slot machines, which was highly illegal. But Jack and Trotter, who ran the Copa Room, or one of the part owners of the Sands, not the big owner, I don't know who that was probably a mob person, but Jack and Trotter was a wonderful man who had two daughters who were my age. And we used to just have the run of the town. We had the best time. So Vegas was really fun. But I don't think mother like Vegas. I mean, she didn't she liked Jack and Trotter, but she didn't like nightclubs really.

Speaker Well, we to stop. Did your mother ever talk to you about the blacklist, don't answer that yet.

Speaker Vaguely, you know, one story I can remember about Hollywood, if you want to go back, there was just a big three story Hollywood.

Speaker Yes, the most emotional sort of racial story that I remember as a child was not actually about blacks. But I remember it was the first time that my mother sort of came to me and spoke to me seriously about an issue that had to do with race or civil rights. I remember that she came to me and she knelt down and she held me and she said, I've just come back at singing for a rally. I don't know if that was a word. She's singing at a meeting about a Japanese American soldier who lost his legs and he was in a wheelchair.

Speaker And these people would not let him live where he wanted to live. And I sang My Country Tis of Thee. And I don't know why she was telling me this and obviously meant something incredibly to her because she was looking at me. It was like she was telling me something terribly important. I was thinking, oh, the poor man and the poor legs. But I didn't, you know, and it was something very important to her. And I remember that very well.

Speaker Now, do you remember the incident when I guess someone basically called you [Unrecognized] in school and then she had to explain to you that? I think.

Speaker Well, that I'm not sure. Actually, I never remember that never happened to me, OK?

Speaker No, this never happened. I was never called [Unrecognized] in school. What happened was if this is a situation that maybe is. We used to take naps in school and there was this little girl who was my friend, who said to me, why is your arm so brown?

Speaker And I said, I don't know why my arm is so brown, my arms. I remember going home to my mother and saying, why is my arm so brown? But I really don't remember. I was never called that epithet in school. And maybe this was there was something about in my brother's class they were reading Little Black Sambo, but it was not in my class. So I don't remember that at all.

Speaker I, um, because as I was I was reading and I can't remember now, which was whether it was in that scene, but that because she went down and have a good teacher and good talking to her and the teacher said, you know, we have a lot of things that we use in this class and we can't control them. And that seemed to be one of the turning points for her sending you back to New York.

Speaker Maybe it happened in my brother's maybe it was in my brother's class that this happened. But I don't remember being called [Unrecognized] by a child or by anyone else.

Speaker We talked to Jane Greer, who's saying, yes. Do you know about what happened with her parents? Could you when when we moved to Nickols, can you could you tell me what happened?

Speaker I'm afraid I'm not going to be able to help you. But Jane Greer, Janger lived across the street and her parents were bigots. And that's really all I remember.

Speaker I don't remember. I mean, what happened, you tell me. Was that it? Oh, I don't know.

Speaker Um, I think they began circulating a petition, uh, threatening, maybe issuing threats. And I think a friend of Jan Greer put a stop to it.

Speaker Yeah, she put stuff. Yeah. Yeah, I have heard it. Yeah. All right.

Speaker But I wasn't around to say, OK, I remember hearing about Jane Greer, who was another neighbor of ours. She lived across the street when we lived in Nichols Canyon. And apparently Jane Greer's mother and father were living in the house and they began to circulate a petition about my mother to get her removed. And all I know about the story is that Jane Greer put a stop to it. Jane Greer was an RKO star at the time. That's about all I know about it. Beautiful woman.

Speaker Um.

Speaker Once, once well, let me ask you, in terms of as you experience it as a child.

Speaker What?

Speaker Hollywood was like for your mother.

Speaker I mean, how was your relationship during those those years while you were there?

Speaker Well, I was in Hollywood as a small child. My world was very circumscribed and I liked Hollywood. I like the weather. I like driving in Lenny's car. I like going to the beach. I like going to the studio.

Speaker I liked that life. I have no idea what my mother's life was really like. She seemed to have interesting friends and I remember meeting a lot of wonderful grown ups. I had a lot of grown up friends, actually. She had wonderful friends who were all very nice to me and were all very interesting people. I remember a man called Connie Zeilinger, who was an arranger at MGM, and it was Connie who arranged and Lenny who conducted the wonderful Gene Kelly. Da da da da da da da da da singing in the Rain. And I remember Kay Thompson, who was just wonderful. And I remember Roger Edens. I remember Gene Kelly because we spent every Sunday Gene Kelly's house watching movies. And I used to play with his daughter Kerry, who was a great kid. And Gene and Betsy Kelly were wonderful people and they were the center of the New York crowd. These were the New York crowd as opposed to the Hollywood crowd, the Hollywood crowd. I don't think my mother had friends in except people who she knew at MGM and were fond of, like Lana Turner and Ava Gardner. But her best friends in Hollywood, as far as I could tell, were the Kelly crowd, who were Lenny's friends, too. And they were writers and directors and they all were New Yorkers and they were Democrats and they were liberals and they were great people and felt and they were people who thought they were a bit superior to Hollywood and they were always just in Hollywood for the money. And it was, you know, Hollywood.

Speaker During this time, your mother was doing a lot of benefits, a lot of really she was pretty much of an activist. How did she communicate that to you?

Speaker Aside from that, I don't think my mother communicated her political activism to me in an overt way, except that she would talk about things. I mean, I can remember conversations about things that I wasn't really sure of what they were. But I remember the gist of them. And I remember having a vocabulary about things that were sort of more sophisticated for my age.

