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Barbara Cook - "I was a drunk"

Who knew she was a lush?

by Anonymousreply 20208/09/2017

e v e r y o n e

by Anonymousreply 110/17/2010

LOL! What R1 said!!!

by Anonymousreply 210/17/2010

That must be how she got so huge. Booze will really pack the pounds on.

by Anonymousreply 310/17/2010

Where is the quote from, OP?

I saw a clip from the Follies concert, and she had really slimmed down, comparatively, then. But she's been back to being the size of a house for the last 20 years.

by Anonymousreply 410/17/2010

R4 Google Barbara Cook - "I was a drunk" And the article will pop up

by Anonymousreply 510/17/2010

She is just trying to horn in on Elaine Stritch's territory. Barbara Cook has never been interesting and she hopes to be.

by Anonymousreply 610/17/2010

At least I can sing and can still memorize lines.

by Anonymousreply 710/17/2010

Barbara dear...

Your voice is like nails on a chalkboard. I detest your 'singing', Stritch has character if not pitch.

by Anonymousreply 810/17/2010

[bold] Barbara Cook: Her world is a beautiful place [/bold]

NEW YORK%E2%80%94Barbara Cook is sitting in her comfortable Riverside Drive apartment, describing how she picks material such as the songs that will appear in her concert at the Telus Centre for Performance and Learning on Oct. 22.

%E2%80%9CI%E2%80%99ve sung %E2%80%98Losing My Mind.%E2%80%99 I can stand behind that. I%E2%80%99ve been there.%E2%80%9D

It seems strange to hear words like that coming from the blond, beaming woman who could very well be your grandmother %E2%80%94 if your grandmother happened to have one of the finest voices in the history of musical theatre.

This is, after all, the actress who created Cunegonde in Candide, Marian the Librarian in The Music Man and numerous other roles that defined just what a singing heroine should be like.

But then she turned into a shattered china doll, with an unhappy adulterous affair putting her on the road to a decade of alcoholism, which she describes bluntly: %E2%80%9CI was not employable. I was a drunk.%E2%80%9D

There was, as there usually is in the best of musicals, a healing second act, which found her launching a second career as a cabaret and concert artist, prospering for nearly 35 years and %E2%80%94 to the ears of most critics and audiences %E2%80%94 sounding better every year.

%E2%80%9CI%E2%80%99m going to be 83 (on Oct. 25),%E2%80%9D she says simply, as a matter of fact, not a bid for sympathy or approbation. %E2%80%9CAs you get older, there is a sadness about that, so I put it into my work. It feels good to get rid of it that way.%E2%80%9D

Cook feels the most important thing she does is selecting her repertoire. %E2%80%9CIt%E2%80%99s much harder to find the song than the feelings. I%E2%80%99m very careful what I pick. Cole Porter? I%E2%80%99ve never investigated him too severely. %E2%80%98Flying too high with some guy in the sky%E2%80%99 . . . that doesn%E2%80%99t appeal to me.

%E2%80%9CThere%E2%80%99s also some lovely songs I wouldn%E2%80%99t want to sing. Don McLean%E2%80%99s %E2%80%98Vincent,%E2%80%99 for example. A gorgeous melody, but it says that the world wasn%E2%80%99t good enough for Van Gogh. I don%E2%80%99t believe that. I believe the world is a beautiful place.%E2%80%9D

For a long time, in fact, it was just that for Cook, after she was born in Atlanta in 1927.

%E2%80%9CDear Lord,%E2%80%9D she sighs, beginning a lovely anecdote she first told me during a long interview in 2004. %E2%80%9CI have no memory of suddenly saying %E2%80%98I can sing!%E2%80%99 No, I think I breathed and sang together right away. It never was an extraordinary sound, just this pretty little voice that people liked to hear.%E2%80%9D

At 21, she moved to New York with her mother %E2%80%9Cto see if the world would let me sing.%E2%80%9D

And did it ever. Between 1949 and 1959, she carved a name for herself in shows obscure (Flahooley) and famous (The Music Man). Then she had a child, Adam, with actor husband David LeGrant, and %E2%80%9Ctook a few years off to raise my son.%E2%80%9D

She was soon back under the brightest lights, in such classics as the unforgettable She Loves Me. Cook seemed on the road to permanent stardom.

Then came a 1964 musical called Something More! Despite the fact that it was a fast-closing flop that Cook says %E2%80%9Cdidn%E2%80%99t work at all,%E2%80%9D she became romantically involved with one another cast member, an actor who was also married. Cook divorced her husband, but the actor stayed with his wife. Cook now sagely says, %E2%80%9CIt was the right thing, for so many reasons. I had to take care of myself and you learn things you can%E2%80%99t learn any other way.%E2%80%9D

One of the things she learned, unfortunately, was that she was an alcoholic.

%E2%80%9CI thought I was just a neurotic who drank,%E2%80%9D she laughs bitterly. %E2%80%9CBut you cross a line where the drinking itself becomes the problem and you don%E2%80%99t know where that line is until it%E2%80%99s too late.%E2%80%9D

Wally Harper, who would be her close friend and accompanist until booze hastened his own tragic death in 2004, started to get Cook back on track again and she made a triumphant comeback at Carnegie Hall in 1975.

As the Cook legend grew over the years, most people assumed her sobriety had led to the vocal renaissance, but it wasn%E2%80%99t quite the case.

by Anonymousreply 910/17/2010


As the Cook legend grew over the years, most people assumed her sobriety had led to the vocal renaissance, but it wasn%E2%80%99t quite the case.

%E2%80%9COh no,%E2%80%9D insists Cook sadly. %E2%80%9CYou thought I would have learned, but I didn%E2%80%99t. I never drank before I sang, but afterwards, Wally once said I%E2%80%99d never stop pouring myself drinks until I passed out. How many mornings would I pour every bottle in the apartment down the drain and then by 5 o%E2%80%99clock, I%E2%80%99d be ordering more.%E2%80%9D

It came to a head in the summer of 1976, when Cook went to California %E2%80%9Cfor a two-week engagement when I was supposed to sing 24 times. I was able to do 15. The last few days I had a panic attack so terrible that my body just couldn%E2%80%99t function. I was scared enough that I thought I wouldn%E2%80%99t be able to sing ever again and so I sobered up.%E2%80%9D

But not permanently. In 1977, she recorded a studio album of contemporary songs, As of Today and she recalls standing at the wrap party %E2%80%9Cwatching everyone else drinking while I sipped my club soda. Then I went home, got a bottle and started drinking. I woke up the next morning, looked at the alcohol in the glass by my bedside and said %E2%80%98never again,%E2%80%99 and I haven%E2%80%99t.%E2%80%9D

For Cook now, the music is everything.

