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tv   Charlie Rose  PBS  October 24, 2017 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT

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>> rose: welcome to the program, tonight we begin with a remembrance of conde naste chairman si newhouse, his company owned vogue, "the new yorker" and "vanity fair." >> that kind of editorial independence which thankfully still exists now, thanks to the newhouse family, above all, and the ethos of the place, that existed very, very rarely anywhere. >> rose: we conclude this evening with sally quinn, her book is called finding magic, a spiritual memoir. >> it was the most painful thing i ever did in my life. i mean i just literally cried the whole time i was writing it. but it was cath artic. i mean i needed to do it and i needed to get it out. >> rose: the life of si newhouse and a conversation with sally quinn when we continue. >> funding for charlie rose is provided by the following: bank of america, life better
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connected. >> and by bloomberg, a provider of multimedia news and information services worldwide. captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> si newhouse was the legendary chairman of the media company conde naste. he died on october 1s at age 89. for a decades newhouse published some of the most recognizable and celebrated magazines anywhere. among them the new yorker, vogue, gq and vanity fair. three people who worked with him join me now for a conversation about his legacy. they are david remnick, the
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editor of "the new yorker" since 1998 tina brown was editor of "vanity fair" from 1994 to 1992, edited "the new yorker" from -9d 2y to 98. robert gottlieb was editor of "the new yorker" from 1987 to 1992. also there for this conversation, donald newhouse, si newhouse's brother and business partner. they had a conversation after si's death about his legacy and here is that conversation. >> this program is about an appreciation of someone that i had the pleasure of knowing. we lived in the same community, in the summer. and to know him was also to know how much he loved his magazines. and how much he loved his editors. so i have asked him to come here, as well as his brother to talk about what made him such a unique kind of leader. but i want to begin with the family. tell me about your dad, tell me about coming hear as an immigrant and what he did and how it lead to this remarkable
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media empire. >> his mother and father were immigrants. they settled in orchard street, 23 orchard street. he was born in 1895 in-- in the orchard street tenement. i visited it, it now sells chinese restaurant equipment. but i have also advice-- visited the tenment museum and it is really an interesting experience. his family moved to bayon, at an early age. my father was the oldest of eight children. his father was some what weak physically and was often not at home. my father was really the father
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of his seven siblings. his mother was a very strong woman. my father went to law school at a time when you did not have to have a college degree to go to law school. could you go right from high school, to law school. he got his degree ang he went with a law firm and the first assignment he was given was to close a newspaper in bankruptcy in new jersey. he went, he saw, he told his employer that he could make more money running the newspaper than he could make closing the newspaper. his employer said you have one month. and he never looked back. >> rose: what was that newspaper. >> the bayone times. >> rose: and followed later by. >> later on, he was successful
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in the bayone times. a paper became available in staten island. he told his employer who was the head of the law firm that he should buy that paper. and my father wanted to buy an interest in it. he could not, he wouldn't buy the paper so my father took money that he was going to spend on his honeymoon and bought the paper. so instead of going on a nice trip to europe, he went to niagara falls. but my mother put up with it. >> rose: is there a story of the family that he had a chance to buy later the new york yankees, but turned it down in order to by a newspaper in syracuse. >> the actual fact is that he had a choice of three things. he could have-- this was in the time when hearst was in very bad financial condition. he could have bought the lancet journal, the syracuse herald
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journal or the yankees and he bought the syracuse herald journal. >> he could have been manage are of the yankees. >> rose: not the editor of "the new yorker." >> to hell with that. >> i tell you, after tonight-- . >> rose: if the yankees win tonight, wish he had bought the yankees. >> bad choice. >> rose: but then you and si both worked in the family business. >> yes. >> rose: and then magazines came into the picture. >> magazines came in in 1957. before that we had been a newspaper company. up until 1948 when my father bought a television station in syracuse and began buying television stations. in 57y we had an opportunity to buy a stake in the public company which was conde naste which he did buy.