Speaker I remember when I was first went east to that wonderful progressive school, the new Lincoln School, someone said if President Truman we were all asked a question in this class, if President Truman is re-elected, what would question would you ask? And my question when I'd ask him about the civil rights bill. Now, I don't know that I knew anything about the civil rights bill, but I'd heard them talking about the civil rights bill. And I didn't know the meaning of Paul Robeson. But I know that when Paul Robeson used to come to our house, whether it was California or anywhere, it was like. Not to be blasphemous, but, you know, sort of, God, my energy was coming, it was absolutely this is the greatest. And he was the most wonderful presence, the most. He invented charisma. Nobody's ever had charisma like Paul Robeson. And he was the warmest, hugest, most wonderful man that ever lived. And I used to sit in his lap and he would sing me little Russian folk songs. And he would I mean, it was a classic Paul Robeson stories. And I know that he was a great idol. I didn't know his political significance at the time, I must say. But I knew he was somebody special.

Speaker And when you saw your mother perform.

Speaker Were you able to relate to her style of performance? I mean, was she thinks she can sophisticated for you or was she all that or how did you feel?

Speaker I thought my mother was a wonderful performer. I used to love to watch her perform. I used to love to watch, like she wasn't my only or most favorite performer, but she was in my certainly top 10. I had I mean, I remember I was a ballet freak and I used to love Jose Greco. And if he remembers José Greco, but he was a great Spanish dancer. I loved all dancing. I was mad about Fred Astaire, even though Gene Kelly was a friend of the family. Fred Astaire was my idol. And so my mother was I thought my mother was wonderful. I love the way she sang. I love the way she looked. I also liked Chevallier. I liked Piaf. These are the other people I'd seen in person. So I knew that she was to me, she was wonderful because I got the thing I was able to totally disassociate or maybe not totally, but almost disassociate my being her child and being able to see that this was this person was so wonderful. I really remember that.

Speaker No, wasn't.

Speaker My mother adored piaffe, everybody adored piaffe, whoever heard or saw her, she had the most amazing voice also. And it was always about lost love and the tragedies. But she was her great song writer. Yeah. And that was a song, the French Foreign Legion. I mean, she was idolized in France and very popular in America among those in New York, you know, I mean, she wasn't known in the rest of America.

Speaker Let's talk about Paris since there.

Speaker I remember reading how those were I mean, you know, this time in Europe and especially in Paris, seemed to be like. She seemed to love it. What do you remember about your time?

Speaker I love Paris, not as much as mother in L.A. Love Paris. Obviously, they were married there at great sentimental value for them. But I love Paris because I loved going there. I love the boat trip. I always have friends there, my age, American friends. I used to hang out at the American embassy. I mean, those days they didn't have embassy guards everywhere. So you could go in if you were an American citizen and have an ice cream sundae in the commissary. And I used to go to the movies in Paris and I used to eat cock this monsieur. And I used to go and watch my mother perform and I'd go to fashion shows and I meet her friends. And it was just a totally sybaritic life for me.

Speaker The food was wonderful.

Speaker They were great.

Speaker I want to say I love the good they did, they were good morals, mother, and were Gamal's I guess that's a gourmet sorry. Whatever they were, they loved drink and food. They loved music. I mean, I think they were probably. What's the word? They were furious, they were very they liked the good things of life, music, food, drink, theater, clothes, I mean, that sort of thing, which to me in the 50s, I couldn't wait to be a grown up because grown ups had all the fun. I didn't think teenagers in the 50s, I mean, all these 50s, teenager stuff, I didn't think teenagers had any fun in the 50s. It was all no, no, no, no. But grown ups, you could wear black dress, you could smoke, you could be you could sit in nightclubs. I mean, I wanted to grow up and be decadent was what I wanted, but I didn't.

Speaker Why? Well, because.

Speaker Decadence is probably a there is a momentary pleasure and the value the value of decadence is very short life, and you always show what you reap.

Speaker I think so. So much for decadence. I told these young people are out there being decadent. Don't.

Speaker Did that come from you?

Speaker I think a lot of that came from my mother and I was brought up to be a certain way. And I think no matter how hard you try, I wasn't a rebel, so I didn't try hard enough.

Speaker Let's talk about fashion for a moment, because you were talking about the fashion shows, I would love for you to reconstruct the day for me in Paris with your mom at the shows.

Speaker You went to see what you got, what you want to see, my mother at one point in the 50s, my mother, well throughout the 50s, in fact had all her gowns and a lot of day clothes made in Paris. And that was the height of Paris fashion. It was the new look, Jack, that was the big thing was her and Brown, because her best friend in Paris was the director of the Balmes salon. Her name was Jeanette Spanier. And she was a wonderful woman who was also a very good friend of Marlene Dietrich. One of Marlene is best friends. That's where I met Marlene. I was in Paris and she had this wonderful apartment where we would go and visit her. I suppose Mother's Day would be getting up about noon, having a wonderful lunch and going off to a fitting or a fashion show. We go to the Balma shows. We go to Dure. Maggie Roof was one and they met and I say now Randazza and Madame Gress. So all of those people I remember Madame Graysmith, these wonderful jersey draped dresses, and I remember watching Mother actually being pinned into one of these wonderful jersey draped dresses. And she had hats, wonderful French hats, because people wear hats in those days. And my favorite was a big orange cartwheel hat that she wore with a very wasp waist black and white checked. Your suit was just stunning. And they had wonderful coats and it was just a great look. It was very warm and handbags, everything. And the gloves and the umbrellas you had, you didn't just have one umbrella for the rain. You had umbrellas with silver tops to match whatever you were wearing. I mean, she had two or three umbrellas that were always very elegant with long silk sheets that they were in and they would be silver tops or ivory or so. I mean something your umbrella was specific and your gloves, you had pairs of gloves. She draws full of gloves and handbags. I mean, we normally modern American woman carries everything around. And one big thing, you know, she had all these different handbags and all of that. I was very into fashion. I was so into fashion that eventually you have to sort of come out of fashion if you're into fashion that much, I think. And she did to come out of fashion. I mean, everybody gets tired of fashion after a while if you do it for a long enough time, because the effort involved, unless it is your total, be all and end all of your life, but takes a lot of time and money.