%E2%80%9CWe go through life so alone. Those moments when we connect are all we can really look forward to. I think that art that touches people is so important. It can be so healing.

%E2%80%9CIf I sing about an emotion and you say, %E2%80%98Yes, I%E2%80%99ve felt like that too,%E2%80%99 then it brings us together, even if it%E2%80%99s just for a little while.%E2%80%9D

Even though she still seems hale and hearty, Cook keeps reminding herself that 83 is fairly far down the road by anyone%E2%80%99s standards.

%E2%80%9CDeath songs have a greater meaning for me now, but I%E2%80%99m especially careful in picking them to avoid the obvious and the maudlin. I might be singing about death in a certain song and you don%E2%80%99t know it, but I do and that colours the way I sing it.%E2%80%9D

When asked about her own particular gift, she waves her hand in the air as if shooing away a fly on a long-ago Georgia porch.

%E2%80%9CTalent is mysterious. A whole bunch of things have to come together and who knows how or why they do. I feel lucky to have some sort of a gift. But it%E2%80%99s not primarily the voice. The gift is being able to connect with what you have in your heart and share that.%E2%80%9D

As our time together comes to a close, I tell Cook that of all the hundreds of songs I%E2%80%99ve heard her sing, my favourite is probably Janis Ian%E2%80%99s %E2%80%9CStars.%E2%80%9D She smiles when I say that, then reaches out to touch my wrist.

%E2%80%9CDo you know why I picked that song? The last four words.%E2%80%9D

Then Barbara Cook sings for me, in her apartment overlooking the Hudson River.

%E2%80%9CSo if you don%E2%80%99t lose patience / with my fumbling around, / I%E2%80%99ll come up singing for you / even when I%E2%80%99m down.%E2%80%9D

Five Faves Barbara Cook finds inspirational

Gustavo Dudamel: It%E2%80%99s not just his superb musicianship that astonishes me, it%E2%80%99s his commitment to working on music education with young people around the world, which is something I feel is sadly lacking today.

Rolando Villazon: He has a purity of sound and a depth of emotional commitment when he sings that I find absolutely mesmerizing.

Renee Fleming: I admire her apparent ease in performance, even though I know how difficult the material she does can be. It%E2%80%99s all in her grace of spirit.

Hugh Jackman: He%E2%80%99s a great entertainer who can do anything as well as a thoroughly good human being.

Stephen Sondheim: He%E2%80%99s the musical theatre songwriter of our time. Period. I think Sweeney Todd and Passion are his two greatest works of genius.

by Anonymousreply 1010/17/2010

I've never been able to stand this bloated, inauthentic cow. Glug glug.

by Anonymousreply 1110/17/2010

[quote]At least I can sing and can still memorize lines. Barbara C.

So were those TV monitors facing you installed during "Sondheim On Sondheim" for watching Bravo while you sang?

by Anonymousreply 1210/17/2010

Sure, R8... as if one of, if not the most acclaimed our greatest singing actresses, gives a fuck about your opinion. By the way, though neither could, would or ever wished to play the roles created by the other, I know for a fact Elaine has the utmost respect for Barbara, and I presume the reverse is equally the case.

You, on the other hand, R8, are an anonymous, worthless piece of shit.

by Anonymousreply 1310/17/2010

R8 = Shirley Jones

by Anonymousreply 1410/17/2010

Listening to Elaine Stritch is like having some bar maid shout into your left ear. %0D %0D %0D %0D %0D

by Anonymousreply 1510/17/2010

to bad you Justin Bieber fans just don't get her, one of the most beautiful voices ever!!

by Anonymousreply 1610/17/2010

I got thrown out of Sardi's one night... on my drunken ass! Can Miss Cook make the same claim?

by Anonymousreply 1710/17/2010

Barbara Cook replaced Sandy Dennis in the comedy ANY WEDNESDAY. I only know the show from the movie version with Jane Fonda . Anyone here see Cook play the mistress? I just don't see her playing sexy, goofy.

by Anonymousreply 1810/17/2010

She is old and fat. I've never heard of her. She hasn't been on SNL. And I can't find any ringtones. We are not interested.

by Anonymousreply 1910/17/2010

Unfortunately, R15, Stritch hit her peak in 1961, and saw all hopes for her creating Broadway starring roles "Sail Away" with the show. Other than appearing as herself in '02's "Elaine Stritch at Liberty", her major roles have been primarily as a replacement and/or in revivals. Even her "career defining moment" ("Company"; 1970) was in an ensemble piece, over 40 years ago. That said, it was Noel Coward who failed Stritch in '61, not the other way around. What success the show had, both on Broadway and in London, was properly credited to Strich's canny take on her character, Mimi Paragon, and her wringing every possible bit of humor and pathos out of Coward's lackluster score. Stritch has never claimed to be a particularly great singer; however, she is deservedly counted among Broadway's finest musical performers.

by Anonymousreply 2010/17/2010

R18, Ms Cook played "sexy/goofy" many, many times. Her talent for precisely that made her a Broadway star!

Cook's Sandy in '51's "Flahooley", Ado Annie in "Oklahoma"s national tour, Hilda in '55's "Plain and Fancy", Cunegonde in '56's "Candide?, Marian in '57's "The Music Man", Liesl in '61's "The Gay Life", Amalia in '62's "She Loves Me" and Carol in '64's "Something More!" (in which, by the way, she appeared, to critical acclaim, clad in a bikini) were all, to some extent, "sexy/goofy".

Another error of that magnitude, my dear R18, will result in you're being requested to turn in your gay card immediately!

by Anonymousreply 2110/17/2010

She said it best before she left Carrie, "Eve Was Weak."

by Anonymousreply 2210/17/2010

[quote]Then came a 1964 musical called Something More! Despite the fact that it was a fast-closing flop that Cook says "didn't work at all," she became romantically involved with one another cast member, an actor who was also married.