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and it remained a public company for awhile. and then he bought out the stockholders and made it-- took it private. >> rose: it is said that si loved magazines. that you were the newspaper guy and he was the magazine guy. >> si was working at the star ledger in newark and i was working in jersey city at the time. and when my dad bought conde naste and si begged to go to work for conde naste, my father allowed him to. and he went to work i think for glamor as a sales person. but he had an instinct for magazines. and i was promoted from jersey city to newark. >> rose: but in his lifetime-- so he saw actually the rise of magazines and also he saw the coming of the internet age too, and the impact
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of the digital revolution on magazines. >> he did. fortunately much later than-- he went to work in 57 or 58y in the magazine world and stayed in it and i continued working in the newspaper world. and eventually in cable and-- cable programming and television. >> rose: and discovery communications. >> discovery became a part of our group, thanks to a very-- one of my cousins who was in the cable business and had the foresight to join john henrikson. >> rose: head of discovery. >> at discovery. >> rose: let me open this up. you have all worked with si newhouse. what is the legacy? what was it that made him special with respect to magazines? bob? >> well, his passion for them, as donald was saying. he just loved magazines. and for him they were, they were
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living, organic things. he, they were always in flux which he loved. flux, change, change, change. make it better, do this, do that. he said to me on a number of occasions and i'm sure toth bo of you, if i had my choice of what to do with my life, i would have wanted to be either a film director or a magazine editor. >> rose: wow. >> you would have thought he would have had the opportunity to be a magazine-- but he had us. so he didn't need him. >> rose: and it is also a sign of his life that he was a quiet and shy man. but he celebrated his editors. i mean he chose people that he thought would have a dominant impact on magazines. >> in that sense he was rather like-- . >> rose: he lived almost through. >> he was like a hollywood mogul in that sense. he had his stable of editors. and they were his stars. and he loved seeing them thrive. he loved seeing them in the limelight which he didn't want to be. and he loved reinforcing that.
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it gave him pleasure. it gave him a sense of thrilling accomplishment when one of his editor was being celebrated or the magazine had suddenly taken a huge surge. and he was also very supportive when it wasn't going so well, which is really more important. he was there, he was confident. when i took over "the new yorker," it was a very hard battle as it was at the beginning of "vanity fair," but i never felt for one second he didn't have my back. ands was the only person i had to please as far as i was concerned. as long as si felt i was going in the right direction, i felt confident he would stay with it, which he did, of course, both times. >> and remarkably as we all know, there was never an impulse toward editorial intervention. if he loved something, he would call up excited and say what a great piece or whatever it is. but he never bad mouthed any of us. never said why don't you do this or do that. that was not his idea. >> i sold my first piece to the new yorker to box, and then i came to work for tina brown for good after being at the "washington post" for years.
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and occasionally i would shake hands with this guy, very quiet, at something of tinas usually. but i disn know him as a writer. and tina would occasionally tell us about him. and you got the feeling that 90% of it was true. that the 10% where tina would say and he likes the best stuff, you think that can't possibly be true. no one always likes the best stuff. and then this job fell on my head, in a way. and i started having lunch every couple of weeks if not more often. and in so far as he would ever comment on anything in the magazine, because i really think that by commenting at all, even after publication he thought he was kind of overstepping. that show it wasn't his prerogative. but when he would say i really liked something or something in something, it was always the right thing. it wasn't-- . >> undiscovered jewel, every editor knows the thing that they have quitely-- that great paragraph, that wonderful
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headline. >> not the noisy thing. we pick that out. and he really did read the magazines cover to cover, and all of them. he also read, you know, glamor and self and gq. >> rose: tell me about the lunches because grateen has written about the lunches, that he would prep for the lunches. and when we get there, si wanted to talk about art and film and gossip, not about the business success of the magazine. >> the most dramatic lunch i thought i was about to have, was i could come in-- "the new yorker" had a rough time economicically for a period. and we finally tipped back too the black thanks to a lot of effort from tina, bob. it is a group thing, it happened. and excitedly, here we are. that's good, that's good. about a minute of discussion about that. that was it. and then it was off to the races to discuss about the things that he cared about most. not that-- i'm not naive, the man was a businessman too, a very careful businessman who counted ads and you know, really
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was very mindful of what was going on in these businesses to the last detail. but with his editors, he wanted to encourage above all a sense of the magic. i mean i often thought of him as the "wizard of oz" in some way. >> and he was sort of very, he had a lot of wisdom. i didn't often asked, i very rarely asked si what i should publish. but there was one piece that i was very, very sort of worrying me and worrying me. i had lillian ross who you know was under, lillian ross, the great writer of-- who was on the william shore new yorker for many years and was also, you know, his mistress for years and years and years. but sean was married so it was kind of the best kept secret in town that she was with sean. and lily and i had become close and she had asked me, you know, for my input to write this piece finally about the big love affair with sean. but it was an uncomfortable thing when the piece came in, that should i publish it in "the