Speaker Oh, I forgot to say my very favorite performer was in the whole wide world this time, but we have got a few seconds.

Speaker See, just since my very favorite before, I mean, my mother was up there and I thought she was wonderful. But my favorite favorite performer in the whole wide world was Pete Seeger.

Speaker And I was I was brought up. I was a Pete Seeger kid, and I'm glad he's still with us as of now, singing away.

Speaker And you wanted her to be more like.

Speaker Well, I used to tease her about it because she'd always say, oh, you'd like me to be like Patti Page, which was not true at all. I did was totally uninterested in Patti Page. But Pete Seeger to me was the one who sang the songs. I had this huge social conscience and I don't know why I must have absorbed it so that Pete would say, I mean, Joe Hill, I knew all every word of Joe Hill and every word of talking union by heart and Pete Seeger. And this was long before Vietnam. This was in the 50s. And he was just so he was he was such a it was young people who made him I mean, didn't make him, but he had fans all over the east and used to go to his concerts at Carnegie Hall Thanksgiving. You were just wonderful.

Speaker And you hadn't heard Paul Robeson.

Speaker Of course I'd heard Paul Robeson do Joe Hill, but I didn't see Paul perform that much in person. I never saw Paul perform in person. I don't know whether perhaps by the time I was seeing Pete, Paul was not this was post piece.

Speaker I can remember if there are any instances where you were aware of the mother being blacklisted or listed in mentions.

Speaker The fact that I remember my mother talking about red channels and I remember her. I remember a sense of the black list, but I don't remember really it being discussed in terms of I was never sat down and told about the blacklisting, I don't think. But I remember it being sort of whirling around in the air, that's for sure. And of course, I was old enough to to be aware of of the Hollywood Ten, I think, I mean, was newspaper headlines vaguely. But no, I wasn't that interested in it. But it was in the air, that's for sure.

Speaker Do you remember when your mother was on Perry Como? Did you ever watch her?

Speaker Until I used to watch my mother on television. I watched on Perry Como. I watched on Ed Sullivan. I watched her with Texan Jenckes. I watched her with Kukla, Fran and Ali, and later on with the Muppets. So I always watched her on television. Yeah.

Speaker Um, there seems to have been much made of her early Perico appearances where they touched and it was like, oh, this white man and black woman touching. Do you remember anything about that?

Speaker I remember that. I know that the TV, racial codes or whatever you want to call them were really bizarre. And my mother loved Perry Como, who was a very nice kind man, one of the very nice kind men in show business. And everybody's always agreed about that and he would not cater to it. I have a feeling now I may be wrong, but I seem to feel that he would take her hand, though this was a no no, that a white person and a black person never touched on television, especially if they were of opposite sexes, that's for sure.

Speaker Well, they are really, really well.

Speaker I don't remember that much about about the specific Perry Como shows with my mother, but I do remember that she liked Perry a lot. So they probably had a great affection for each other. She liked the way he sang and they probably sang well together. And I remember she was always talking about Perry and he gave her a beautiful diamond pin that was stolen. And that was one of the reasons she was sad about that was because it was from Perry. It was very beautiful, was from Tiffany. It was acorns sort of quivering diamond acorns or something. Very pretty. And he was a good guy. Perry Como, the good people in show business and in the world should not go unrecognized. And I think when people in that period of time are particularly good people like Bogart, like Perry Como, there were lots of others it should be recognized.

Speaker And there were a lot in Hollywood, actually, and in New York, a lot of good people.

Speaker Now, tell me about Jamaica. Was this the first time you saw your mother once the.

Speaker Well, I used to see my mother on stage in a movie theater, you know, with at the Capitol and the at the big Broadway theaters, and I used to have stage shows and then you'd see a movie between the stage show. But the first I guess the first time I saw my mother in a play or in a Broadway musical with Jamaica, which I saw for the first time in Boston at the Shubert when I was in college, and I went to see it. And then I went down to New York to see it.

Speaker And then I go down to New York every weekend because it was such fun to go to to see Jamaica, which I loved as a show, and to see the people who came backstage because I met I remember meeting Marlon Brando backstage, and that was worth the entire run of Jamaica as far as I was concerned in those days.

Speaker I was very big on Marlon Brando.

Speaker And what about she was she was wonderful, Josephine premies was wonderful, she was in the show. She was the second woman, I think, or the second lead or the third lead or whatever. She had a very good part. And she was a wonderful, funny, witty, attractive woman who was great fun to be with. And she used to always be at the great parties that mother would have on weekends at 300 West End Avenue, where she lived in New York City, which was a great apartment, and she used to have marvelous parties there.

Speaker Tell me about those parties.

