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Larry King Live

Lee Radziwill Shares Her Remarkable Memories

Aired March 27, 2001 - 9:00 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, Lee Radziwill, sister of the late Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, eyewitness to history, brand of the famous. She shares her remarkable memories in a new book, "Happy Times." That's next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Good evening. Great pleasure to have a special guest tonight, Lee Radziwill, the sister of the late Jackie Kennedy Onassis and the author of "Happy Times," a collection of amazing pictures -- a lot more than pictures. Why did you do this? Why this book?

LEE RADZIWILL, AUTHOR, "HAPPY TIMES": Well, I did it because it was a difficult period in my life, and so I was considering writing, and I thought that it would be uplifting to go back and look at some things worth remembering, and that it'd be happy and those memories were exciting. So that's why I started to embark on this project.

KING: Did it work?

RADZIWILL: It did. It certainly did.

KING: It got you through a bad period?

RADZIWILL: Oh, it was an enormous help, and it was a great pleasure too, because...

KING: This was dealing with loss, right?

RADZIWILL: Well, yes, it was, but you know, memories are very powerful, and so much had happened in this particular decade that was wonderful as well as not so perfect, but it really was a great help. And then you immerse yourself in it. And I enjoyed it a lot.

KING: Must be fun looking back over old pictures, right, but it's fun and cathartic.

RADZIWILL: Well, it is fun, and I suppose you could say it was cathartic. You forget, and you just recall those particular moments.

KING: Most memories are happy, right?

RADZIWILL: Oh, yes, I think so. You can sort of block the ones that aren't to a certain extent.

KING: Let's go -- now, both you and Jackie have middle names Lee, right?

RADZIWILL: That's right.

KING: But you took Lee as a first name.

RADZIWILL: Well, I was given that...

KING: Your...

RADZIWILL: ... by my mother, but...

KING: Lee wasn't your first name, though, right?

RADZIWILL: No, it was Caroline Lee and Jacqueline Lee. And it was my grandfather's last name, so we were named after him.

KING: And was Caroline, the daughter of Jackie, involved with your first name at all? Any reason for that...

RADZIWILL: Well, yes. She was named after me.

KING: Oh, she -- oh, directly for you.

RADZIWILL: Yes.

KING: Nice honor.

RADZIWILL: A great honor.

KING: Now, what -- and Mr. Radziwill, he is -- he's departed? He's passed on, right, now?

RADZIWILL: That's right. That's right, 20 years ago about.

KING: What were -- what was growing up like? You were -- you're four years younger, right?

RADZIWILL: That's right. Well, in spite of our different interests, we were extremely close, and shared the same emotional difficulties of children with divorced parents. And growing up was always fun when we could see my father, because he was such a joy to be with, and we were the focal point of his life. And so, we had many wonderful times with him. But of course, it had the difficulties, as I said, of being torn between two parents.

KING: Was it an angry divorce?

RADZIWILL: Well, it was.

KING: Oh, that makes it harder...

RADZIWILL: Yes.

KING: ... when the parents are...

RADZIWILL: Yes. KING: ... not talking.

RADZIWILL: That's right.

KING: And you good -- and actually, as daughters, you got to love your father.

RADZIWILL: Oh, well...

KING: Daddy (UNINTELLIGIBLE), daughter (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

RADZIWILL: ... we just adored him. Yes, and since we were the object of his life, and all he did was want to please us, it made it particularly enjoyable to be with him.

KING: Throughout this interview, we'll be showing you many scenes from this extraordinary book -- extraordinary because they're not just incredible photographs, but these two sisters, they draw and they write things and they give -- they take you, really, into a personal side of life, which I'll get to later, and it takes us through the -- mainly the -- that decade, right?

RADZIWILL: That's right.

KING: Yeah. When she first met John, do you remember what that was like for her? I mean, were you -- did she confide in you, "I'm dating this senator?"

RADZIWILL: No. It seemed a perfectly normal thing. He was one of several people who came to the house to take her out for dinner. And so, it seemed perfectly normal, but there was something a little bit more special about him.

KING: Were you rivals, you and Jackie?

RADZIWILL: Well, we really weren't.

KING: Four years apart, sisters, both pretty?

RADZIWILL: Well, you know, four years is just enough difference, I think, not to be rivals.

KING: Didn't have the same suitors?

RADZIWILL: Not at all, never.

KING: So you never had one guy who liked you both, chasing you both?

