(CBC Still Photo Collection)
It is one of the most confrontational conversations in CBC Radio's history.
In September 1975, Charles Manson follower and eco-terrorist Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme is arrested after a failed assassination attempt on U.S. President Gerald Ford. Following Fromme's arrest, Barbara Frum, one of Canada's most respected broadcasters, got on the phone with Fromme's roommate Sandra Good. In the famous exchange, Good demands to know whether Frum is a man or a woman after calling her a "very, very bad reporter."
Frum calmly replies: "I am a man." Good abruptly ends the interview shortly after that by hanging up on her.Listen to the interview:
On an episode of As It Happens in 1988, Frum was asked how she managed to maintain her composure during the interview. She confessed that she was in fact upset and shaken by the interview, despite the calm people perceived in her voice.
A year before the infamous Good interview, Frum was diagnosed with leukemia. She was 36 years old at the time. She kept her cancer a secret, at first even to her children. Frum later explained her decision saying that she wanted to be defined by what she did and not by her illness.
Frum's sudden death on March 26, 1992 shocked Canadians. The loss of one of the country's most respected broadcasters at the age of 54 reverberated across living rooms of the nation.
The courage and tenacity she showed in her very private 18 year battle with leukemia was reflected in her tough, pioneering interview style on CBC Radio's As it Happens and later on CBC Television's The Journal.
Whether she was talking to Nelson Mandela, Harold Ballard or the grower of the world's biggest cabbage, Frum's unrelenting curiosity, her fearless search for the truth, and her empathy and humour made her one of Canada's most important broadcasters.
Posted on Sep 24, 2011 6:00:00 AM