Speaker I used to go to those parties, I guess, on weekends from college, and I would always have some college friends with me who and we used to have a wonderful time because everybody lots of Broadway and theater people singing, everybody was singing people in those days, maybe they still do used to perform at parties. I remember in Hollywood at the Keli's, everybody sang Judy Garland Mother, you would get up and sing. And at the set also in New York at Mother's apartment, people used to get around the piano and sing. And of course, my idol, Noel Coward used to play and sing. And I remember this one particular party where I took a friend of mine from college and Gwen Verden was there and Noel Coward was there and Richard Burton was there. I think Arthur Mitchell was there, but certainly all the dancers in Jamaica and Josephine and it was just fun. And I remember we used to always we spent a lot of time at the Dunham Company and if ever done and people were in town, either California or New York there would be done. And people around. My mother was surrounded by dancers. She always loved dancers, which is probably why I became a ballet freak, because I met ballet dancers very early, consequently. There's a certain world that I realize now that I grew up in, which was a world that was bohemian in a sense because of the racial situation, you would be with people who were kind of I don't know whether you call it bohemian or whatever. And I wasn't aware at the time, but a lot they were actors, there were artists, there were dancers, there were many homosexuals, which I didn't realize was anything abnormal because I grew up with homosexuals and I realized it was because homosexuals and blacks and in those days, everybody was so oppressed that you would find each other. And it was a wonderful, happy world that you would make with your friends. And these were the people who they traveled with, who they knew, who they loved. And many of them were performers. Some were designers, dancers, singers. And it was very jolly crowd. And that was the so sort of social world that she was in.

Speaker I remember, you know, that was a time when all these things were coming out and they'd be just partying and dancing and doing all the latest dance that you remember that I remember learning.

Speaker I can never remember the names of those dancers could have been the boogaloo or the frug or the I don't remember the name of them, but I remember Arthur Mitchell teaching everybody in line. It was a dance that you did in the line and everybody was getting in this line. I remember Sybil Christopher, who is a great woman. Sybil Burton, as she was then, was this great English. We always used to have lots of English friends, and the English are the best party goers in the world and at least in America. And Sybil was in this line. Everybody was dancing away. So did dancing. And singing was what we did at parties. I mean, performers never stopped performing, I gather, is what it means.

Speaker But do you remember James Mason? I was your mum.

Speaker I remember James Mason very well. I remember his wife and his daughter very well. James Mason was the most attractive actor Englishman who came to America in the 40s and his great 47, I guess, or 48, his great role was in oh, what was the movie?

Speaker He plays the piano and he hits this woman with a cane and she's playing the piano.

Speaker Anyway, it was a great movie. And James Mason became the toast of Europe and came to MGM. And apparently he was asked when he arrived in America because he was such a great star. It was called The Seventh Veil, the movie with and Hard. He was asked to who did he who were the beautiful women in Hollywood that he wanted to meet. And among the women, he said he wanted to meet with Lena Horne. And that shocked everybody because you weren't supposed to say a black person. Other black woman is one of the people you wanted to meet. And James and mother and Lenny and his wife, who was called Portland. Well, and we were all great. You know, Pamela, his daughter was called Portland Zori. And she was a very funny, very, very sarcastic, very cutting woman.

Speaker And they used to give great parties, too. And their daughter was always at the parties. She was younger than I, but I remember her.

Speaker You were telling me what a sophisticated Lenny. Well, now I'm wondering in terms of whether you would have a point of view on this, even when your mother was putting an act together, and how much was your mom and how much was money in terms of the making up of her image in the marketing of her style?

Speaker And would you know, Lenny was a figure of great glamour to me himself.

Speaker As glamorous as my mother. Lenny wore the most beautiful clothes. He wore cashmere jackets. He wore these incredible ascots from Silca. He wore these beautiful English shoes. And he always wore this yachting cap, this captain's cap that somebody of the New York Yacht Club had given him. And he always wore it. And he had this white goatee. And he was very he spent a lot of time on his clothes and he was very much a 20th person, which means that he grew up in the time where every night men put on white tie. He was an orchestra leader. He had this radio orchestra and he used to do this in white tie. And you wore blazers in the afternoon and flannel. And so it was all of this between that the two of them, there was this great sense of style. And he was even more stylish than mother in a way, because he was I mean, he wasn't a dandy. I mean, he wasn't, like, overdressed. He was always perfectly dressed. But it was there was a sense that this was just so wonderful, what he was wearing. It was always feeling so soft and everything. And he used to drive these little English sports cars. So he had a a kind of panache himself that was wonderful. And of course, he was such a tasteful musician and such a great musician. He'd been trained as a concert pianist under Koussevitzky with his teacher and mentor, and he became a popular musician, as it were, in the Depression, to to make money. And he got this radio orchestra and he was with Paul Whiteman's orchestra, and he was very ahead of his time musically.

Speaker There's a recording made in 1929 of Lenny playing with Bing Crosby, singing just the two of them. The song is Sweet.

Speaker Sue and Crosby sings it and whistles that, and Lenny plays the piano. And it's just so today. It is so up, so happy. It's the essence of jazz, of the happiness of jazz. And he was that kind of person and that kind of musician. And I think that mother's musical persona, if you want to call it, was probably 75 percent Lenny, since he did the orchestrations. And I helped her probably choose the songs. I mean, I wasn't really in on that much of it, but I have a feeling that was what it was and his musical taste was superb. Everyone agrees it was the best. Because he made the MGM sound, he was part one of the people that helped make that MGM sound in musicals, which was the best in Hollywood.

