In this extended transcript from an interview with Jane Pauley, actress Candice Bergen talks in depth about her relationship with her father, the renowned ventriloquist Edgar Bergen, and with her "brother," Charlie McCarthy; about finding her ultimate career as the award-winning TV star of "Murphy Brown" and "Boston Legal"; about her late husband, French director Louis Malle, and her current spouse, businessman Marshall Rose; and her daughter, Chloe Malle, to whom she dedicates her new memoir, "A Fine Romance."
- READ AN EXCERPT: "A Fine Romance" by Candice Bergen
- Candice Bergen and her fine romances ("Sunday Morning," 04/04/15)
- GALLERY: Candice Bergen
CANDICE BERGEN: The title came before the book, really. I thought, "Well, if I wrote a book I would wanna call it 'A Fine Romance,'" because the book's about three love stories but it's primarily a Valentine to my daughter.
JANE PAULEY: To whom you dedicate it. She is known as "Bunny."
BERGEN: Yes, that's right. We call each other Bunny. So the book is really a love letter to her.
PAULEY: The end of the book is a song. The lyrics to the song, "Once Upon A Dream." You make us cry at the end, because you're seeing the movie with your daughter, "Maleficent."
PAULEY: And it ends -- spoiler alert -- "Once Upon A Dream" is not princess and prince. It's a woman to a girl. So at the end of the movie, the end of the book you have the lyrics. And you report to us, the reader, that Chloe is singing the lyrics to you.
BERGEN: I had a year deadline and I wasn't even thinking of writing it until three years. And finally the publisher at Simon and Schuster called and she said, "Candie, we want the book now."
So I wrote the book. And I didn't have an ending. And the woman who I was working with, Betsy Rappaport, who I had hired to help me edit the book and make some form out of it -- I couldn't tell if she was sobbing or laughing. And I said, "Betsy, are you laughing or crying?" She said, "I don't know. I just want this to be over." (laughs)
So then we went to the movie with my daughter and my husband and her fiancée. And it was exactly an echo of when she used to be five years old and we would watch cartoons in the morning in bed and have our breakfast on trays. And we would watch "Sleeping Beauty," among our canon of cartoons. And she would sing along to "I Walked With You Once Upon A Dream."
And then when we went to see "Maleficent" last summer she started singing at the end with the song, which is sort of given new life by Lana Del Rey. And she remembered the lyrics perfectly. And so I thought, "Well, that's it."
PAULEY: But she's singing to you.
BERGEN: She was singing to the screen.
PAULEY: If you read the book, as I have, I think your love for your daughter is, well, you say --
BERGEN: Her burden.
PAULEY: -- obsessive. (laughs) No, but it's profound.
BERGEN: Well, I had one child and it was sort of a miracle that I had her. And I was 39. So --
BERGEN: Yeah. (laughs) So I was just gobsmacked by it. I mean the love that it dredges up is so overwhelming. I think if you have children at the logical time, which is in your 20s or your early 30s, it's probably very different. But I was a premi gravitas, which is an old mother.
PAULEY: So was I. (laughs) Yes. It starts early, the elderly part. But you had been deeply ambivalent about having a child.
BERGEN: Well, my husband and I were married for five years before I suddenly thought, "Wait a minute." It was like that sort of horrible Lichtenstein cartoon where the woman goes, "Oh my God. I forgot to have children!" And so I somehow got pregnant, thankfully. And without all of the elaborate rituals that people have to go through today. Because it just was the elephant in the room.
PAULEY: But even then you write of this growing alien invader.
BERGEN: Yeah. (laughs) Oh yeah. It was not until I heard her shrieking when they sort of lifted her out that it was just -- that was it.
PAULEY: Are you sure it wasn't you shrieking, because I've never heard of anyone having three epidurals.
BERGEN: Yeah. (laughs) I know. It was some sort of awful record. And then I had this parasthesia, which is where I had this prickling in my legs. And after the second epidural I could still feel things. And I was going, "I can feel it. Don't --" so they'd give me a Valium and so it was a lot of medication.
PAULEY: But it worked out great.
BERGEN: It certainly did. Yeah. I'm just very blessed.
PAULEY: You, as you know, are an astonishing beauty. And you're (laughs) holding something back?
BERGEN: Well, I-- no, continue!
PAULEY: Okay, you can't help it. You have been an astonishing beauty. It has been your blessing and your curse. And you didn't marry until you fell in love at 35.