RADZIWILL: No. No, fortunately we didn't. That was lucky.

KING: When Jackie decided to marry John F. Kennedy, were you surprised?

RADZIWILL: No, not at all, because I thought this is what she really wanted. KING: Was that Camelot thing, which you, of course, portray in the book, "Happy Times," how Camelot-ish was it? I mean, how, for want of a better word, terrific was it? To us, the observers, it looked like fantasy time.

RADZIWILL: Well, of course it's true that it was -- this is in 1961, and the media hadn't yet invented the '60s and -- but of course, that's where it all began for me, and that was the best part of in the early '60s in the White House. But I do think that people are inclined, when they romanticize those years, to get carried away with the glamour and youth and style of the Kennedy White House. But there was so much more to it than that. It was far deeper and more interesting.

KING: And of course, your sister was -- she changed America a lot, didn't she, the way she treated the White House, the way she was? I mean, we didn't have -- people like that weren't first ladies.

RADZIWILL: Oh, well, everything flowed through the White House -- music, art, science, business, philosophy. Everything seemed to go in there, and the idea that anything was possible was the strongest feeling all the time.

KING: Were you there a lot?

RADZIWILL: I was there as a visitor, because I lived in London at that time. So when I came, I really came to visit.

KING: Did you -- what was your career, Lee? What did you do...

RADZIWILL: Well...

KING: ... when you weren't just a housewife? Were you ever just a housewife?

RADZIWILL: Well, when I was married, I didn't work. When I had my children, I didn't work. But before that, I'd work for Diana Vreeland at Harper's Bazaar. I ran the American fashion show at the American pavilion in Brussels a long time ago...

KING: Really?

RADZIWILL: ... in '58. And then, not so long ago, like five years ago, I worked for Armani for 10 years.

KING: As a?

RADZIWILL: So -- well, as head of special events, but it was more or less eyes and ears of saying what people want here, and what they really don't need there. And that was very interesting and a lot of fun.

KING: Jackie was a photographer. And you were involved in the world of design in a management end?

RADZIWILL: That's right. KING: We'll be right back with Lee Radziwill. The book is "Happy Times," just published. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1960)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A hotly contested election campaign poses with Senator John F. Kennedy the choice of his countrymen as the 34th president of the United States, the youngest man ever to voted into the White House. Mr. Kennedy is also the first Catholic chief executive in the history of the country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1961)

JOHN F. KENNEDY, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: We're back with Lee Radziwill.

Now, you were very different in other ways, right? Jackie liked the outdoors a little more than you, right?

RADZIWILL: Yes.

KING: Jackie liked horses, you weren't too crazy...

RADZIWILL: Yes, Jackie had this passion for horses...

KING: You didn't.

RADZIWILL: ... and I didn't. I was really rather scared of them.

KING: Me too.

RADZIWILL: But I -- are you?

KING: Yes. My daughter loves them, I stand back.

RADZIWILL: Yes, exactly. Well, I had some pretty desperate experiences. I was thrown one day, three times in a row; chipped my stomach, broke some ribs, had a hoof print on my stomach. And every time, my father made me get back on. So I think it was kind of normal that I ended up fearful, shall we say?

KING: Were you close with John?

RADZIWILL: With my brother-in-law?

KING: Your brother-in-law. RADZIWILL: Oh, yes, of course I was. Very close. I adored him, and as I spent so much time with them as a visitor, and then, nearly all the Christmases we spent together, and part of every summer. So of course I was.

KING: He was -- I mean, we've heard all the stories and this will go down forever, but he was, "hail fellow, well-meant," wasn't he? Good person to be around.

RADZIWILL: Wonderful person to be around.

KING: As someone once said, he improved the room.

RADZIWILL: Oh, there's no question about that, because he was so full of humor, and he put everybody at their ease immediately. But he had a wonderful light touch.

KING: Good brother-in-law?

RADZIWILL: Fantastic brother-in-law.

KING: Were you friendly with the whole family? Did you get along with all the Kennedys?

RADZIWILL: Oh, of course I did. They're very easy to get along with.

KING: Did they accept you well? I mean, you were the sister of the bride, coming in.

RADZIWILL: Oh, that was never a second thought. That was -- they certainly did. They were always very affectionate and welcoming.

KING: Rose as well, and...

RADZIWILL: Oh, yes.