Speaker I just the MGM sound with Lenny Lenny made was one of the people who helped make the MGM sound, which was the best in musicals in Hollywood. Absolutely. I mean, there was nothing Fox had good musicals, but MGM had the best.

Speaker And I'm not sure that you would know much about it when you were a child, but as you look back on it that you did the research for your book, what was the freedom and how important was the freed unit was MGM musicals?

Speaker There may be a musicals as well as the big musicals, and the freed unit was a loose, I suppose it was called the freed unit was Arthur Freed was probably the essence of it, but the essence of it was Arthur Freed was sort of the boss of it, I suppose, with the essence where the directors and the musicians and the musicians were the superb group of arrangers, conductors, composers Lennie Hayton, Roger Edens, Kay Thompson, Connie Salinger, Hugh Martin, Ralph Blane, Vincent Minnelli, I mean, the great director of musicals ever who made my mother's first movie and who she idolized always. And it was a wonderful man and and also the wonderful they had the best art department in the world. So that was part of it, too. And the fraud unit, of course, made the musicals at MGM. And Lenny was there from early in the 40s, probably 1940 through till the end of the studio system, more or less.

Speaker The last dard, the last free units units DA, I think, was Debbie Reynolds, so she was the last of that group and the staff there was Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly and Kathryn Grayson and all those people were around when you were getting.

Speaker Was it hairstyles?

Speaker Well, my mother's hair story, Hollywood hair story is great because it concerns another Hollywood good guy. There was a man called Sidney Gilbreth, who was head of hair dressing at MGM, who was a gentleman in every sense of the word and who everybody adored. And he was a confidant of all the great women at MGM. And when Mother first went to MGM, the hairdressing person said, I'm not going to dress the person. I mean, Sidney was was the concept man. He didn't actually comb your hair unless you were Lana Turner or, you know, Greta Garbo or somebody. And this woman who was supposed to do mother's hair said, I'm not going to do her hair. She's a black person. And Sidney said, I will do Miss Horn's hair. And so he would actually the great man himself would come and actually comb her hair and do her hair for every movie, but also because of mother. Then she got black hair dressers into the studio and black makeup people into the studio, though Sidney always did her hair, actually.

Speaker Were you aware? I know you were very young at the time, but were you aware of the protests that were going on about your mother by the other black actors who were afraid that basically she she.

Speaker I remember hearing about I really did not learn about the protests, the black protests against my mother until my mother told me the story later on. And I don't remember what had happened, so I don't remember it at the time. But she told me the story.

Speaker So in essence, it was that Walter White and the NAACP and Wendell Willkie was involved also had decided that my mother was going to be the person who was going to break the Hollywood color barrier in that she would get a contract, she would not be a domestic or she would not be a jungle person. All of these things which Walter White felt was demeaning to black women. So consequently, mother wound up having very little work.

Speaker But in the meantime, all these wonderful black actors had spent all their lives playing maids and playing jungle people. And they were saying, well, what is this? I mean, does this mean that we're supposed to not do anything or we're supposed to sit still for this? And they protested. And the only person who was kind to my mother besides Rochester, who she adored, but the only person who was part of the Hollywood crowd who was kind to my mother was Hattie McDaniel, who was a great actress herself and who said the same thing to my mother about I may wear a bandana on the set, but when I get home, I put on my evening dress and have, you know, champagne and whatever for dinner.

Speaker I am not that person and I know who I am. And that was the whole lesson of not knowing who you are. But I think some of the other there was a Hollywood stock company of black actors who only played the maids in the Butlers and they resented and I can understand why this upstart coming in saying they couldn't do their job any longer. So how are they supposed to earn any money if nobody was supposed to be a maid anymore? What we're going to you know, we're supposed to wait around. We get parts as test pilots or something. So that was the problem.

Speaker Do you remember all that? They sort of coined the phrase National Association for the Advancement of Women?

Speaker No, I don't remember that at all. I don't remember any such thing as the National Association for the Advancement. Lena Horne. That's interesting. Where did you where was that in, I wonder?

Speaker I'm trying to remember where I read it, but I do. I read it somewhere. And all the research that I did, I never heard that expression.

Speaker But Walter White again, was a family friend. So they could have thought that the black actors in Hollywood who have been playing these parts and earning a very good living could easily have felt that she was going to come in and ruin their take all their jobs away, not take their jobs away. But see, they got no more work because Hollywood would suddenly be filled with white maids and white butlers and white jungle people was what probably the feeling was. And but Walter White was a family friend and maybe they felt she was getting there. Why were they why did they pick her? Was probably what they were saying.

Speaker Well, the NAACP, I can remember one time my friend Adam Clayton Powell, that the NAACP has often been viewed as sort of the the. The voice for the black is that how would you characterize them? Because I think we sort of felt that the NAACP is not for me.

Speaker I think characterizing the NAACP as a voice for the black bourgeoisie is very unfair. If you look at Thurgood Marshall's Justice Thurgood Marshall in the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, they are the people who got Brown versus Board of Education to the Supreme Court. They started going after segregated schools in 1938. So they were hardly and they're talking about public school where black people pay taxes for schools that their children could not attend. And I would not say that this was just being about the bourgeoisie. Now, probably, I'm sure the board and the membership of the NAACP was bourgeois because black working people did not join organizations like that. Probably that's my feeling. But I wouldn't say that they were concerned only for the interests of the black bourgeoisie at all. I don't know. I don't understand the modern NAACP. I hope it will be wonderful now under Mrs. Evers and Mr. Fumie.