The suspects would seem to include Arthur Hill, Michael Kermoyan (whom Marni Nixon had a fling with, as per her memoirs), Hal Linden and Ronny Graham. Anyone have information?

by Anonymousreply 2310/17/2010

First of all, in 1998 or 1999, Barbara Cook and Wally Harper had a massive blowup while rehearsing an album that ultimately never got recorded and the rumor is she slammed the piano lid down on his left hand so hard that he could no longer play as he once had, and this ramped up his alcoholism in a VERY big, sad way.

Also, she does have an incredible apartment but it's pre-war and was likely last renovated in the 1960's. A friend, who is very involved in the arts scene, has been to her home for dinner parties and said while it's lovely, and she's a good hostess, there have been times when she literally has to bang on the radiators to get some heat. Sad.

by Anonymousreply 2410/17/2010

The old bat was literally shuffling around the stage in black sneakers in that Sondheim disaster recently. I thought I was watching an aged housekeeper who mistakenly wandered onto a Broadway stage and tried to screech through songs. I wanted my money back.

by Anonymousreply 2510/17/2010

Arthur Hill was the married actor she had the affair with in SOMETHING MORE. He's dead now, I wonder why she didn't mention him by name?

by Anonymousreply 2610/17/2010

She is considered one of the finest singing teachers in NYC.

by Anonymousreply 2710/17/2010

There's no accounting for taste, R25... except in you're case. You apparently have none.

by Anonymousreply 2810/17/2010

One can only wonder what, precisely, R25 will wear when she stars in her Broadway show at 82? I personally wonder if there will still be a Broadway in 2084, when she presumably plans to receive the standing ovations Ms Cook did, at every performance, in 2010?

by Anonymousreply 2910/17/2010

She doesn't teach singing - she coaches material - and yes, she is brilliant at it. Curses a lot. Respects Stritch's talent - but that show they did together at LCT drove Cook crazy and she vowed never again.

by Anonymousreply 3010/17/2010

A friend, John VonSoosten, interviewed Barbara Cook on his radio program in 2005. He'd never met her, but was terrified by everything he'd heard and been told to expect. As it turned out, it was a terrific interview, and he loved her.

by Anonymousreply 3110/17/2010

[quote]one of, if not the most acclaimed our greatest singing actresses

Who outside of Manhattan no one has ever heard of.

by Anonymousreply 3210/17/2010

Perhaps not in Duluth. By the way, what do you do for entertainment there, R32?

by Anonymousreply 3310/17/2010

She shows her ignorance with her casual dismissal of Cole Porter, wiring a lyric fragment, and by proclaiming PASSION one of Sondheim's two masterpieces, when it's the second biggest turd he's ever laid, after ROAD SHOW.

by Anonymousreply 3410/17/2010

Who cares, really? She's one of the Broadway stage's best female "interpreters" of our time, and giving up drink 33 years ago is water way under the bridge. Why is this a current topic of interest?

by Anonymousreply 3510/17/2010

Exactly, r35. We should be berating her because she's fat, not because she was once an alcoholic.

by Anonymousreply 3610/17/2010

No reaction to, or comments on the veracity of, r24's story that Barb slammed the piano lid on Wally's hand, ruined his playing, and drove him to the bottle that killed him? %0D %0D I would LOVE this to be true - it sounds like something out of a lurid Joan Crawford melodrama!

by Anonymousreply 3710/17/2010

I've seen Cook live in various performances over the years. She never failed to meet and often excel all expectations. Too bad there's such a dearth of talented performers today. Justin Beeper, anyone?

by Anonymousreply 3810/17/2010

[quote]Who outside of Manhattan no one has ever heard of.%0D %0D Forty years ago millions of people owned a copy of the OBC album of THE MUSIC MAN on vinyl. It was one of those enormously successful best-selling records like SOUTH PACIFIC, MY FAIR LADY and THE SOUND OF MUSIC that even people who weren't particularly devoted to musicals ran out and bought. %0D %0D Had she done nothing else, that album alone would have made her voice a familar presence in households throughout the English-speaking world.

by Anonymousreply 3910/17/2010

Let's talk about her gay son, Adam LeGrant...

He is FUGLY!

by Anonymousreply 4010/17/2010

How sad that he (apparently) got his dad's looks, instead of his mother's.

by Anonymousreply 4110/17/2010

I saw her in the mid-90s at the Cafe Royal in London.

She was fantastic.

by Anonymousreply 4210/17/2010

All the clean-living ones are gone.

Cook and Stritch are duking it out for Sole Survivor.

My money is on Stritch. She just wants it more.

by Anonymousreply 4310/17/2010

Adam is a sweet guy, and Barbara is warm and lovely. I hear she doesn't like Stritch anymore, but I was recently in her presence when Elaine's name came up. While others trashed her, Cook kept her counsel. A very classy lady.

by Anonymousreply 4410/18/2010

Stritch is a needy attention-whore. She would go to Barbara's shows and just as they begin, would rifle through her purse for candy, clean her eyeglasses, anything to draw focus to her.

Cook finally had enough. But she won't speak ill of her, and will act friendly when she's around her.

by Anonymousreply 4510/18/2010

Wicked, R25 but funny! LOL

by Anonymousreply 4610/18/2010

This thread has been invaded by the kids from ATC who savour their free Barbara Cook CD's they received in their gift bags at the Talkin Broadway Tony Party.

by Anonymousreply 4710/18/2010

R35 SHE is the one that brought it up in her recent interview.

by Anonymousreply 4810/18/2010

r24, do you actually live in NY? Having spotty heat in an UWS prewar is not exactly uncommon and hardly the marker of "sad"ness you melodramatically make it into -- my father used to hang ice on the thermostats to try to force the heat to come on (no lie).

by Anonymousreply 4910/18/2010

I'm not surprised Barbara Cook was a drunk. Many, if not most, performers from her generation had problems with alcohol.

by Anonymousreply 5010/18/2010

[quote] Who outside of Manhattan no one has ever heard of. Um, gee. I was born and raised in Los Angeles and I've known who Barbara Cook is since I was a teenager in the 1970s..

by Anonymousreply 5110/18/2010

Did she ever appear in any films or TV versions of musicals? Panelist on Goodson/Todman game shows? %0D %0D While perhaps no Shirley Jones, she was certainly cute enough for the camera in her youth.

by Anonymousreply 5210/18/2010

Among other television programs, Cook appeared on the Hallmark Hall of Fame, as well as The Alfred Hitchcock, Perry Como, Ed Sullivan and Dinah Shore Shows, R52.