KING: Was it hard, Lee, frankly -- I mean, you had a career of your own, you had a marriage, children -- being the sister of someone so famous?

RADZIWILL: Well, really not because, I guess, I was the sister for so long, and originally we were so close that it really wasn't the transition that it must seem to be to the public.

KING: No?

RADZIWILL: No. No, it wasn't. If you're that close always growing up, and then in the beginnings of your marriage, you just go with the change. It doesn't seem a huge adjustment.

KING: You go -- all right, say, you go to the White House.

RADZIWILL: Yes.

KING: Your sister is First Lady. RADZIWILL: Yes.

KING: You watch television. She's doing a tour of the White House.

RADZIWILL: Yes.

KING: To you she's just Jackie, my sister?

RADZIWILL: That's right. That's absolutely right. And then, you see, you lead up to those things. You lead up with the election, and then from -- first of all, as a senator, and then the election, and then to becoming president. So it isn't quite such a big jump as it may seem, or may sound.

KING: And you're not -- no sisterly jealousy? Her name is in the paper every day.

RADZIWILL: Oh, hardly. I mean, the positions are so different that you couldn't possibly have jealousy. If anything, you have the greatest regard and respect and admiration.

KING: She might also maybe have been a little jealous of you. You had more freedom.

RADZIWILL: Well, I certainly had more freedom, and I...

KING: You could move about as you wished. Right?

RADZIWILL: That's right. But I don't think that ever made her jealous because I think she was always aware of this enormous privileged position she was in, even if it did have certain drawbacks of losing your privacy.

And I think that's another reason why we stayed so close, is that she wanted to keep in touch, through me, with what was going on outside. I lived in London, as I said, and that interested her a lot. But I visited New York often because I had an apartment there. And so she could keep in touch through me.

KING: And also we have heard, spending some time as we did with John, Jr. and with Caroline, what a terrific mother she was.

RADZIWILL: Oh, the best.

KING: That was first, right? Motherhood?

RADZIWILL: Absolutely the first.

KING: You, too? Were you ingrained the same way?

RADZIWILL: I certainly would like to think so.

KING: Is that -- were you raised that way by both parents, even though they were apart, that the children come first?

RADZIWILL: Oh, yes, I'd say so. Certainly with my father the children came first. We came first.

KING: And did you do that, then, with your children?

RADZIWILL: Yes, I did.

KING: They came first?

RADZIWILL: Yes, they did.

KING: Jackie raised them very strongly. I mean, she had -- she was hands-on.

RADZIWILL: Oh, she was hands-on. She certainly had discipline. I don't think she was really so strong, but she had discipline and enormous affection, and they were her total focus.

KING: The book is "Happy Times." The guest is Lee Radziwill. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN F. KENNEDY, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There will not be, under any conditions, be an intervention in Cuba by United States armed forces. And this government will do everything it possibly can, and I think it can meet its responsibilities to make sure that there are no Americans involved in any actions inside Cuba.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: We're back with Lee Radziwill. We're going to discuss some things, the pictures that are in the book, and we'll be showing you pictures from the book as we go down it.

You were at the White House during the Cuban missile crisis?

RADZIWILL: That's right, I was. In fact, without question, it was the most memorable, extraordinary time of the White House years that I knew, because I was staying there at the time of the Cuban missile crisis. And there was one moment nearing the end, when we -- that's Jackie, the president, and myself -- were in their private rooms upstairs, and the phone rang and it was McGeorge Bundy saying that there was extreme trouble ahead.

And then, when the president put down the phone, he said, "In three minutes, we'll know if we're at all-out war or not." And I can't tell you how long those three minutes seemed. I'm sure you can imagine, but you pictured missiles rising all over the world, submarines submerged throughout the...

KING: And you're sitting there in the middle of this?

RADZIWILL: That's right, trying to imagine how it's possible. And then the phone rang and the president had an extraordinarily tense expression on his face and hung up and said, "The Russian ships turned back." And the relief was...

KING: Did you see the movie "Thirteen Days?"

RADZIWILL: I did. I did. I thought it was excellent.

KING: He had...

RADZIWILL: I really enjoyed it.

KING: That was an amazing tour de force for him...

RADZIWILL: Oh, it certainly was.

KING: Where he pulled that off with Robert and the whole crew.

RADZIWILL: It seemed such a long period of time, and yet it was only those 13 days.

KING: Yeah. Was your husband there with you?

RADZIWILL : Yes, he was.