Speaker But the NAACP, under Walter White and under Roy Wilkins was a great organization and it did everything great for all black people. I think.

Speaker Jumping forward to.

Speaker But really some really dark and difficult days when your grandfather died.

Speaker Many died of.

Speaker I know that your grandfather was what was your great your grandfather was sick for a while before he died and your mother would have the time to take care of him. So.

Speaker Well, I'm not sure about exactly the details of my grandfather's illness. I was a married woman with small children, so it was not something that I was really deeply involved in at the time. I was very much involved with my own life, I'm afraid. But I know he was ill, had emphysema, and he was living in the West and she was taking care of him and she gotten very close to it and was happy to be close because she'd always adored him and he finally had time for it when he was old and ill.

Speaker So that was good for their relationship. But I didn't see him in his final days because I was in New York with my two small children.

Speaker My husband and Teddy was in California and I was in New York. I saw Teddy a lot. He came to New York a lot. Teddy and I were together in Paris when he actually got sick. When he got his hepatitis. I didn't know that was what he was, but that was he got it through bad medical treatment in France, actually.

Speaker And we'd had a great summer in Paris together. And then he got sick with his kidney. Failure came slowly, but it just got worse and worse and worse.

Speaker And I understand that you were that he was going everywhere looking for treatment and looking for answers.

Speaker Yeah, but they're they've never solved the kidney problem.

Speaker They've never solved that problem really well in terms of transplants. So. That's too bad. Um, he left wonderful children, wonderful children, which is good.

Speaker Well, after having this terrible loss and then when that. Do you remember, um. I think he was telling us about the funeral. Do you remember that little.

Speaker I remember leaning his casket. I don't remember the funeral. I don't remember. Pardon me. No, no.

Speaker After all of this happened, and quite understandably, your mom went into a shell for a while, um, I understand you were really very. Together again, how did you go about doing?

Speaker Well, I don't know, as I, uh, I'm always concerned about my mother is a recluse and the older she gets, she's become more and more of a recluse. But I think this is normal. I think if you've been out a lot, you've been in the limelight all of your life, why not have a little quiet and, you know, quiet time in your life? But this period in her life when she was grieving was a difficult period. I mean, no one can go through that for you. And all you can do is try and help as best you can. I don't think I was that successful, but she certainly loved being with her grandchildren.

Speaker So that helped. And that was all. She'd come and stay with us in East Hampton and be with the children.

Speaker Well, I want you to tell me that basically it was call for you to do.

Speaker I don't remember calling Alan. I'm sorry. I don't remember. Maybe I didn't do it.

Speaker Maybe Alan maybe Alan got mixed up with you.

Speaker I don't remember. I mean, maybe I did. And my memory's bad. I mean, Alan, it was very close to Alan King was another Hollywood good show business, good guy who was very close to mother and to Lenny and to Ralph and to my former husband, Sidney Lumet. They were very good friends and I adored Alan King. Everybody adored Alan King and has had a wonderful has a wonderful wife. And he was very good with mother. And he'd been in lots of nightclubs and in Vegas with her and they had a good time together. I think he was probably one of the people who helped her get out of her shell, because I think they worked together. But as I say, I wasn't I was very much in my little young mother world, so I wasn't really paying that much attention to what was going on in California.

Speaker Jumping ahead again. Well, actually, I want to go back to the civil rights movement because your mother described that as really being her flowering. How did you experience that and how did you see that change?

Speaker It was the civil rights movement, which obviously was a long movement. But I would say there was a certain period in the early 60s that was incredibly fomented, if that's a word. I was working at Life magazine, I guess it was about nineteen sixty one or sixty.

Speaker No, sorry, 62, 63, the early Kennedy days. And before I went to work in Life magazine, I worked for an organization called the National Scholarship Service and Fund for Negro Students, where I went south to interview students to give them to try and get scholarships for them to integrated colleges. And in one of these trips, I went to a student. I met with a group of people from the student, not from SNEEK Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

Speaker And they were the most amazing people I'd ever met at this period. Sneck was integrated. They were deeply religious people, and they were in my life at least a religious catalyst because I had never met such religiously committed people. All of them said they had come to an appreciation of the opposite race through religion, and they'd found it turning so they didn't hate each other. I remember telling this to my mother, who at the same time she was getting calls from Noble and all the Delta women, and because of her act, her actions in the NAACP to help out in the south. And I remember that she went down to Mississippi and was with Medgar Evers the night before, before or maybe the night that he was shot. He was shot late at night. And I think he might have been coming from this meeting where she had been with him and they sat and she sang this little light of mine. And it was a time we saw a lot of Jimmy Baldwin. It was a time where this was the major concern in America for serious people. There was no war in Vietnam yet. This was 1963, 1962. Kennedy was still alive. And I remember there was mistrust among some people. The Kennedy Justice Department, not my mother, but some people had wondered, are they sincere? And they were the best that we were going to get and the best of their time and wonderful for their time.

Speaker I think. I think I met Jimmy Baldwin in Paris. I recently saw the most wonderful documentary about Jimmy, and it reminded me of his incredible sweetness and beauty. He was just an amazingly sensitive person, supersensitive person, kind of fragile and jittery and smoking cigarettes like mad. But I that was my memory of Jimmy Baldwin. And I think he was a friend of mothers and Lenny's I mean, I was still in college or working at the time of this meeting that Jimmy Baldwin and mother Harry Belafonte may have been in. I'm not sure.