by Anonymousreply 5310/18/2010

She did several TV musical spectaculars including Hansel and Gretel with Red Buttons,Stubby Kaye and Bloomer Girl. Numerous appearances on Ed Sullivan and Bell Telephone Hour. There is a DVD compilation of her appearances on the Bell Telephone Hour.

by Anonymousreply 5410/18/2010

I just got the Bell Telephone Hour Christmas DVD compilation. It's fabulous. I didn't know that there was color TV in the 50s because some segments are from 1959. All kinds of people with great voices who are long gone - people we've heard about but have never seen on TV.

by Anonymousreply 5510/18/2010

There was color TV in the early 50's R55. But many stations did not have the equipment and household color TV ownership was low. Those sets were expensive.

by Anonymousreply 5610/18/2010

R55 -- 1954 was the first year there was a color broadcast.

by Anonymousreply 5710/18/2010

I don't think too many local affiliates had the ability to broadcast color programs until the mid 60's.

by Anonymousreply 5810/18/2010

[quote]she does have an incredible apartment but it's pre-war

Oh, dear.

by Anonymousreply 5910/18/2010

Apparently Arthur Hill opened her up to a whole new sexual bliss, which is what drove her a little batty when he decided not to leave his wife for her.

By the time she played Magnolia at Lincoln Center - more than a year after the affair ended - she had already begun to put on the pounds.

In the late 60s, she also played Fanny Brice in FUNNY GIRL opposite James Mitchell, who said she was darling but an emotional mess and so hefty that for once Brice's first name made sense.

by Anonymousreply 6010/18/2010

bump for more pre fat Cook and her sexual bliss!

by Anonymousreply 6110/19/2010

The young (slim) Barbara on DVD:

by Anonymousreply 6210/19/2010

r24 -- r49 is right. I live in a W. 80's building near Riverside Drive where many of the tenants in 1-bdrms. are paying $3K+/month, and 2-bdrms. @ $4K+/month. Right now we get heat from 6a-7a; the hot water runs out by 9a. That's it.

by Anonymousreply 6310/19/2010

So why wasn't she ever cast in a movie?

by Anonymousreply 6410/19/2010

It is hard for theater people to make the transition to the screen.

by Anonymousreply 6510/19/2010

Barbara dear,

This admission is an obvious attempt to make you seem interesting. You never were, nor will you ever be accused of being interesting.

by Anonymousreply 6610/19/2010

I understand that Cook may well not have been considered to recreate any of her stage roles in the film versions (for whatever silly reasons) but I just wonder why she somehow never made ANY movies....esp. considering that lots were made in NYC during her years as a young leading lady.%0D %0D I mean, I'm sure there's no real reason for this....I'm just musing that it's unusual and unfortuante.

by Anonymousreply 6710/19/2010

Wonder why she couldn't get a guest spot on Law & Order

by Anonymousreply 6810/19/2010

[quote]Wonder why she couldn't get a guest spot on Law & Order%0D %0D She tried. She was supposed to meet Dick Wolf outside the NBC "Today" studio on the day after Thanksgiving but he mistook her for a leftover float from the Macy's Parade.

by Anonymousreply 6910/19/2010

Well, to be fair, she only lost one of her roles - The Music Man - because that's the only one of her Broadway shows (that she originated) that was made into a movie. Although Julie Andrews was announced for She Loves Me, that was never made, but it would have been her second loss.

I know she agreed to do the LA run of Plain and Fancy (she didn't do the rest of the tour) to test the waters in LA, and that's when she got the Hitchcock show. If you see that show - Barbara in her youthful prime - you realize a) what a good actress she is, and b) her looks don't work that well on screen.

by Anonymousreply 7010/19/2010

her overbite worked against her in Hollywood.

by Anonymousreply 7110/19/2010

But the Hitchcock is a glimpse at the real Barbara - not the nastiness, but the earthy sexiness.

by Anonymousreply 7210/19/2010

Now that I think about it I guess she does have kind of buck teeth.

by Anonymousreply 7310/19/2010

Who was her husband (and the father of her ugly son)?

by Anonymousreply 7410/19/2010

I used to have a recipe for Shirley Jones' Road Apple Pie but I've misplaced it.

by Anonymousreply 7510/20/2010

If you find it, Lila, let me know. I could use a midnight snack, and two or three of those would be great.

by Anonymousreply 7610/20/2010

David Le Grant was her husband and father of her ugly but gorgeous-on-the-inside son, Adam.

by Anonymousreply 7710/20/2010

The proud parents - David LeGrant and ex-wife Barbara Cook, still good friends.

by Anonymousreply 7810/20/2010

More David LeGrant

by Anonymousreply 7910/20/2010

Life Magazine has it wrong, identifying Harvey Evans as David LeGrant in that picture. But the one from Legrant's studio is definitely him.

by Anonymousreply 8010/20/2010

Speaking of Harvey Evans--- this is the Harvey I like to see.%0D %0D Possibly NSFW

by Anonymousreply 8110/20/2010

FWIW I had an impromptu night out with Barbara Cook in 1972 when a friend and a friend of his who knew her asked us all out to dinner on the Upper West Side. Can't remember much except that she was totally sweet and charming (exactly what you'd expect!), was clearly fighting off the beginnings of her weight problems and wasn't drunk at all. I was quite young and new to NYC but it is still a lovely memory. %0D %0D I guess this was maybe right after she did The Grass Harp. And just a year or two before her big comeback at Carnegie Hall.

by Anonymousreply 8210/20/2010

Is The Grass Harp revivable at Encores or Goodspeed or anywhere else? Such a lovely score!

by Anonymousreply 8310/20/2010

I'm not sure Encores! would really do "The Grass Harp," and Goodspeed's moved on to more mainstream fare.

by Anonymousreply 8410/20/2010

vultures; you people are vultures.

by Anonymousreply 8511/28/2010

She's just a sweet southern gal and she knows better than to get above her raisin'. Her mama raised her right!

by Anonymousreply 8611/28/2010

Why does this woman continue to generate the discussion she does?? Cook is strictly a second-tier star in the Broadway firmament, if that. This is not a Merman, a Martin or an Andrews by any conceivable stretch of a deluded fan's imagination. Given her lack of acting ability, her alcoholism and her size, she is lucky to have had any career in the theatre.

by Anonymousreply 8711/28/2010

Did anyone see her as Fanny Brice? What odd casting (ditto Carol Lawrence in the same role).%0D %0D I don't get how some people prefer her over Dorothy Collins as Sally in Follies. That wonderful Collins mix of belting and soprano singing was lost when Sally's songs were transposed up for Cook.%0D

by Anonymousreply 8811/28/2010

You're a complete idiot, r87. You don't even know what you're talking about. Did you see any of Cook's acting performances? I didn't think so.