KING: Whoa. What it must have been like for him.

RADZIWILL: Oh, I don't think any different than it was for anybody else. I think everybody was in fear and disbelief and a certain amount of terror.

KING: Tell us about Palm Beach, and the Kennedys and...

RADZIWILL: What a switch.

KING: ... Palm Beach. How about we -- I'm going through the book here. I mean, I don't know how to come out of a Cuban missile crisis, except to say, to be there in the middle of it is something you'd never forget.

RADZIWILL: Oh, no. It was certainly the most memorable moment of those three years in the White House.

KING: All right. Palm Beach. The Kennedys had a home there. You visited there a lot?

RADZIWILL: They did. Of course, they had a home there, and at Christmas time there was a gentleman called Colonel Paul, who lent the Kennedys, rather the president and Jackie, his home because it was nearby and he wanted to do this.

So we took our children from London every Christmas for those three years, and following, we spent all those years, Christmas together as well in England and...

KING: Did those kids remain close?

RADZIWILL: Terribly close.

KING: First cousins?

RADZIWILL: That's right -- that's right. But they were always so close, because every Christmas that I can remember since they were born we spent together, and as I said, half of every summer. So fortunately, they remained very close.

KING: Why were they not spoiled?

RADZIWILL: Oh. Well, I would like to think that they weren't.

KING: Well, at least I didn't see that.

RADZIWILL: Yes.

KING: Did you ever see them really spoiled?

RADZIWILL: Well, I suppose -- no, certainly not.

KING: They were certainly not brats.

RADZIWILL: No. Well, I'd say that that had everything to do with their upbringing and a certain amount of discipline and manners. A lot of people forget about manners.

KING: Not you and Jackie, though.

RADZIWILL: Well, I hope not.

KING: You had tragedy soon after John Jr., didn't you?

RADZIWILL: Well, yes I did.

KING: You lost a son.

RADZIWILL: Yes. My son died of cancer, which he had a very, very long battle with.

KING: How old was he?

RADZIWILL: He was just 40 by a week.

KING: I don't know how you -- a parent deals with that. Do you -- someone once said, upon losing a child, you're never the same.

RADZIWILL: Well, I think grieving is the same for everybody that lost someone you love deeply. It's the same. You know, you're really no different than anybody else who's lost somebody they adored.

KING: But losing a child -- just doesn't make sense.

RADZIWILL: No, losing a child is a very unnatural thing.

KING: Was that soon after John Jr. died?

RADZIWILL: It was exactly two weeks. KING: We'll be back with more of Lee Radziwill. Her book is "Happy Times." This is LARRY KING LIVE. Wonderful book. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: OK. We're back with Lee Radziwill. The Kennedys, yourself, have had to deal with so much tragedy. How do -- how do you explain that family's, and you, by step removed, were part of it, come up in this? Where did they get this ability to bounce back from incredible tragedy?

RADZIWILL: Well, I think it's a force. It's a force of nature, and it's a determination to go forward, to...

KING: In the genes?

RADZIWILL: Well, I guess it must be in the genes. But it's a determination not to dwell on the past; not to think what might have been; but to go forward, because how can you keep going if you don't go forward?

KING: And that's the way they look at it?

RADZIWILL: Yes.

KING: And the way you look at it, obviously.

RADZIWILL: That's right. That's the way you have to look at it, I think, or have to try to look at it, because otherwise you're going to sink.

KING: Where you were when the president was killed?

RADZIWILL: I was in London, and it was my sister's press secretary who called to say that he had been shot; that he was dead. And so, of course, I left immediately to be with Jackie.

KING: Go with her the next day?

RADZIWILL: Maybe it was the same day.

KING: Now, how do you explain the way she handled it?

RADZIWILL: Because...

KING: That's your genes.

RADZIWILL: ... she had immense courage, immense fortitude, and a great sense of history that guided her through this. She wanted the president's funeral in homage to him to be the most memorable historical occasion, and she didn't want people to have pity for her. She wanted to show them the way.

KING: Didn't deal in self-pity at all?

RADZIWILL: Oh, I don't think...

KING: Why did this happen to me?

RADZIWILL: Oh, never.

KING: Well, Gina is your daughter.

RADZIWILL: That's right.

KING: Is Jack's -- Jack was godfather.