Speaker And Bobby Kennedy and a young man from sneek called Jerome Smith, who was the most difficult person in the meeting as far as Bobby Kennedy was concerned, he was asking questions about how committed was the Justice Department to seeing that justice was done in what was going on in the South then.

Speaker And so that's my memory of Jimmy Baldwin.

Speaker Do you remember? I don't know if your mother discussed it with you, how she felt when she came out of that meeting.

Speaker I'm afraid my mother didn't tell me how she felt. I mean, I'm sure she did, but I can't. How did my mother feel coming out of that meeting? I think she was upset or disturbed, but I wasn't there. So it would be after the fact that she told me and I really don't remember what she said.

Speaker I'm sorry. Um, no. During this time, the march on Washington took place. And you seem to be called to the stage. You remember the march on Washington?

Speaker I remember the march on Washington very well. I was working at Life magazine. I was on the AP wire guarding the wire with all these. You know, that was my job was to watch the AP wire is the lowest rung on the editorial ladder and. I used to if the bulletins came in, I would rush to the editor I knew before anybody, but it was all that day was about the march. So I remember very well about the march on Washington.

Speaker And I know that my mother was going down there and that it was a momentous, wonderful event, unforgettable event in a time where there was a lot of positive.

Speaker It was such a positive feeling at the end of that march or in the middle of that march, because Dr. King's speech was just so incredible and the feeling of the crowd was so incredible that it was it was all it was like enlarged version of Snik and what was going on in the early civil rights movement in those days before Black Power, which I think spoiled it all, and that wonderful interracial friendship that was true and sincere. It was very, very powerful.

Speaker During this time, you remember seeing a change in your mother seeing her, do you remember your response to who she was becoming in the light of all this after Medgar Evers death?

Speaker Really affected my mother terribly. I'm not I think there have been other assassinations before. Medgar Evers in the civil rights movement was at 63 when Medgar Evers was killed just after the march or before the march. I really don't remember. And then Kennedy was killed that November. That was all that year of assassinations. I don't think it was Schwerner, Chaney and Goodman yet. Or was it anyway, my I'm very bad on dates, but I saw the change in her and I saw that she had she had found something. She had the same political sense. I felt the same political sense that I had felt in the 40s when she was very political. But it was more personal because in the 40s it had been about liberal politics in general. The Henry Wallace campaign, the fair employment question, the fair housing question, the joint antifascist committee questioned the red baiting question, but this was about black people. So it was even more powerful for her. And I think it was a powerful combination of it being a question of political justice, which she had been brought up by her uncles and her grandfather and grandmother to be not particularly by her mother or father, but her grandfather and her uncles to be aware of the issue of political justice. And now it was less abstract and it was very, very real, though it had always been about civil rights. But there was something because it was something new. It was not just fighting the same old quarrels, it was the same old quarrel with a whole new level because because change was actually happening and people were fighting for change that actually came finally.

Speaker So because in 1964 there was a civil rights bill which came because of Martin Luther King and Kennedy's assassination and Medgar Evers assassination and everything. And all of that was making my mother feel very feel she felt very passionately and very strongly. It was wonderful.

Speaker When?

Speaker When Malcolm X died in 1965, when he was assassinated, I remember when Malcolm X was assassinated because it was I remember it was when my oldest daughter was beginning to crawl.

Speaker I remember hearing the radio about Malcolm X and watching her crawl at the same time and thinking, hmm, well, this is something that was my only reaction to the Malcolm X assassination. Malcolm X was not a big figure in my life. My brother had admired Malcolm X, but I was not interested in Malcolm X. I was interested in Martin Luther King.

Speaker How would you describe your brother and I?

Speaker My brother was quite radical. I'm very radical. I now I'm so far left. I'm right, I think sometimes. But my brother was more radical than I was in those days and he talked a lot about Malcolm X and about Angela Davis and about the Panthers and these. I was interested in these people. I admired these people, but I just I didn't relate to Malcolm X. I mean, I didn't have any feelings against him. I just didn't relate to him as much as I related to because I didn't related to the mosque, to the Muslim issue at all.

Speaker I don't relate to it had nothing to do with my background, which is Christian. So I didn't really get into it. But Angela Davis and the Panthers, I was very interested by.

Speaker But he was and my brother was the first person because he went to Berkeley course. He went to Berkeley in the late 50s, early 60s and discovered is it Hermann Hesse? I remember he was reading Hermann Hess, who I never heard of, having had this so-called this very good education at Harvard. But Hermann has had not been a part of it. And he was telling me Hermann Hesse is the man. And I said, Oh, Hermann Haas, OK. And he was very much a Berkeley free speech radical. And he was the first person I ever saw on a little wire glasses. And he used to wear his little his sort of khaki Jacques. I mean, he dressed the whole part and he was one I was married by then. So it was not something that I was going to get into. I miss the sixties actively because I was pushing strollers and that sort of thing, but I was interested in what he was doing or what he was telling me about it.

Speaker Speaking of, um, when you were dating, I mean, did your mom get involved in your social life or approve or disapprove of this woman? That one? How was she?

Speaker My mother was was I mean, her my mother's involvement in my social life had to do with curfews, had to do with behavior. So, you know what you were it was expected and what was not expected. And most of the time, in fact, I only went out with boys my own age and they were very nice, very nice young boys. It were as innocent as I was. These were the innocent fifties. We were not expected to go very far beyond the next stage. And when I was, I guess, 18 or 20 in Paris, I'll never forget this because it was about was almost my chance to be really decadent. While I was still young. I had been I had met backstage at the Olympia, I think, where my mother was singing Prince Ali Khan, who was the most attractive playboy of the day. And he invited me to dinner.