She was widely praised by critics in the 1950s and 1960s as being one of the best actresses in musical theatre. Neither Merman nor Martin had the acting chops Cook had in her heyday, and even Andrews wasn't as good an actress.

And her career in the theatre came before she gained weight. The weight gain didn't start until after her unhappy affair with Arthur Hill. She was "overweight," but not fat, from about 1966 - 73, and reemerged as the fat concert goddess in 1975, when she was 47.

by Anonymousreply 8911/28/2010

R88, Cook sang Sally in the original keys. But I agree with you that I prefer Collins singing the songs.

by Anonymousreply 9011/28/2010

R89: Cook has done well as a concert performer, but no sane person would put in the same league with Merman, Martin and Andrews as a Broadway musical performer. Yes, Cook played the co-star to Preston in "The Music Man." She appeared in other good musicals, like "She Loves" and "Candide." %0D %0D But, only theater people know about her Broadway career.%0D %0D %0D

by Anonymousreply 9111/28/2010

The point was, r91, that Cook was a better ACTRESS than Merman, Martin and Andrews - and she was.

by Anonymousreply 9211/28/2010

[quote]Why does this woman continue to generate the discussion she does??

Because she reads a lyric like nobody's business. Only Sinatra could do it better, and IMO she's only a step behind.

While she never "carried" a show, let's not forget that Julie Andrews didn't either until "Victor, Victoria". In "My Fair Lady" and "Camelot" she co-starred with Rex Harrison and Richard Burton, respectively. And while I like Julie Andrews, she's not in the same league as Barbara Cook when it comes to interpreting a song.

As to who's the better Sally, for me it depends on the day. Dorothy Collins was marvelous--the tone and quality of her voice is perfect for the character, and dramatically she had the goods. So did Barbara Cook and on minimal rehearsal time. I would have loved to have seen her in a full staging of "Follies" along with Lee Remick and George Hearn (Mandy Patinkin could have stayed home).

by Anonymousreply 9311/28/2010

R94: Cook was certainly not a better actress than Martin, who got good reviews for roles as different as the goddess Venus in "One Touch of Venus" and Sabina in a revival of Wilder's "The Skin of Our Teeth."%0D %0D Martin won Tony awards for Best Actress in a Musical for "South Pacific," "Peter Pan," and "The Sound of Music."%0D %0D And in those roles, and four or five others, Martin was the star who brought people into the theater.%0D %0D You have no case.

by Anonymousreply 9411/28/2010

r91%0D %0D That can't be the case considering Cook frequently performs musical theatre songs in concert ("And here's my big number from She Loves Me...")

by Anonymousreply 9511/28/2010

Um ... so, Martin got good reviews for One Touch of Venus to The Skin of Our Teeth, and won three Tony Awards and that makes her a great actress?

No one's debating that Martin was a great star (though not as exciting a star as Merman) - but Cook was a better actress. Why don't you try reading Cook's reviews before you dismiss her next time? They were as rapturous as anything Martin got.

by Anonymousreply 9611/28/2010

So Cook was second only to Sinatra in singing a lyric, and a better stage actress than Merman, Martin and Andrews.%0D %0D If so, why didn't Cook have a more important career? %0D %0D Merman and Martin starred in over a dozen shows each --in Martin's case two of those shows were in London. %0D %0D Sinatra praised Tony Bennett, Judy Garland and Ella Fitzgerald, all of whom could sing a litle to a lot of jazz. Cook is in no way a jazz singer.

by Anonymousreply 9711/29/2010

[quote]Merman and Martin starred in over a dozen shows each --in Martin's case two of those shows were in London.

If you'd just stop and THINK a little bit, maybe you'd come up with the answers.

Merman and Martin each had careers that went for 50 years. Cook's career as an actress went for just over 20 years.

Merman and Martin started in the 1930s, when musicals commonly opened, played for a season or so, and then toured (usually without Merman in her case). There were always news show for them do do. They also had Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Gershwin, Weill ready to write them brilliant scores.

By the time Cook started, shows that were hits commonly ran for three - five years. Not as many opportunities. In spite of that, Cook is THE legendary Broadway soprano. One legendary hit - THE MUSIC MAN - one legendary cult flop - CANDIDE - one legendary show acclaimed as one of the best musicals ever written - SHE LOVES ME. Then add in FLAHOOLEY (Yip Harburg) and THE GAY LIFE (Schwartz and Dietz, and for which she got raves. She's the one who kept the show running for the six months it ran). PLAIN AND FANCY was a big hit, and she did long runs in both OKLAHOMA and CAROUSEL (as Carrie, not Julie), and the City Center production of THE KING AND I, and Lincoln Center's SHOW BOAT. She replaced the lead in ANY WEDNESDAY (non-musical), had one out-and-out flop (SOMETHING MORE), and signed off with another cult flop (THE GRASS HARP).

There is no other soprano who got the kind of acclaim she got [italic]for being a soprano [/italic] until Rebeca Luker, and Luker hasn't even had half of the career Cook had.

You aren't going to find ANY history of musical theatre that doesn't think Cook had an important career.

And she's still singing at 83, without developing the ugly wobble that Merman developed in middle age, or the pitch problem that Martin developed.

by Anonymousreply 9811/29/2010

You somehow left out the fact that Martin toured constantly with her own shows, and other people's ("Annie Get Your Gun" and "Hello, Dolly"), and played London with three musicals. She also did a TV special nearly every year in the 1950s.%0D %0D Could it be that Merman's and Martin's voices gave out because they worked constantly in musical theater for three-to-four decades?%0D %0D Martin and her husband came up with the ideas and some of the money to do "Peter Pan" and "The Sound of Music," and picked the people to write the books, lyrics and music.%0D %0D Merman and Martin were determined to suceed on Broadway through the daily grind of hard work year after year for decades. That description is at odds in every way with Cook's Broadway career. %0D %0D

by Anonymousreply 9911/29/2010

I didn't leave anything out - I wasn't going for a list of everything Martin did. But it's nice of you to include it when you can't even address the facts (that Cook's career was started in a completely different Broadway world from Martin's and Merman's) - and the facts of Cook's long and vast career. And that she was a completely different kind of singer.

