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.