BERGEN: Thirty-four. But still, I really just didn't know if I would ever meet the man that I wanted to marry.
PAULEY: Because you met so many men.
BERGEN: I did. I mean, I met everyone. I knew everyone. And there were lots of remarkable men and I just didn't hear the call of any of them until I met Louis.
PAULEY: What was your impact on men? What was that like?
BERGEN: Beauty is -- and I'm only just starting to realize this now, because my father used to warn me about being beautiful. And when I was, like, 10 years old he said, "You know, Candie, it's the beautiful women who commit suicide." (laughs) So I went, "Okay."
And he said, "So you must develop your interest in photography, develop your interest in writing, because it's the beautiful women who have nothing to fall back on." So I never had any vanity about it, because I always saw it as being fatal, basically.
And it's a lot to deal with. (laughs) Beauty is so important to people that you don't realize the reaction a beautiful woman has when she walks into the room unless you see her walk into the room. And suddenly the atoms sort of shift a little bit and the energy in the room changes.
PAULEY: And that was you?
BERGEN: And that was me. And I just blocked it out because I somehow knew that I had to, to survive.
PAULEY: Until, as you write, "As if someone's flipped a switch. The molecules changed." (laughs) And that didn't happen.
BERGEN: Well, you know, now that I'm almost 70, I'll be 69 next month, those years are so far behind me. And I find it so liberating.
PAULEY: You talk about it comfortably without apologizing.
BERGEN: Yeah. Because, you know, of course it was the purest luck. And it's not only luck. It's very complicated. And you have to get to your true self and what you wanna become and who you think you are or who you think you wanna be. It needs to be navigated.
PAULEY: You ask a question that I think is the central paradox of your book. Why did everything come to you so late in your life? The things that really mattered come to you later in your life, you ask without answering. (laughs) What do you think that was? Was that in part that the beauty thing was so complicated and so in the way, that navigating life in the usual course of things was different for you?
BERGEN: I think my reaction to others' reactions was I was just trying to keep my head above water, because it was overwhelming at times. And I didn't understand, frankly. People had such strong feelings about my nose. I didn't ever understand how people could care so much about what one's nose looked like.
PAULEY: In what way did they care so deeply about your--
BERGEN: Just that that was the nose they wanted to have surgically. They wanted a Candice Bergen nose. (laughs) And I mean people would say, "Where did you get that nose!?" And it's just like, "What?" It was just bizarre to me.
So and then I was always asked to model or to do movies because I looked a certain way, but I didn't have any conviction about doing it because really I loved journalism and I loved photography. So when I wasn't doing bad work in a movie I would go off and, you know --
PAULEY: Wait a minute. That comes up all the time in the book. You acknowledge some good work?
BERGEN: Very sporadically. Until my 30s.
PAULEY: You admit there was an anomalous Oscar nomination.
PAULEY: You say, "I've never been a real actor." In every possible way you diminish -- theatre's greater than film, film's greater than television. And every Emmy you won - five! -- was because the writing was really good.
BERGEN: Well, that's true. It was also just a perfect, eerie match for me, that character. It was just a fantastic role that Diane English wrote. And nobody would have thought of me in it. My agency didn't even submit me for it. And it was only Brian Lord, who's now this sort of agent emeritus in Los Angeles, who sent me the script. And I didn't read it for weeks. I mean, it was just an eerie fit. And the one place in acting where I've always been comfortable is in comedy. But I never got the chance to do it because I didn't look like a funny person.
PAULEY: Oh, but nothing's funnier than a beautiful woman who's funny. (laughs)
BERGEN: And I understand that.
PAULEY: As you have demonstrated! I mean, the first woman to host "Saturday Night Live," if you're old enough, you remember the Catherine Deneuve bottle of perfume attached to your head. And it was just hysterical. Candice Bergen funny? Yes. Very. But then Edgar Bergen, your father, was funny.
BERGEN: Yes. Well, I mean, he was a Swede, so they're not supposed to be funny (laughs) in any way. And he always had this kind of secretive, boisterous self. But in person he always sort of presented as a banker or a real estate magnate.
And I'm very much like my father. I'm very reserved and very buttoned down, just because I'm not good on social cues. But where I really find my comfort, and I have no fear of ever looking stupid -- just give me the laughs and I am a happy camper. (laughs)
PAULEY: The turning point in your career was your turn at singing in the movie "Starting Over."
