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Barbara Walters will forever be remembered as a trailblazer for generations of women and journalists, but in her 2008 book, Audition: A Memoir, the then-79-year-old wrote that she just wanted to be remembered as a good daughter and loving sister.
“Much of the need I had to prove myself, to achieve, to provide, to protect, can be traced to my feelings about Jackie,” Walters wrote, about her mentally-disabled sister who died of ovarian cancer in 1988. Until Jackie passed, Walters lamented that she “worried about her, supported her, made decisions for her that my parents couldn’t make, and agonized over the fact that although I couldn’t always love her, she always loved me.”
It’s why Walters said she almost titled her book “Sister,” after the person who had the most profound impact on her life. But Walters eventually settled on the word, “Audition,” because — as she put it — “It feels to me that my life has been one long audition—an attempt to make a difference and to be accepted.”
Though it’s been almost 15 years since Audition was released, the book is seeing a resurgence in popularity following the legendary broadcaster’s death last week. As of this writing, physical copies of Audition are sold out online on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble. Walmart still has a few copies of Audition left, starting at $16.95.
With the print edition of Audition selling out, the audiobook version of Walters’ memoir has shot to number one on Amazon’s best-selling biographies list.
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The audiobook version of Audition is just over 26 hours long and narrated by actress and playwright, Bernadette Dunne.
Released in May 2008, Audition became an instant best-seller, with readers pouring over Walters’ stories about everything from interviewing heads of state like Jimmy Carter and Fidel Castro, to her secret affair with former Republican Senator Edward Brooke.
The book also chronicled Walters’ at-times tumultuous childhood, moving from Boston to Miami to New York, while growing up with a Broadway producer father, who was also the owner behind the legendary Latin Quarter nightclub. Audition included never-before-heard stories too, from Walters’ time with people like Bill and Hillary Clinton, the Dalai Lama, Princess Diana, Henry Kissinger and Angelina Jolie
Of course, Walters’ autobiography wouldn’t be complete without talking about The View, and the journalist wasn’t shy about promoting the book during her time on the talk show.
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Though Walters departed The View in 2014, she spoke to Variety editor Ramin Setoodeh about the show for his 2019 book, Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of The View. That chat with Setoodeh would turn out to be one of the last interviews Walters ever gave.
Ladies Who Punch is available on Amazon on hardcover, Kindle and as an audiobook.
As for Audition, signed copies of Walters’ memoir are now going for as much as $160 on eBay, with bids sure to increase following her passing.
As the book publisher for Audition wrote, “Barbara Walters has spent a lifetime auditioning: for her bosses at the TV networks, for millions of viewers, for the most famous people in the world, and even for her own daughter, with whom she has had a difficult but ultimately quite wonderful and moving relationship. This book, in some ways, is her final audition, as she fully opens up both her private and public lives. In doing so, she has given us a story that is heartbreaking and honest, surprising and fun, sometimes startling, and always fascinating.”