RADZIWILL: That's right, and that's a point of what a wonderful family man Jack was, because he'd been in a very stressful tour of Europe, meeting President Khrushchev and then meeting General de Gaulle, but he went out of his way to come to London because it was Gina's christening, and he wanted to actually be there and participate in it.

KING: There's pictures of you and Jackie in India, right, in 1962. What was that trip like?

RADZIWILL: Well, that was perhaps one of the best trips, because it was the most colorful. And I think Nehru -- Prime Minister Nehru was, without question, the most civilized, learned, and gentle man that I ever met.

When he used to take us to our rooms at night -- because we stayed with him in New Delhi -- he would always come into the room to discuss what we were reading and advise us what we should read or what he'd recommend. But he was such a sensual man, and it was this gentleness and peace that struck you immediately in him.

KING: And he had that wonderful little clipped voice too, that...

RADZIWILL: That's right.

KING: ... loved hearing the sound of Nehru's voice.

RADZIWILL: That's right, with a slight British accent.

KING: Yeah, he knew it. You heard it, you knew that was him.

RADZIWILL: Right.

KING: Jackie moved to New York in 1964. Were you in New York then, too?

RADZIWILL: I was.

KING: And it was Bobby that got her to move there, right?

RADZIWILL: Well, I don't think so. I mean, I think she wanted to move. I think she wanted to leave Washington and wanted to try to start a new life, or another life, and thought it would be easier for her out of Washington. KING: And you were living in New York because of your husband's business or your fashion or both?

RADZIWILL: I was living in New York. I wasn't really living there. We had an apartment there, and I came from London. But I was living there because I wanted to be nearer to Jackie, to see much more of her, and because I wanted our children to remain as close as they'd been.

KING: You were close sisters.

RADZIWILL: Incredibly close.

KING: Back with more of Lee Radziwill. The book is "Happy Times." Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RADZIWILL: I had always heard of Pakistan's proverbial hospitality, and it was even more than I had expected. I hope that with my husband, I will be able to return again soon for a visit with the people of West Pakistan and East Pakistan, too.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The tradition of independence is close to the hearts of freedom-loving people everywhere. Mrs. Kennedy and her sister, Princess Lee Radziwill, join in the celebration of Pakistan day.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: This incredible book is "Happy Times." The guest is its author, Lee Radziwill, who splits time between New York and Paris.

Not married now, right?

RADZIWILL: No, I'm not.

KING: What's single life like?

RADZIWILL: It's very nice. It's very independent...

KING: Beautiful woman, single...

RADZIWILL: Oh, thank you, Larry.

KING: Independent. You...

RADZIWILL: Yes.

KING: ... make your own decisions? RADZIWILL: Well, you have to, you know?

KING: Not, where is Herbie? What is Herbie doing today? Where is Phil? Right? You go where you want to go.

RADZIWILL: Well, you do. But because you have to organize your own life.

KING: Do you miss...

RADZIWILL: Not being married?

KING: Yeah.

RADZIWILL: Well, they each have their upsides.

KING: So you -- are you -- the glass is always half-full to you, right? You're a half-full glass person? I mean, you've known -- everything happens to you, you try to look for the better side of things. This is just a read.

RADZIWILL: Well, I just think that that's the best way to do it.

KING: And you do it.

RADZIWILL: And it's sort of part of me. I've never thought of it that way, but I guess that's what...

KING: From all your answers, it would seem that way. That's a great way to live.

Tell me about Jackie's meeting Onassis, when that got serious.

RADZIWILL: Well, contrary to what people think, Jackie and Ari Onassis did have a lot in common. They both shared a great love of the sea. They both had a great knowledge and love of Greek mythology.

In fact, Jackie wrote and illustrated a beautiful book for Ari on the travels of Ulysses, and then she had it magnificently bound with a large early Greek coin in the middle. And it was really a treasure. So they did share a lot more than people were aware of.

KING: She -- how did she handle the criticism? There was a lot of criticism. "What are you doing marrying this Greek tycoon? You're the former first lady." How did she deal with that?

RADZIWILL: Well, you know, I think you get used to criticism. And so a lot of it has to roll off your back like water. And I think she just got used to it. You really can't be constantly affected by criticism, because otherwise, you couldn't have much of a life.

KING: Did you like Ari?

RADZIWILL: Enormously. I liked him immensely. He was very magnetic and charismatic. And there was something sort of fascinating about this small man who moved like a potentate and who always attracted people's attention. And he was very warm.

