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How Barbara Walters Got a Reputation for Making People Cry

Act 8: Walters often asked interviewees about their childhood or their parents.
6:09 | 05/16/14

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Transcript for How Barbara Walters Got a Reputation for Making People Cry
Geddie: What sort of a singing voice do you have? ? Kind of make today begin ? I'm not bad. I love to sing with people. ? What did he say? ? ? He said, "If I" ? ? he said, "If I" ? ? be lifted up ? ? be lifted up ? ? and even be glad just to be sad ? ? singin' with you ? oh! I'm terrible. I would love to have been the kind of singer who works in a smoke-filled room doing the ballads and love songs. That would've been just my type. I've grown accustomed to the trace ? of something in the air ? ? accustomed to his face ? How did you get the reputation for making people cry? I would ask question about their childhood, uh, relationship with their parents. I very often ask people about their fathers and get a more emotional answer than I do if I ask about mothers. Your father died in 1982. This was terribly difficult for you. It wasn't just something that you could accept. I loved that man. That -- you caught me off guard. I'm sorry. That's all right. Uh, uh... My passion... ...That I was going to make that man proud of me till I die. Everything he wanted for me, everything he dreamed about. Now, he never got to know -- you made him proud. Oh, Jesus. That was his problem. He thought crying was weak. Texas mentality. There was also Goldie Hawn, who told me about the advice her father gave her. My dad used to say, "You start feeling too big for your britches, Goldie, "Just go standut there and look at that ocean and you won't feel so big." Walters: I remember Jim carry, who had a very rough time at the beginning of his career. Tell us the story about the check. I guess it's like six, seven years ago now. I wrote a check out to myself for $10 million for acting services rendered, and I put it in my wallet. And what happened was basically a few months ago, we did the deal for "The mask" for $10 million. At the height of everything, your father died. Mm-hmm. Did he know -- did your father know that you'd made this kind of success? Yeah. Yeah. What did it mean to him? I don't -- I don't think he knew the magnitude of it. He realized, you know, that I had reached my goal. In fact, I put -- I put the check in with him in the casket. Oh, Jim. Yeah. Here we go. I said I wasn't gonna make you cry. Yeah, damn you! I promised I wouldn't make you cry. Yeah. General Norman Schwarzkopf, that tough general, was almost in tears when he talked about his own father. There are certain questions I ask you, like about your father, and the tears come to your eyes. I didn't know it showed. The old picture of generals -- generals don't cry, generals don't get tears in their eyes. Sure, they do. They just didn't admit it? Oh, I think they admitted it. And, frankly, any man that doesn't cry scares me a little bit. Geddie: What are some of the things that make people cry? You know, surprisingly, with some celebrities, it's not the worst time, but the best time, like when they realize that they're a star. The big breakthrough for you was "The Johnny Carson show." Yes, I had been kicking around in the business for six years before that and told, three weeks before, my agent, "You're too old. You're not funny." I had been brought to the Carson show seven times. I had auditioned for them seven times. And got turned down. Seven times turned down. I went on the Carson show, and that night -- I get very emotional -- he changed my whole life. He turned around and said, "You're all wrong. She is funny." See, I'm crying now. I couldn't believe it. He said, "You're gonna be a star," and I looked next to me -- who was he talking to? And my agent said, "From now on," he said, "I guarantee you'll make at least $150 a week for the rest of your life." Wow. Wow. I remember Roseanne talking about a very low point in her life but that how her sister had always been there for her. People say that I make people cry. I'm not going to cry. I'm asking you about your sister. I'm tearing up, but I'm not gonna cry. 'Cause you love her that much. That's nice. Yeah, I do love my sister very much. And she made -- she helped me -- god, I hate myself for doing this, but she really helped me out in my life. Why do you hate yourself for doing this? That's okay. You can laugh, and you can do this, too. Maybe if I pick my nose, you'll pull the cameras off me. Yeah, that's right. It became a joke that I made people cry. Every time I did an interview, somebody would say, "You're not going to make me cry?" Do you know who your parents were? Did you go into comedy 'cause you couldn't make it as an actor? Yes. You cry on this program, and I won't run any of it! You promised me you wouldn't cry. I couldn't make it as an actor. I remember doing "Hamlet" going, "To be --" line? I just feel like... Geddie: Is anyone ever really happy when they make it through an interview without crying? Yes. Halle berry. Thank you, Halle. Thank you. And no tears! Ah, you almost did. You almost did at the

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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