Speaker And my mother said absolutely not. And I was very upset. So that was that, and when you met Sumai, how did she feel about you?

Speaker Well, she was not that my mother was not happy when I was planning to marry Sidney because Sidney Lumet, my first husband, because he was a lot older and I was his third wife. So naturally, I probably would have felt the same if it was my daughter. But that was the way she felt. She did not approve 100 percent of the marriage because of the age difference and the fact that he'd had two wives already.

Speaker And when you got married, you got married in a very difficult time, did you?

Speaker I was married to Sydney the day after Kennedy was shot. It was a nightmare. It was a funeral, not a wedding. We cancelled the music. Everybody was in bloom. And we spent our entire honeymoon glued to the TV set, which I think over all the rest of the world did to.

Speaker Was it was it your mother's idea to cancel the music?

Speaker My mother, it was my mother's idea to cancel the music, absolutely.

Speaker She felt it would not be everybody was so upset. I mean, it was just so awful and that was only the beginning of the assassinations.

Speaker What I'm hearing voices in.

Speaker Something up. What's going on? OK.

Speaker The sensor is broken.

Speaker If I said something wrong, no.

Speaker Oh. During.

Speaker Was I talking about your wedding, your wedding?

Speaker Oh, mother can't. Oh, OK. Sorry, I forgot what I was talking about.

Speaker That's OK. I want to fast forward for a moment to the lady and her music, uh, because that was a. Well, let me ask you what was having seen your mother perform all along. What was your impression, what was your feeling, what was your response?

Speaker Well, when I saw the lady in my me and her music, I guess I hadn't seen my mother perform now. I'd seen her off and on perform.

Speaker But to me, it was a combination of letting them. Her music was a combination of all the great moments of the Waldorf and Europe, and it was the distillation of her career. And it was absolutely wonderful. And she was so funny.

Speaker I always knew she was funny because she used to sing every now and again she would sing songs at the Waldorf and other places that were fun. You had a great sense of humor that came out so much and lady in her music and her whole her whole sense of taking over the stage. I mean, this great performer, it was a great performance and I've seen some great I'm not old enough to have seen all the greats, I mean, the great greats before the war and all that. But I saw Laurence Olivier do the entertainer. I saw Billy Lee. I saw Noel Coward. I saw these people who could grip an audience, but their personality and their talent on a stage, not a nightclub on a stage. And this is what mother did. I mean, she was a great stage actress, great stage performer. And it was just a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful show. And it was it was it had everything. Humor, tears, style, depth. It had everything. It was all her.

Speaker Was it this show? Well, let me ask you this, when did you get a sense?

Speaker Of what it had been like for your mother.

Speaker Well, excuse me to go through all at once all what life had really been like, what you really believe about, I suppose I got a sense of what my mother's life had been about when I started researching my book, The Horns, An American Family.

Speaker And I got a sense of because you're only you are what you are what you make yourself, but you're also what you come from. And it's a combination of the two. And I saw I knew what she'd made herself to be. And then when I saw what she came from, I saw I understood the whole picture. It's a complete picture to me of a person.

Speaker Looking back on it now, as you were discovering all these things that you didn't really know about, um. What do you feel her challenge has been in this life?

Speaker I feel her challenge, I feel my mother's challenge in this life has been to be a woman, a black and an artist and I don't know which is more important and it's all wound up, but I think those are the three. Why is it when you talk about, man, you never said it was a challenge to be a man, but it was a challenge to be a woman because women were very vulnerable in show business in those days, a black woman to be in show business altogether was vulnerable. You were always at the mercy of the outside world, and she had struggled so against the outside world with barriers that she had to put up and fights that she had to make to be this person. Imagine being a woman alone in that in those days in the limelight that she was in, always being a forerunner, always being the first, always having the public eye upon you so you could never really be yourself. You always had to be what other people wanted you to be. And I think finally, in her late middle age, she is exactly who she wants to be. And I think it takes a lifetime for everybody. Really. The lucky people find it when they're young. I mean, they can hold on to it. But I think it takes what you learn in life to become that person that you become anyway. And she's she learned so much. She's such a she has such a rich, full life. And she's with the essence of all that is what she is.

Speaker You were described as very much a 20 percent. How would you describe your mother?

Speaker Gosh, I think my mother is very well. My mother is my mother is not a Chinese person. She's not a 30s person. She's not a 40s person. Well, is she's one of the hardest people I know to pinpoint.

Speaker And the reason my mother hates nostalgia, unlike I won't name no names, a lot of older stars, they always sing the same songs they've always done and they always do what people have loved them doing for the last 50 years. My mother would rather be hit by a brick than sing stormy weather, though she has to sing it every now and again.

Speaker But she hates nostalgia. Therefore, I don't think you can pinpoint her into a period. I mean, my children tell me that I'm hopelessly late 50s. My mother is not hopelessly any generation. She's definitely all of them that she's ever been in.

Speaker Well, with someone like that. I mean, how is as a.

Speaker Mother is a grandmother, a great grandmother. How is she how do you what am I doing here?

Speaker I can tell. I was just thinking that my mother's contemporaneous nurse is not she's not a trendy person. So when I say that she's very modern, she's not a trendy person. She's