BERGEN: "Better Than Ever." I sang "Better Than Ever" on "Starting Over." And it was the first time that I had ever been asked to be funny, and I was just in heaven.
PAULEY: Really? You didn't think, "I don't know. How can I-- "
BERGEN: Well, obviously there's an initial reticence to make such an abject fool of yourself, and the crew had pillows on their ears. They were very funny about it. 'Cause I really can't sing. (laughs) But then just to take the step to sing with real commitment as badly as I do was just pure joy.
PAULEY: It changed your life. It gave you the career that you understood you should have, in comedy.
BERGEN: Yeah. A little bit.
PAULEY: The romance of your life. Before Chloe could happen, Louis had to happen. I want you to tell us the love story about how you met and how the sparks flew. Or didn't! (laughs)
BERGEN: (laughs) Yes. Louis and I sort of moved in a similar circle of friends. And I met him the first time at a lunch at Diane von Furstenberg's in Connecticut. And he looked even more socially uncomfortable than I felt.
And then I was seated next to him at a dinner a year or so later at a friend's house in Los Angeles. And I was wearing a designer kaftan and it wasn't -- it was just not doing what it should have, and I kept having to adjust it. And I don't think we said a word to each other during dinner. It was so awkward.
PAULEY: Well, in your book you have him say, "I'm Louis Malle and you are --?" (laughs)
BERGEN: Oh, said, "I'm Louis Malle," and I was sitting next to Mike Nichols. And Mike Nichols went, "You are?" (laughs) because he knew that -- I mean, Louis was one of the filmmakers that he respected.
PAULEY: So Mike didn't know Louis?
BERGEN: Well, he was just shocked that Louis Malle was sitting next to him and was just sort of a guy. And he was just taken aback.
PAULEY: Yeah, well, Mike was a dear friend of yours. He didn't see the relationship that [would develop]?
BERGEN: No. The only person who saw it was my friend since college, Mary Ellen Mark, who's one of our greatest photographers. And she said, "You're gonna marry Louis Malle. I know it." And it was like, "What?" And I never really thought about it again until I invited her to come to our wedding. And I mean it was just weird because she has -- you know how some people have kind of a witch note that they play?
PAULEY: Well, this wedding occurred approximately six months after a four-hour lunch.
BERGEN: Yeah. At the Russian Tea Room. Yeah. It was great. It was great.
PAULEY: I guess it was. (laughs)
BERGEN: Yes, yes. We just went on and on.
PAULEY: And then obviously you weren't wasting much time. Then what happened?
BERGEN: He was finishing cutting "Atlantic City" in Montreal or Toronto. And then he came down to New York again and we went to the opera. And then we just sort of began talking to each other. And it went, as it should have, very slowly and sort of step-by-step. And it was an unusually wise choice for both of us to not rush into a romantic relationship.
PAULEY: What are you talking about? You rushed into a marriage. You were married within months.
BERGEN: Well, yes. A marriage, yes. Six months. It was fast. But (laughs) when you're -- Louis was --
PAULEY: You mean it could have been faster?
BERGEN: No. (laughs) I don't think so. And in fact my friend said, "You know, that's kind of quick." But when you've dated a lot of people and you're 34, you kind of know.
PAULEY: This one's different.
BERGEN: Yeah. So it was not complicated.
PAULEY: But it was so romantic.
BERGEN: It was very romantic. Yeah.
PAULEY: Do you romanticize it or was it really that romantic?
BERGEN: Well, I mean it was really romantic. It wasn't romantic every second in 15 years, but the first few years together were just very romantic. And he was very demonstrative and very overt about his feelings and expressed himself beautifully. And we traveled and, I mean, it was great.
PAULEY: The love letters. There was a letter April 1st. You'd begun to know each other well since March. (laughs)
BERGEN: God --
PAULEY: April 1st he writes you a letter. "Let's be April fools together for the rest of our lives."
BERGEN: God, Jane, you are unbelievable. Yes. Yes. He wrote like the wind.
PAULEY: Was that sort of a proposal? "For the rest of our lives." Hmm.
BERGEN: Yeah. Well, the proposal didn't come much after that. Yeah. And we got married in France at the house where my daughter is now getting married at the end of July. And we had a tiny country wedding. Really tiny. And lunch after the marriage in the garden. My mother came. My brother came from California. It was very few people.