And you sink into sheer stupidity with your comment implying that Merman and Martin succeeded through hard work year after year, implying that Cook didn't do the same.

For that matter - what of Merman's many long breaks from the theatre? Her retirement into marriage, child-raising, etc. Her "permanent leave" of ten years in the 1960s? Martin's retirement to her ranch, with only one or two forays back?

Cook worked steadily on Broadway for 20 years, then stock and tours for another ten, then Broadway, and then performed in concerts and nightclubs regularly for the last 35 years (which is essentially what Merman did for her last fourteen years, once she was done with "Dolly.")

Neither Martin nor Merman did "the daily grind of hard work year after year for decades." After 20, Merman took ever longer breaks. Martin, the same after 30 years. Cook, in actuality, is the one who's never stopped.

by Anonymousreply 10011/29/2010

She personifies the term "gunt," yes?

by Anonymousreply 10111/29/2010

Mary Martin was the first Broadway musical performer to receive the Kennedy Center Honors (1989). %0D %0D Until Barbara Cook receives the same honors, which she deserves, we can not have a serious discussion on the two ladies.%0D

by Anonymousreply 10211/30/2010

Seeing as how the Kennedy Center Honors have in recent years become as much a politically correct award as they are an achievement award, the likelihood of Cook getting one is slim to none - she's neither ethnic enough nor well-known to the general population. So your argument, R102, is highly specious.

by Anonymousreply 10311/30/2010

[quote]Sinatra praised Tony Bennett, Judy Garland and Ella Fitzgerald, all of whom could sing a litle to a lot of jazz. Cook is in no way a jazz singer.

So what? Neither was Sinatra or Judy Garland, nor for that matter is Tony Bennett, despite the fact that his music is frequently filed under "Jazz" these days. In their time their music was just called "vocal" or "vocal pop"; today it's referred to as "easy listening". Ella Fitzgerald, of course, is another story.

R97, if you removed your head from your ass, you might learn something.

by Anonymousreply 10411/30/2010

[quote] Until Barbara Cook receives the same Kennedy Center Honor, which she deserves, we can not have a serious discussion on the two ladies.

OK, now we can!

by Anonymousreply 10509/07/2011

You think they served her wine at the White House?

by Anonymousreply 10612/04/2011

The word "drab" was invented for Mary Martin. But she was a much better actress than Ethel Merman. Merman couldn't act AT ALL - not even in Gypay. She was not a generous person or perfeormer (unlike Martin - check out the Ford duet, where Mary keeps looking at Ethel and enjoying Ethel's solo bits - whereas Ethel can't be bothered to look at Mary. Merman was all about Merman.

by Anonymousreply 10712/04/2011

I just hope they put her up in a hotel that had heat! I so clearly remember my friend telling me that at the dinner party he attended she took an old wrench and started banging the pipes to get heat, surely something neither Stritchie, Merman, Martin nor Andrews EVER had to do.

As far as Wally Harper, Cook supposedly has a miniature glockenspiel collection which is on a large shelf in her living room, next to her piano. In the middle of them, there is just one picture of her and Wally at that piano. Apparently she doesn't talk about him and gets snippy if you ask.

by Anonymousreply 10812/04/2011

From Ethel Merman's obit:

Miss Merman's personal life was much rockier than her professional career. Her four marriages all ended in divorce. The first, to William B. Smith, was brief. She then married Robert D. Levitt, a Hearst executive by whom she had two children, Ethel and Robert. The daughter committed suicide in 1967. Her third marriage was to Robert Six, then president of Continental Air Lines. The fourth was to Ernest Borgnine, the actor. "Of all of it, I only miss Ethel but that girl couldn't sing worth a hill of beans," Merman said at the time.

by Anonymousreply 10912/04/2011

Merman HATED Martin, for many reasons.

The "Mutual Aggravation Society" duet from the original FORBIDDEN BROADWAY recording is not far from the truth, and of course Merman told everyone who asked her about Martin:

"She's a big dyke, y'know!"

by Anonymousreply 11012/04/2011

-bump for tonight!

by Anonymousreply 11112/27/2011

SEXY Barbara Cook pre- Music Man on Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Watch her dance at 1.20

by Anonymousreply 11212/27/2011

"Your voice is like nails on a chalkboard. I detest your 'singing', Stritch has character if not pitch."

Spoken like a true Justin Bieber fan, too bad, you don't know what you're missing. The woman is brilliant.

by Anonymousreply 11312/27/2011

In that Alfred Hitchcock video at 2.13 mark Barbara does a little Irene Dunne's 'Can't Help Lovin' dat Man' SHOW BOAT shuffle.

by Anonymousreply 11412/27/2011

Wish I had a house to sell R63, he sounds like an idiot.

by Anonymousreply 11512/27/2011

Barbara Cook lives in the Normandy, one of the best buildings on the West Side. Her apartment is worth 2-3 million even id it needs work. I am sure there is plenty of heat, as well round the clock doormen and security.

by Anonymousreply 11612/27/2011

I love her.

by Anonymousreply 11705/22/2013

"It's 12 O'clock and you are alone. Man you are really alone."

"If you can get to the point where you are ready to use every joy, every death, every lover who left you... if you're willing to explore that within the song, you cannot be wrong."

-Barbara Cook

by Anonymousreply 11805/22/2013

Is she dead?

by Anonymousreply 11905/22/2013

85 and still kicking!

by Anonymousreply 12005/22/2013

[quote]While she never "carried" a show, let's not forget that Julie Andrews didn't either until "Victor, Victoria". In "My Fair Lady" and "Camelot" she co-starred with Rex Harrison and Richard Burton, respectively.

It wasn't Rex Harrison's performance that brought the public to see "My Fair Lady." At the time, he had the big name, but he ended up supporting the real star, Julie Andrews. She sold the show. She sold the albums. She carried the show. Rex Harrison had star billing but couldn't begin to get the public acclaim given J.A. for that show.