KING: John Jr. told me he was a very good stepfather.

RADZIWILL: I'm sure of that. He certainly appeared to be.

KING: Where were you -- oh, you've had so much -- where were you when Bobby was killed?

RADZIWILL: I was in London.

KING: Same way, news comes to you from somewhere?

RADZIWILL: That's right. That's right.

KING: Did you go right back...

RADZIWILL: And my husband, Stas, left immediately to fly out to Los Angeles with Jackie.

KING: You remember -- I know this is in the book -- Christmas time...

RADZIWILL: Yes.

KING: ... you and Jackie singing carols together. You...

RADZIWILL: Well, that was our greatest tradition, that Jackie and I, since we were really small children, had always done this Christmas play for my mother, where she cried incessantly. And then my -- or rather our children, we started to have the same tradition with them, that they did it for us every Christmas Eve wherever we were.

And it was extremely makeshift, with the costumes from the Christmas tree decorations or wherever you could grab a little bit of color and paper, but it was a very charming thing. And we wanted them to know, and I guess it's why mother started it, because Christmas just wasn't only about presents.

KING: New Year's Eve also was kind of festive.

RADZIWILL: Oh, well, New Year's Eve was a whole different thing. That was...

KING: Always with the Kennedys?

RADZIWILL: No, not with the Kennedys. That was for three Christmas Eves. But we were usually together. And -- but of course, New Year's Eve wasn't half as much family. It was many outsiders and many friends.

KING: By the way, the Johnsons were very good to her, weren't they -- to Jackie?

RADZIWILL: Oh yes, of course they were. And I know that Jackie was extremely fond of Lady Bird Johnson. KING: And the Reagans were also quite nice to her.

RADZIWILL: I'm sure so. I don't really know, but I'm sure so.

KING: Now, you and Andy Warhol...

RADZIWILL: Yes.

KING: ... how did that come together? I mean, you've been linked.

RADZIWILL: Oh, really?

KING: No. I mean, not romantically.

RADZIWILL: Well, I didn't think so. But it came together because when I came back from London to live here, I wanted to be out in Long Island, because I missed it and loved it. And I knew that Andy had a house out there that was a wonderful place. And so, a friend of mine introduced us. And so, I was able to take Andy's house for a couple of summers, and we became very close during that time. And...

KING: Were you a fan of his?

RADZIWILL: Well, whatever I have of his, he gave to me. I mean, I wouldn't have gone out to buy it.

KING: To buy it.

RADZIWILL: And -- but I was much more intrigued by him, because I knew that they had to be a lot more to him than just saying "gee whiz" or "gosh."

KING: Or Campbell's soup.

RADZIWILL: That's right.

KING: Let me get a break and come right back.

Lee Radziwill is our guest. The book is "Happy Times." What a life! Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back. He interviewed you -- Andy Warhol, didn't he, for his magazine?

RADZIWILL: Yes, he did, for the -- exactly.

KING: You also knew Mick Jagger.

RADZIWILL: I knew Mick Jagger, but he wasn't a particularly close friend, whereas...

KING: Andy was. RADZIWILL: ... Andy was, and two other people equally...

KING: Also, in the book, Mr. Capote.

RADZIWILL: Truman.

KING: That friendship.

RADZIWILL: That's right.

KING: How did that develop?

RADZIWILL: Well, you know, I can't even remember where and when we met. But we met in the late '50s and became incredibly close friends. And he was a big influence on me.

KING: How so?

RADZIWILL: Well, he encouraged me to go into the theater. And that was a rather terrifying experience.

KING: You did a play, right?

RADZIWILL: In spite of the fact I had always loved the theater, I went very far to go on stage in "Philadelphia Story," a theater in the round. And that was all because Truman encouraged me so much to do it, and thought that this was the perfect role for me. So I did it and I have no regrets at all. I really loved it, and was only sorry that I didn't continue.

But it was a difficult moment in my children's lives, so I thought it best to stop then because it was just easier for them.

KING: What was -- by the way, did you see the play, "Truman," the play about him?

RADZIWILL: Yes, I did.

KING: What did...

RADZIWILL: At moments, I thought it was him speaking. I couldn't believe how identical it was to him.

KING: What was special about Truman Capote? I mean, we knew what a great writer he was.

RADZIWILL: Well, he was the greatest entertainer. He loved to amuse you, and he loved to laugh and to make you laugh. And so, of course, it was always an enormous pleasure to be with him. And he was a great observer of people.