PAULEY: You described that as the moments of most perfect bliss ever. Until you have your daughter which was 100 times greater. (laughs)
BERGEN: Yes. Yes. My wedding day, I was really just -- levitating. It was just pure joy.
PAULEY: Five years, and then another woman appears.
BERGEN: Yeah. A little tiny one.
PAULEY: The little tiny one. (laughs) Chloe. And then Murphy.
PAULEY: Two other women intrude on your blissful marriage. And how did that work out? How did you make that work?
BERGEN: Well, I mean I couldn't make it work. I couldn't, when -- obviously you know, having had three. When you have a child after a certain age you want a fixed base. And I supported myself. I'd never gotten any money from my father. And I took considerable pride in that. And Louis and I shared things financially down the middle. So I had to earn a living.
But it was more that this script just had my name on it. And Louis was very supportive but he knew what it would cost. And I blocked it out. But my mother lived five minutes from where we had a house in L.A. My brother lived 10 minutes away. And so my daughter had a family structure, and Louis wanted to move back to Paris where he had an enormous family. I didn't wanna live in Paris. It was a city that I liked visiting.
PAULEY: You're fluent in French. You're comfortable in the language. But you make it pretty clear in your book that you're not entirely comfortable in France.
BERGEN: No. I'm always on my best behavior. I'm my adult self. I'm much more grown up in France, which at 68 you would think I would have managed without the country. But (laughs) yes, and frankly, a sense of humor is just very important to me, and a sense of playfulness. And that is what I feel is unique to Americans. And the French can be very witty. And I'll stop there.
And I knew women in France who were intelligent, who were lovely, but I just missed my American women friends too much to live there.
PAULEY: Yes. But the marriage, 15 years, it was until death us do part, sadly. Louis became very, very sick. Though I gather he was in total denial about it. And while you were still shooting a sitcom during the day, you'd come home and look after a very, very sick husband.
BERGEN: Well at the time people said, "It's so brave of you to continue going to work." I thought, "Brave? It's saving my sanity," because when someone is critically ill and it's over a period of almost a year, no matter how much money you have -- and I was blessed to be able to afford excellent help.
We kept Louis at home. He was never for one night in the hospital. And he very quickly, over a matter of two or three months, could no longer speak, could barely move and was bedridden for 10 months. So it required constant care. And a house that is under that kind of strain is a house that's always on the verge of imploding.
So for me to go to work was just, "You guys, it's so great to see you!" But it really kept me sane during the year that he was that ill.
PAULEY: It was a blessing, oddly, for Chloe in that a father that comes and goes from Paris to L.A. and then leaves again, who is closer to her uncle than her own father, Chloe learned to love her father during that period.
BERGEN: Chloe and Louis were very much alike. Eerily alike. They had very similar intellects. They had identical metabolisms. They both did 12 things at the same time. Chloe from when she was a baby would be playing with her puzzle and drinking her bottle. And it was like, "How does she do it?" And Louis could never do less than two or three things at once.
So he would have been a fantastic father for her as she got older, to help her decide what path to take. What choices to make. And it was asking a lot of Louis, because already he had a base in Paris and he worked very easily in French, and happily in French. And then adding L.A. into the mix was just a bridge too far. It was just so much travel. And he would arrive on the flight from Paris to L.A. and just, like, "How much longer are you going to be doing this?" And --
PAULEY: You did "Murphy Brown" for 10 seasons.
BERGEN: Yeah. It was too long. But it was just such a comfort. The show by then, you know everyone's families and you've seen their kids off to college and you've seen their marriages form and divorce. We had the same crew for 10 years, which is unusual. So it's a very hard thing to walk away from. Also the money was amazing. (laughs)
PAULEY: Really amazing. As you put it in your book, the highest paid actor, man or woman, for several years in television. Didn't know that. That must have been a lot of money. (laughs)
BERGEN: I went to a lot of trouble to keep it quiet, but it was a lot of money. And wanted me to stay.
PAULEY: They would have gone for 11 seasons?
BERGEN: No. I mean, we were push - If we wanted to end it on a strong point we would have ended after four or five years.
PAULEY: Your favorite year was?
BERGEN: The first year and the last year. The last year was a very brave year because we decided that Murphy would get breast cancer. Murphy by that point had a young son and the writers dealt with that year with such sensitivity and intelligence and humor.