With "Camelot" it was a different story. She did co-star with Burton in the mind of the public.

by Anonymousreply 12105/22/2013

April 2011

by Anonymousreply 12205/22/2013

One of the greatest voices of all time. She is amazing and wonderful.

by Anonymousreply 12305/22/2013

So after struggling with her worsening alcoholism for years, one day after a bender she suddenly just stopped cold turkey and then everything was rosy?


What the hell is wrong with admitting to needing help to conquer an addiction? If nothing else, a heavy drinker of many years needs medical intervention in order to get sober. Doing it on your own when you're dependent to the extent that a dozen or more years of heavy, daily drinking would entail is a recipe for disaster; seizures, coma, and death can result.

Why do so many seem to think, as Cook apparently does, that it's necessary to insist "One day I just stopped"? They're perpetuating a myth that's harmful to other incipient alcoholics out there who decide that despite trying and failing multiple times, they can still do it all on their own because it's just a matter of "will power." I really wish "former" alcoholics and addicts would be more honest about what it took and takes them to stay sober.

by Anonymousreply 12405/22/2013

Many have heard Cook on the LC concert of FOLLIES, but newbies to music theatre need to listen to (nay, study! and learn from! and love) Cook on the OCR of SHE LOVES ME.

It's one of the finest vocal performances in the history of American musical theatre.

CANDIDE and MUSIC MAN are also musts.

by Anonymousreply 12505/22/2013

[quote] I really wish "former" alcoholics and addicts would be more honest about what it took and takes them to stay sober.

"It's 12 O'clock and you are alone. Man you are really alone."

-Barbara Cook

[quote] It's one of the finest vocal performances in the history of American musical theatre.

"If you can get to the point where you are ready to use every joy, every death, every lover who left you... if you're willing to explore that within the song, you cannot be wrong."

-Barbara Cook

by Anonymousreply 12605/22/2013

Babs working it! Hawt!!!

by Anonymousreply 12705/22/2013

She begged me to pull her finger once. Then she farted like a rhino. She's a riot!

by Anonymousreply 12805/22/2013

I guess fat don't crack.

by Anonymousreply 12905/22/2013

She's a great big fat singer.

by Anonymousreply 13005/22/2013

"At the time, he had the big name, but he ended up supporting the real star, Julie Andrews. She sold the show. She sold the albums. She carried the show. Rex Harrison had star billing but couldn't begin to get the public acclaim given J.A. for that show."

WTF? I'm a huge Julie Andrews Queen, but this is totally not true - everyone loved both of them, they were both equally lauded. I don't know what you're basing these statements on, but they're inaccurate.

by Anonymousreply 13105/23/2013

Unbelievable.......Like we are all soooo perfect. Barbara Cook and Elaine Stricth are giants of the Broadway stage. I had the pleasure of seeing Barbara Cook in the early 70's and then again her one woman show and some of the these comments are so mean spirited. You know nothing of talent.

Next time, list your accomplishments.

Also, I respect an individual who is honest and forthright. She stated facts that did not have to be said. God love her.

Your attitudes and judgement on looks, etc. are very sad.

by Anonymousreply 13201/11/2014

Why do people in the business not realize that when one is in their 80's, there is no voice, your just reciting the lyrics and living off past memories. They often turn to drink because there agent has no more they trot out the "Final" appearances like Cher has been doing these past years..they obviously do not understand what Final means.

by Anonymousreply 13301/11/2014

R24, the piano slamming never happened.

by Anonymousreply 13401/11/2014

R60, James Mitchell played in FUNNY GIRL with Carol Lawrence; George Hamilton played in FUNNY GIRL with Barbara Cook.

by Anonymousreply 13501/11/2014

R90, I think the key of "Losing My Mind" was raised.

by Anonymousreply 13601/11/2014

Why did Cook have that big comeback and not Dolores Gray? I think choice of material may have had something to do with it. And Dolores' memory problems.

by Anonymousreply 13701/11/2014


by Anonymousreply 13801/12/2014

She was "ovah" a long time ago.

by Anonymousreply 13901/13/2014

She's 86. Amazing that she has been active all of these years.

by Anonymousreply 14001/13/2014

Cook attends AA meetings and has for years

by Anonymousreply 14101/13/2014

More about how Arthur Hill opened Barbara up to "sexual bliss " during their affair.

by Anonymousreply 14201/14/2014

"This is, after all, the actress who created Cunegonde in Candide, Marian the Librarian in The Music Man and numerous other roles that defined just what a singing heroine should be like."

Shame on them for not specifically mentioning Amalia in SHE LOVES ME. The only thing I can think is that the writer was drunk.

by Anonymousreply 14301/14/2014

Barbara Cook owes the success of her 1970s career resurgence to the late Wally Harper.

by Anonymousreply 14401/14/2014

R142, she does not attend AA meetings.

by Anonymousreply 14501/14/2014

She purchased an item from me several years ago on eBay.

by Anonymousreply 14601/15/2014

"At the time, he had the big name, but he ended up supporting the real star, Julie Andrews. She sold the show. She sold the albums. She carried the show. Rex Harrison had star billing but couldn't begin to get the public acclaim given J.A. for that show."

The irony is that when Julie Andrews did carry a show ("Victor/Victoria") she did a lot of complaining about all the hard work. After a while, it seems as if Julie believed she was doing everyone a huge favor by returning to Broadway.

by Anonymousreply 14701/15/2014

"Was" a drunk?...

by Anonymousreply 14801/15/2014

r148 - the person she was doing a favor for was her husband, Blake Edwards. She was not in condition to do a long grueling run, and her vocal health and technique, spotty under the best of circumstances, were difficult to maintain. Her health problems only added to her frustration that the show was not well received.

by Anonymousreply 14901/15/2014

I saw V/V. It was not well received because it was not very good -- something that Dame Julie could not say in public but surely knew privately.

by Anonymousreply 15001/15/2014

If Andrews did a favor for her husband, it was a good idea. Blake Edward's diection was wonderful. I did not notice it that much with Julie Andrews, but did when Liza Minnelli briefly took over -- see different things the second time.

by Anonymousreply 15101/19/2014

Why did Barbara Cook abruptly cancel her Town Hall concert recently? Is she ill?

by Anonymousreply 15201/19/2014

There was a hole in her sneakers, R153

by Anonymousreply 15301/19/2014

Sets up chairs, makes coffee, has been greeter at the Riverside group. Also the home group for her son.

by Anonymousreply 15402/03/2014


by Anonymousreply 15505/21/2014

[quote]Barbara Cook and Elaine Stricth are giants of the Broadway stage.

