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Barbara Frum interviews Valley of the Dolls author Jacqueline Susann

The Story


It was near the beginning of an illustrious career, but Barbara Frum's early venture into television journalism got a rocky in 1969. One of Frum's early interviews is with Jacqueline Susann, the colourful author of the scandalous novel Valley of the Dolls and its followup, The Love Machine. As a young woman trying to make her mark, Frum takes an aggressive stance. But the interview ends up with the two women trading insults. Susann later complains about Frum to the Globe and Mail and Frum would describe this interview as the worst of her career.

Medium: Television
Program: The Way It Is
Broadcast Date: June 1, 1969
Guest(s): Jacqueline Susann
Host: John Saywell
Interviewer: Barbara Frum
Duration: 7:57

Did You know?


• Susann wasn't much impressed by this interview, as she told the Globe and Mail afterwards. "Such a primitive set," she said. "The lighting -- impossible. What was the interviewer trying to do? Such a baby. I could have ground her to hamburger -- but I'm only here once -- poor thing she has to go on with the show every day." 

• Barbara Frum was born on Sept. 8, 1937 in Niagara Falls, N.Y. Her American-born mother, Florence, arranged to give birth in the United States because she wanted Barbara to have an American passport.

• Barbara's father, Harold Rosberg, was a pillar of society in Niagara Falls, Ont. He ran a successful clothing department store called Rosbergs.

• Frum spent much of her twenties as a doting wife, a devoted mother of three and an active volunteer. Through her volunteer work, she made her first foray into journalism in the mid-1960s. Encouraged by her husband, Dr. Murray Frum, and her mother, she wrote an exposé of a Toronto charity for the Toronto Star in 1966. In 1968 she became a regular interviewer on CBC Television's The Day It Is.


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