And we managed to increase the number of women getting mammograms by something like 38%. And everyone that we would cast as actors on the show were breast cancer survivors. And everyone on the crew had been affected in some way by cancer. So it was a very emotional and full year for us. And it was the last year, so everyone sort of went that extra mile. And I was very proud of the shows that they wrote. They were really first rate.
PAULEY: Your entrance in the pilot, when Murphy Brown enters.
BERGEN: I'm back! (laughs)
PAULEY: Yeah. And then you sing the famous song.
BERGEN: Yeah. At the end of the pilot episode. Just utter pleasure. And then I sang it once more. Aretha Franklin, who does not fly, took her enormous bus to New York from Detroit. And I sat next to her on a piano bench and that was probably the most terrifying thing I've ever done, is sing, 'cause she's the queen and she lets you know it! (laughs) To next to Aretha was just like, "Oh God. Just let me get through the next minute and a half."
PAULEY: Well, you did. And then in 10 years you claim you made one contribution, creative contribution to "Murphy Brown," and that was to reprise that song.
BERGEN: Diane English, who wrote the episode where Murphy gives birth, was going to have Murphy just say something. Talking about it for sort of a long paragraph. And I said, "Why can't she just sing 'Natural Woman,' just sing it holding the baby in her arms, and just do it that way?" And that's the only contribution in terms of writing that I ever made.
PAULEY: I'm trying to picture Diane English's expression when you gave her the best idea possible. (laughs) That was perfect. That was perfect. And by that time you're a mother and, you know, you're singin' from the heart.
BERGEN: Yeah. Yeah.
PAULEY: Badly, but -- !
BERGEN: We had to do it about five -- yeah, badly, (laughs) but still -- we had to do it about five times because it was too emotional. And Diane came up and she said, "You know, this is a sitcom." (laughs)
PAULEY: Because you were really holding your Bunny.
BERGEN: Yeah. Exactly.
PAULEY: Yeah. So your husband died on Thanksgiving Day, 1995. Did you think you would ever have another romance?
BERGEN: I wasn't even interested. I didn't even date for three years.
BERGEN: Yeah, in three years I had a lunch, I had a drink and I had a dinner. (laughs) And that was it. And I think the dinner I was --
PAULEY: It must have been memorable. (laughs)
BERGEN: Yeah, the dinner I was home by about quarter to nine and it was just like, "Next." And I only met my now-husband, Marshall Rose, because of subterfuge. They fixed us up, in fact it was Don Hewitt, the producer of "60 Minutes," who was a friend of Marshall's and of mine, and his wife, Marilyn Berger, who had a dinner party that was the excuse to meet Marshall. And I didn't know it until our wedding dinner when it came out in the toasts. And I thought, "I was set up the whole time."
PAULEY: Marshall was in on it.
BERGEN: Yes. Don and Marilyn invited me to their apartment for dinner and then he called up, like, two days before and said, "Oh, and a man's gonna pick you up. His name is Marshall Rose." And I went, "Okay." And I just saw Marshall and I went, "Hmm." And I just --
PAULEY: What do you mean, "Hmm"?
BERGEN: Well, I thought he was going to be very short and round. I don't know why. (laughs) And he was just a very handsome, present man. And he had beautiful eyes. And I just thought, "I trust this man completely." Yeah, and by dessert I was sort of in his pocket. (laughs)
PAULEY: I sat next to Marshall at a dinner and we talked. And I would have to have spoken to my husband, Gary, about this, but I remember thinking, "I woulda married him, too." (laughs)
BERGEN: He's very charming.
PAULEY: He's elegant and charming and warm and good looking. And devoted to you.
BERGEN: He's a perfect husband. I mean, I'm just a pathetic wife, so I know how it should be done, but I'm just not up to the task. But he is a great husband.
PAULEY: When you said that you would marry him, and you did happily, had a beautiful wedding. And then at some point you panic. You feel you've been tricked. You're stuck. You're trapped. You wonder, "Daughter's trapped in this marriage too," and you kind of secretly, I gather, want out?
BERGEN: Well, yeah. (laughs) Yeah. I had a tiny crisis where I just was suddenly married to this man who left in the morning with a briefcase. And I thought, "What is that? A briefcase?" I mean I'd didn't even know people who took briefcases to work. And he was great about it.
PAULEY: But would come home and he would want you there, would have dinner together and then he'd expect you to have breakfast in the morning together. A lot of together.