KING: Boy, was he.

RADZIWILL: As being a great writer, which he certainly was, it was part of his makeup. But he was just such a pleasure to be with, and he had great loyalty. KING: You would admit, "In Cold Blood" is one of the great works.

RADZIWILL: Without question.

KING: He got into the soul of those folks.

RADZIWILL: That's right.

KING: Your -- when your friends pass on, and not at old age, how do you deal with that?

RADZIWILL: Well, it's not so easy, because they're such close friends. But as I said, you just keep trying to move ahead. And it gets a lot lonelier without them, because you didn't realize that they were a big part of the structure, the fabric of your life. And so the fabric will never be the same again. The structure will never be as strong. But it changes. You can never replace those people.

KING: Andy may be -- he shouldn't have died, right?

RADZIWILL: No. Well, nobody should have died.

KING: No. But, I mean, his was a...

RADZIWILL: But his was a real accident.

KING: And that -- does that make it worse?

RADZIWILL: No. Loss is loss. I don't think it makes any difference how it was. Obviously, you hope the person who you love didn't have to suffer too much. But for you, it's the loss.

KING: Tell me about these drawings and stories at the end of the book. You and Jackie did these mini-books together.

RADZIWILL: Well, no, there weren't mini-books. This was a present we did after my first trip to Europe to thank my mother for letting us go together, because it took a year to persuade her, and at times, she changed her mind. And I was so excited that I was beside myself for close to a year. And so we really wanted to thank her for doing this.

KING: So that was your one production.

RADZIWILL: So that was our one production.

KING: You put it in this book, though?

RADZIWILL: Yes. And I wrote the book, and Jackie illustrated the book, of all the places we'd been, and the extraordinary things that happened to us. Some of them were great fun. Some of them were outrageously ridiculous, like my losing all my undergarments at this lady's very grand Paris apartment. And...

KING: She draws whimsically too -- she drew. RADZIWILL: Oh, she draws -- she drew wonderfully, I think.

KING: Our guest is Lee Radziwill. We'll be right back. The book is "Happy Times." Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: OK. We're back with Lee Radziwill. How do you get along now with the others? Do you see Teddy? Do you stay close with the Kennedys?

RADZIWILL: I do see Teddy. Yes, I am. I do see them. As you know, most of them don't live in New York. But of course, I see them at family gatherings.

KING: Have you been told a lot that your voice and your sister's voice are the same voice?

RADZIWILL: Absolutely. They always were the same. My mother could never tell us apart on the phone.

KING: Yeah. There's no -- there's never been a voice like that voice. Was it like your mother's voice?

RADZIWILL: Yeah. She talks pretty much the same way.

KING: OK. Were you -- do you think she'd be happy with this book?

RADZIWILL: I think she'd be delighted by it. I think those times would bring back wonderful memories for her, as good as they were for me, if not better. And she knows them all.

KING: Yeah, she sure did. She lived them all. The affection both of you have for sunglasses, explain this. A lot of pictures with sunglasses.

RADZIWILL: I don't know. I've never thought about that.

KING: Think about it, Lee.

RADZIWILL: For me, it's like brushing your hair. You just put them on.

KING: How many pairs do you own?

RADZIWILL: Oh, never enough, because I always leave them behind. But they're all identical.

KING: In your fashion career, did you have a favorite job?

RADZIWILL: Not really. I enjoyed enormously working with Diana Freeland and -- because...

KING: Quite a lady.

RADZIWILL: ... she was such a character.

KING: Yeah.

RADZIWILL: And she was such a nice person too. But she was such an original. Whatever she said was really different than the way anybody else would put it. But it was always right on. And then, I loved working at the Brussels Worlds Fair because I was in charge of the whole American fashion show there. And then I liked...

KING: Armani.

RADZIWILL: ... Giorgio Armani enormously. So it's very difficult for me to say one was better than the other. They were really interesting.

KING: Your sister changed a lot of fashion. I mean, we -- people copied her, right?

RADZIWILL: They certainly did. Well, people copied her, and then they copied that whole era of the '60s.

KING: Did you get her stuff?

RADZIWILL: Did I get her things?

KING: Yeah. Did you get fashion things for her? It's -- a good sister would do that.

RADZIWILL: Well, I think maybe I was quite an influence, or certainly an influence. It's just a natural thing to say. Do you like this, or don't you like this, or would you get me a pink dress like yours?