Barbara Cook is the "giant" at 290 pounds, Elaine, not so much.

by Anonymousreply 15605/21/2014

Barbara Cook Kennedy Center Honor at YouTube clip below

by Anonymousreply 15705/21/2014

Any singer, of any genre of vocal music, who is serious about their craft, would kill for Barbara Cook's technique, breath control, intonation and text interpretation. It just doesn't get any better. Yes, she is old and fat now, (I wonder how you all will look and sound at 86) but it doesn't detract from the enormous achievments she accomplished across her lifetime. Like it or not, she is an American icon.

by Anonymousreply 15805/21/2014

[quote] Any singer, of any genre of vocal music, who is serious about their craft, would kill for Barbara Cook's technique, breath control, intonation and text interpretation.

So could Barbara beat Beyonce in a singing competition?

by Anonymousreply 15905/21/2014

If she had a personality to go with the fantastic voice, she could have been an American icon. She's blah. She's always been blah. It's too late for her to escape blahdom. No icon there, despite a glorious voice.

by Anonymousreply 16005/21/2014

If she and Beyonce were the same age?? For sure!! I can't imagine Beyonce singing an E flat above High C. Patti LaBelle could. But that's falsetto. Barbara sang those notes with full voice. Do some research, people. Check out Cook when she was in her 30's and 40's. Hardly "blah". She could spin sounds or pump them out. Make you laugh one minute. And have you in tears, the next. .. You missed a good thing. Pity..

by Anonymousreply 16105/21/2014

What R162 said. Try having a conversation with her at dinner. Dull

by Anonymousreply 16205/21/2014

What subjects did you broach, R164?

by Anonymousreply 16305/21/2014

Working with sponsees from the program mostly.

by Anonymousreply 16405/21/2014

Oh, she just got fat this year?

by Anonymousreply 16505/21/2014


by Anonymousreply 16605/21/2014

Poor thing. All she had was the voice but it wasn't enough.

by Anonymousreply 16705/23/2014

Yes R169 even her affair with Arthur Hill blew up in her face.

by Anonymousreply 16805/24/2014

Arthur Hill did give her credit for her excellent blowjobs.

by Anonymousreply 16905/24/2014

She really is an idiot to be so snide about Porter and to rhapsodize about that piece of shit, Passion.

by Anonymousreply 17005/24/2014

r172, hasn't she talked in recent years about changing her mind about Porter? I believe she's talked about that in her patter before "I've Got You Under My Skin" (which she now sings).

by Anonymousreply 17105/25/2014

The Gay Life!

by Anonymousreply 17205/27/2014


by Anonymousreply 17305/28/2014

I loved her in Something More!

by Anonymousreply 17405/28/2014

Beyonce can beat her in a singing competition without breaking a sweat

by Anonymousreply 17505/28/2014

Great voice but it ended there.

by Anonymousreply 17605/29/2014

Miss Cook is amazing. I met her when she was trying out a new show in Chicago in 1988. It was a small theater (Royal George) and she did an amazing 2 hours plus. After the show, my friend (a huge Babs Cook fan) and I waited in the lobby for her to come out. My friend had about 10 albums (from "Gay Life" to "Flahooey") that he hoped she would sign. Well, we waited and this tiny woman with a babushka came out alone with no entourage, and there was Barbara Cook! It was winter in Chicago, so she was in a properly warm coat. Well, she couldn't have been more gracious, and signed every album, and was amazed as some of them had been out of print for years. After about 20 minutes, we hailed a cab for her and she headed back to her hotel. Amazing talent, and so very down to earth. No "people" with her. Just a lady doing her job. Love her!

by Anonymousreply 17705/29/2014

I was a whore.

by Anonymousreply 17805/29/2014

Did she drink more than me?

by Anonymousreply 17905/30/2014

Did she blow Richard Rodgers more than me?

by Anonymousreply 18005/30/2014

Shirley, no one blew Dick Rodgers more than you!

by Anonymousreply 18106/08/2014

Official bump!

by Anonymousreply 18207/18/2014


by Anonymousreply 18307/18/2014

Likes to have dinner at Orso's or Joe Allen next door.

by Anonymousreply 18407/18/2014

Has she commented on Elaine's death? They had a serious falling out a few years back. Would love to know the reason.

by Anonymousreply 18507/18/2014

They got into it at the Riverside UWS AA group. Cook wanted to have a group conscious about smokers in the rooms but Elaine said Fuck NO! People were too afraid and backed down.

by Anonymousreply 18607/18/2014

R185, the falling out had to do with Stritch's behavior at the Met Concert in which Cook had invited her to appear.

by Anonymousreply 18707/18/2014

The falling out had to do with the fact that Elaine went into Barbara's dressing room and farted right before Babs came offstage.

by Anonymousreply 18807/18/2014

Any details, r187?

by Anonymousreply 18907/19/2014

I couple years ago, I actually saw her perform at the McCarter Theater in Princeton, NJ. The cabaret was entertaining and I was astounded at how intact her voice is at her age.

I will say this, her big, black pants could have used a crease. Once she got going though, I wasn't fixated on her big drawers.

by Anonymousreply 19007/19/2014

I think, R190, that a crease might have added a degree of specificity for which she was unprepared.

by Anonymousreply 19107/19/2014


by Anonymousreply 19207/20/2014

Barbara now needs to use a cane.

by Anonymousreply 19302/16/2015

Caneface Barbara

by Anonymousreply 19402/16/2015


by Anonymousreply 19502/17/2015

Still here

by Anonymousreply 19604/05/2015

Now Barbara enjoys the german chocolate cake at the Greek diner down the street from her apartment.

by Anonymousreply 19704/26/2015

I read that Cook met her husband at a Borscht Belt resort. Does anybody know which one??

by Anonymousreply 19808/09/2017

I don't like the way she sings. It is so affected. It is like listening to a Hollywood star from the 30s speak in a mid-atlantic accent.

by Anonymousreply 19908/09/2017

What r199 said. I saw her at Reno Sweeney in 1976 or so, and was underwhelmed. The queens I was with just adored her, and had shrieked her praises for months. I had the Peggy Lee reaction.

by Anonymousreply 20008/09/2017
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