PAULEY: And that was makin' you crazy.
BERGEN: Uh-huh. So I said, "You know what? I like to have breakfast later and I like to get up early and have my coffee in bed and read the paper, so I'll see you in the afternoon." (laughs) Because he's from a very different tribe and I'm from the show folk tribe. And he is still struggling to understand that tribe.
PAULEY: You got your show folk thing and you got your Swedish thing, so he's Jewish. You're Swedish. How's that work?
BERGEN: It doesn't always work. I mean it doesn't. Bu t--
PAULEY: Describe your Swedish side.
BERGEN: Well, I'm half-Swedish and that's the side I identify with because we always had Swedish flags in our house and painted Swedish horses. And I went to Sweden twice with my parents and stayed for the summer. So the Swedish side is deeply reserved, and conservative socially -- not politically. They're not given to outbursts. They're measured.
PAULEY: You're given to outbursts. (laughs)
BERGEN: Well, yes, but that's the other side creeping in. Oh yeah. I used to have quite a temper.
PAULEY: Sometimes in France where it's not becoming?
BERGEN: Uh-huh. Yeah. (laughs) Yes, exactly. I used to have a horrible temper. And you never saw it coming because the Swedish side would keep it sort of buttoned up and then it would go (MAKES NOISE). And Lou used to say, "God, what -- I always forget!"
But Marshall would just sit me down or we'd go for a walk around the reservoir and he'd say, "Let's just talk about this." And he would talk me down. And to me that's his brilliance, his savviness in relationships. And he's backed off. He is less demanding of my time commitment. He's more understanding when I go away for a week or two for work. But it used to be almost physically painful for him, just for me to be away.
PAULEY: But I can see it'd be a burden, too. For you.
PAULEY: It's a responsibility. And you did go away because that television thing keeps comin' back. Shirley's not as famous as Murphy, but Shirley Schmidt was the law partner that you play in "Boston Legal," and that meant that you weren't here at home half the time.
BERGEN: Yeah. I was away a solid 10 days a month. And Marshall would come to L.A. and we would overlap. But that went for four-and-a-half years. Obviously you have a hiatus time, but that was hard for him. But that's who I am.
PAULEY: Yeah. You know now? (laughs)
BERGEN: Yes. Finally. Before I'm hitting 70. Now I have an idea.
PAULEY: Well, I mean it's kind of a joke, but I get the impression that you spent a lot of your young adult life pokin' around tryin' to figure out who the heck you were.
BERGEN: Yeah. Yeah.
PAULEY: And you don't dwell. Once again, your wonderful book. you're really good at raising the questions.
BERGEN: But no answers.
PAULEY: You don't answer. Oh, this is interesting. This is more than interesting. You never cried over the death of your father or your mother.
PAULEY: And you wouldn't have put it in your book if you didn't regard that as notable.
BERGEN: Yeah. It always shocked me.
PAULEY: And why not?
BERGEN: I don't know.
PAULEY: And you don't wanna know, (laughs) according to the book. You say, "And I don't know why not. And I don't wanna know."
BERGEN: Yeah. The only step forward I've made is that I am who I am. I'm not sure why I am who I am, but that's why I made a commitment to be open in the book and to be honest, because really this is it. And if you don't like it, great. I understand. But I'm just presenting it to you as I understand it.
PAULEY: You know, one of my least favorite things about modern media is the phrase, "Opens up about." Candice Bergen opens up about -- I mean, it kind of viscerally makes me (MAKES NOISE). But you were really open in this book. But if someone wants to get inside the mind of Candice Bergen, I don't think so.
BERGEN: Well, I'm not locking it consciously.
PAULEY: It's not a priority with you, to understand why?
PAULEY: One thing thatwill baffle you, is being left out of your father's will.
BERGEN: Yeah. I think we had always -- because I obviously acted out as an adolescent --
PAULEY: What do you mean obviously?
BERGEN: Well, I mean I was given this forum at 19. I started making movies at 19. And people put me on the covers of magazines and they said, "Here, talk. Say what you want." And so I was acting out adolescence in print at a very early age. And I often embarrassed my parents. I was often critical of their friends, among whom were the Reagans. And my mother was just, "Why do you have to say this?"
And I said something that was very hurtful to my father -- I no longer remember what it was - and I think that he just slid the bolt. Because he also, this inheritance, he [said], "Well, you know, you're not inheriting any money until you're 30." And then, "I moved it to 35." And then, "When you're 39. " And then finally --
PAULEY: Were you mentioned [in the will]?