KING: Did you do the box hats too?

RADZIWILL: No, I never did hats. I didn't -- never felt they were so becoming to me.

KING: We will take a break. And when we come back, our remaining moments with Lee Radziwill and we'll ask, what now?

The book is "Happy Times." Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: We're back with our remaining moments with Lee Radziwill. Her new book is "Happy Times." Is it published in Europe too?

RADZIWILL: Yes, it is.

KING: You knew Nureyev too, did you not?

RADZIWILL: Oh, he was my closest friend.

KING: How did that begin? RADZIWILL: It began when I first saw him dance in London after he defected. And that was, I think, in '61. And I went backstage to meet him. And after that, we became -- I went to the ballet all the time when I lived in London, and he danced there all the time. So I saw a lot of him. And then he came to live with us for six months before he found a place, a permanent place.

KING: You got really close.

RADZIWILL: Yeah. We got terribly close. And I knew his day backwards and forwards. I went to most of his rehearsals and his classes.

KING: Did he know Jackie?

RADZIWILL: Yes, he did.

KING: Did she like him?

RADZIWILL: Very much.

KING: What was his greatness? What did he do that other dancers didn't do?

RADZIWILL: Well, he had enormous presence. He had great physical power. And he had this magnetic personality. I mean, if he put one foot on the stage without even dancing, the audience was absolutely paralyzed, because he was so charismatic.

KING: You also spent time at Buckingham Palace with your sister.

RADZIWILL: Well, I only went there once, one evening for dinner.

KING: But it's in the book.

RADZIWILL: That's right.

KING: You took pictures everywhere, or someone took pictures everywhere?

RADZIWILL: That's right.

KING: Now, what's next, Lee?

RADZIWILL: Well, Larry, I really haven't made any plans. I'm open to anything. But...

KING: Do you want to go to work?

RADZIWILL: ... perhaps I'll do a book called "Difficult Times."

KING: Difficult times, and half-and-half times, and worst times.

RADZIWILL: Well, I don't think I'd do worst times, but difficult times could almost be fun, because everybody's had difficult times. And... KING: Tell me about your children, what they're doing.

RADZIWILL: Well, my daughter lives in New York. She's married to a neurologist. And she works at a museum, "Asia House," here. And I'm not a grandmother yet, but I wish I was.

KING: You only had two children?

RADZIWILL: That's right.

KING: Same as Jackie.

RADZIWILL: That's right.

KING: So, your daughter married a neurologist?

RADZIWILL: Yes.

KING: You could be a Jewish mother-in-law, this is the height -- a doctor! That's the most successful marriage of all.

RADZIWILL: Well, I hope so. They've only been married two years, but I hope so. But I would really love to be a grandmother as soon as possible.

KING: Why? Most people would say, not yet.

RADZIWILL: Oh, no. I don't think so. Oh, I long to have something to spoil and to hug and take to the things I love to go to.

KING: Would you -- would you marry again?

RADZIWILL: Oh, I really don't think so. But who knows? You can never predict anything.

KING: Because you don't know what's around the corner.

RADZIWILL: Well, that is certainly true.

KING: I mean, because if you met someone...

RADZIWILL: No, Larry. I really don't think I would. But...

KING: You wouldn't, even if you met someone?

RADZIWILL: Well, no, I don't think so. But you can never tell about anything until it happens. But I really don't think so.

KING: Are you doing a big tour for your book? Are you -- how you...

RADZIWILL: No, I'm not.

KING: Limiting...

RADZIWILL: I'm just doing your show and maybe a couple of other things. Not maybe -- I'm doing a couple of other things. But I'm not doing a tour, because I thought you could take care of it for me.

KING: Happening right -- good thinking! And Caroline, do you see much of her, talk to her?

RADZIWILL: I do see Caroline, and I do talk to her. And she has three wonderful children. And what else can I say...

KING: Is she close with your daughter?

RADZIWILL: Yes, she is.

KING: So nice having you with us, Lee. Thank you.

RADZIWILL: Oh, Larry, thank you so much.

KING: It's -- you don't need any other show. All the...

(CROSSTALK)

The book is "Happy Times." The guest is Lee Radziwill. The book is available everywhere books are sold. We thank her for being with us in this delightful and informative hour. Thank you.

RADZIWILL: Oh, thank you, Larry.

KING: Thank you for joining us on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Good night from New York.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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