PAULEY: Charlie McCarthy, the puppet got a bequest.
BERGEN: Yes. But Charlie McCarthy was not a puppet to my father. He was an alter ego, and he was also a separate entity. And my father, I quoted the part of the will that said that, and I can never get over it, because it's so odd -- and so touching in a way.
He said, "To Charlie McCarthy, from whom I have never been separated even for a day, I bequeath the amount of $10,000." I also have a perverse kind of pride that I have the weirdest upbringing of anyone I know, Swedish or not. To have a world famous dummy as brother and be referred to until now as Charlie McCarthy's sister, it has an impact.
PAULEY: And your best friends growing up were dogs.
PAULEY: Because you lived on a hilltop and you played with dogs.
BERGEN: Yes. I loved it, in fact. But then when when I was 11 we moved down to the flats.
PAULEY: Yeah. When you were agonizing over motherhood or not motherhood, you [thought], "Could I possibly love a child as much as I love any kind of dog?" (laughs)
PAULEY: You really thought that you were incapable of loving as much as you love any kind of dog.
BERGEN: Yeah. Yeah.
PAULEY: Well, we found out that you can. Profoundly.
BERGEN: Yes. Imagine my relief. (laughs) But no, I mean I am just animal person. Still.
PAULEY: Well, you also make the interesting statement that if you were to take a test, you're convinced that it would show you to be a wonderful father. Not mother, father. What did you mean by that?
BERGEN: The way I'd be a better husband than a wife. (laughs) I mean, I'm a better provider than I am a caretaker, really. And yeah, I think also because the time I grew up, which was '50s, '60s, early '60s, really there were just no options for women. And so I always identified with men. I had male friends. I didn't have close women friends. And I lived life as much as possible with the freedom of a man. I traveled alone. I did what I wanted. I didn't have the life that women in those years led. I didn't have lunch with women. I wasn't with a man. I didn't have a full-time relationship. I didn't have children.
PAULEY: You got lots of women friends now.
BERGEN: Yeah. Great ones.
PAULEY: But I'm trying to imagine havin' lunch with Candice Bergen when you were in your 20s. You're not making the point that you were spurned by women.
BERGEN: Oh no. I just think I didn't meet women that engaged me until, say, my mid-20s or late 20s.
PAULEY: Do you remember when Jodie Foster got into such trouble for saying, "Why is it that men become interesting before women do?" And she was hammered for that. But that maybe is kind of the way you looked at it?
BERGEN: I didn't find women interesting when I was younger. When I was very young. I just didn't. I just rejected the life that was offered me as a woman.
PAULEY: And what kind of man interested you?
BERGEN: Older men, for starters. Men with interesting lives. Men who were intelligent. Who had a sense of humor. The bad guys just, you know (laughs) . So I got that out of the way finally.
PAULEY: Oh, I can see why Mike Wallace would have loved you. (laughs)
BERGEN: I don't know.
PAULEY: You appear on "60 Minutes." Mike Wallace does the interview. There are times when you feel like he's windin' up. He's windin' up to [throw] a Mike Wallace question. (laughs)
Your friend Don Hewitt, "60 Minutes"' executive producer, one of the most powerful figures in journalism, would have made you a "60 Minutes" correspondent. This comes as a surprise to some people.
BERGEN: Yes, but that was not my choice. And I did not initiate it in any way with Don Hewitt.
PAULEY: Don Hewitt was not a foolish person. He must have known something.
BERGEN: He was certainly not a foolish person. And he was obviously looking for some other color to add to "60 Minutes." But I was not the right shade.
PAULEY: I can reveal something else to you that you may not have known. But you were a serious contender to replace Barbara Walters on "The Today Show."
BERGEN: You know, the only reason I knew that was from Barbara. She said, "I was always afraid that you were going to replace me." I said, "What - how would I have known? I wasn't after anyone's job."
PAULEY: Well, I don't know that they would have said, "Barbara, you leave because Candie's here." But you definitely were a contender. As you were probing the world of your opportunities, photojournalism -- that's who you were for a while.
BERGEN: And that's where I was very comfortable. I felt challenged. I felt engaged. I felt I had ability. I always had confidence about my writing in the small little pocket that I did it. I always felt confident about the magazine pieces that I wrote or about the human interest pieces I did for "The Today Show." Obviously I didn't take anything that would have required too much of me. But I always felt that I did the job required.
PAULEY: And you didn't feel patronized?
PAULEY: Do you know what it would feel like to be patronized? No one ever patronized you.
BERGEN: Oh, as an actress, are you kidding?
BERGEN: Well, I mean as a woman in Los Angeles, a young woman acting, you were constantly patronized by producers and directors -- "Yeah, honey." I mean, just never treated as if you had any kind of intelligence or worth or contribution to make. So it took me a while to sidestep that.
PAULEY: First time I ever saw you on screen was in "The Sand Pebbles."
BERGEN: Yeah, I was 19. Just been kicked out of college.
PAULEY: Kicked out? Didn't leave?
PAULEY: No? And deservedly?
BERGEN: Yes. (laughs) And I always respected them for it. You were automatically expelled if you got two Ds, and I had three As and two Ds. And the two Ds were in gut courses, oddly enough. One was opera and one was painting, because painting class started at 8:00 and I could never get there on time.
PAULEY: You could have had straight
PAULEY: I mean, opera, you grew to love opera.
BERGEN: Yes, but I couldn't have passed an exam on opera. And didn't!
PAULEY: And you weren't heart-broken because --
BERGEN: Because, what a life I had. But it certainly brought me up short.
PAULEY: Movies. Your best-- your best role?
BERGEN: Oh, I guess "Rich and Famous" was a role that was great fun to play. It was a character part and she -- Mary Noelle was her name -- was Southern and she was sassy. And it was very well written.
"Carnal Knowledge" was just a wonderful, perfect film to make because every piece was the perfect fit. And working with Mike Nichols was just an experience that every actor should have.
PAULEY: Anything painful?
BERGEN: No. I mean, not that I can remember.
PAULEY: Okay, pretend I'm Mike Wallace. Anything painful?
BERGEN: Yes. Please don't hurt me. (laughs)
PAULEY: No, I'm not gonna hurt you. I think you're a marvelous actress. Yeah. But you're not a real actor, according to Candice Bergen.
BERGEN: I'm a real comedienne. And Alan Alda and I did a play just for five weeks on Broadway this last winter. And we worked very hard on it. And working with Alan is a joy. And I had the satisfaction of a job well done. And that's sort of all I can ask for as an actor. And people were moved, and we made people laugh. We made people cry. And it was just the two of us on stage. And it was lovely. It was just a lovely experience as an actor.
PAULEY: You have suffered two minor strokes.
PAULEY: How do you know when you're having a stroke?
BERGEN: Well, in my case I thought it was food poisoning, so I didn't know. I was nauseous and then when I got up I had no equilibrium and I was lurching. And I couldn't stand up straight. And I had to have someone hold me up to walk me to the car. And I went home.
PAULEY: I hope you didn't drive home?
BERGEN: I didn't drive home. I had a car and a driver. And I had my brother meet me at the house and he took me into the bedroom. And I just laid down on the bed until the morning. So I'd had the stroke and didn't even know it because I was so gaga that it never occurred to me that I had had a stroke. I I called the restaurant that we'd ordered lunch from. I said, "Did you put MSG in this food?" (laughs) "We never do that." And so I didn't know what it was.
PAULEY: Lingering effects?
BERGEN: No. I mean for a few weeks there were.
BERGEN: I needed a couple of months. I couldn't drive. I still don't drive on the freeway.
PAULEY: Because you had a second one?
BERGEN: Then I had a little cluster a few months later. And went back in the hospital. And now I'm good.
PAULEY: What do you wanna do with the rest of your life?
BERGEN: These past six months, a year, I've had just enough to keep me busy. I finished my book, I did the final edit. And then I went right into the play on Broadway with Alan Alda. And then I did a couple of TV movies. And then I'm starting the book tour. And that's a spade of creativity that was just enough to keep me occupied and engaged. And if I could maintain that, I would be beyond grateful.
PAULEY: You need to work?
BERGEN: Yeah. I do. I'm just not pleasant to be with when I don't have something to do.
PAULEY: Is that what Chloe meant when she was a little girl after "Murphy Brown" and she said, "Mom-"
BERGEN: I was measuring the length of hair on our dog's tail and she came home from school and I said, "Honey, I measured Larry's tail and the hair on Larry's tail is 16 inches long." She said, "You need to get back to work." (laughs)
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