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new yorker" or not. and i went back and forth. on one level it was an amazing literary scoop to have the piece and another it was distasteful to have it in sean's magazine that he would have hated it being there. finally i had lunch with si, i said si, this has really been troubling, my piece. i vus don't know. what do you think. and he paused and he said sometimes decisions that are very hard to take just shouldn't be taken. and you know what, i think about it often. i mean sometimes you worry and you worry and you think you know what, there is a liberation from this. he did that for me. >> a little bit of zen master. >> rose: you tell the story about there was a time in which you were doing something controversial. >> right off the bat, right off the bat. i had an investigative piece about six weeks in that had-- i didn't know what to do. yes, understand charlie, i had never been the editor of anything, of anything except for a high school newspaper. >> rose: or won anything. >> anything, a high school newspaper called the smoke
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signal of the high school region. and i had this piece that was accusing everybody of everything. and it was well-documented, well sourced, lawyered, checkers, all those things that are what "the new yorker" has available to us, thank god. and i remember it at the "washington post," my previous experience, that ben bradley, herrorric ben bradley had a rule with cath ryne graham, the propry ter of "the washington post" called the no surprises role am would you call the propry ter and say we're going to publish the pentagon papers. i hope that's okay. or you know there is a watergate scandal going, just so you know. >> rose: right. >> and i called si and i said you know, we have this piece. and on the phone he was even more reticent. and it was a long silence at the end of the phone. really long, like unnervingly long. and he said, finally, um, that
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sounds very interesting. i look forward to reading it. >> rose: that's it. >> that was it, that was the last time i ever called him. not that we didn't have all kinds of conversations. but i never even sent him the pieces ahead of time, would never dream of doing it. it was for his entertainment on the weekend because you know give him something to read over the weekend it was already being printed. and so that kind of editorial independence which thankfully still exists now, thanks to the newhouse family above allk and thetteos of the place, that existed very, very rarely anywhere in the country or anywhere else in the world. >> and it also made possible a personal relationship that you could not have had if it worked ot other way. >> right. >> my entire live with si which was extensive had nothing to do with the magazine. it was about movies. do you remember, do you remember when he used to show movies in
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his brownstone before they moved. eight or ten or 12-- he would be upstairs threading, putting the film. >> rose: in the projector. >> or about film, books. he was an insane reader. when he bought random house which is how i came in, because i was the head of-- which was part of random house, his daughter pamela said to me once, you know, i really think he bought random house to justify to himself all the reading that he does anyway and felted giltdee about. >> rose: let me ask you first, bob, coming to "the new yorker," william sean, you can't get more legendary than he wasment how did that transition happen? you coming and then you leaving. >> well, my coming, it was some kind of weird thing that took place. i'll start with the first time i met si which must have been the
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day or the week that he bought random house. and i got a call from bob bernstein who was then president of random house saying the new owner is in the building. and i would love you to come down to meet him. and the big conference room which was bigger than yankee stadium. so i said sure. now at that moment i was dressed, i'm very dressed up for this so you should be honest. i think i was in cabbingis and sneakers and a t-shirt and a ratty old sweater. so i went down, exementing, i knew nothing about si. i thought this isoing to be interesting. because that's what i am, if you didn't like it, i am nothing i can do about it. i so come in there is bob bernstein and si, they are alone. and si is sitting there in sneakers, in khakis and even with an even more ratty cardi gan on than i was. i thought this is going to be all right. so then we started to see each other every once in once in a w.
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he liked my views aboutk boos, about movies, et cetera. so we just would get together. then he started to want to talk to me about the business which made me very uncomfortable because bon bernstein was my boss and had been a very good friend to me. and those two, they were not made to be together. they were both terrific. but bob, the schmoozer and this and that and si as we know, when it's business he's all business. he didn't want to hear the rest of that. so he would be expressing his discomfort with bob to me. and i really didn't know what to do. he made it clear that he would want me to take that joob and i made it clear that that was insanity. cuz he didn't want me to be deciding how much new warehouse square footage we needed in maryland. that was not going to be my strong point. so this went on. then he started after he bought "the new yorker" he started asking me about it, because i was a lifelong reader, like everybody. and he started asking me about various people like bill
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mckibon. he wanted to know about jonathan shell, i didn't know, i knew about three people at the new yorker. one of my closest friends janet mall kz kim and a couple other people. i had no inside knowledge of the new yorker. and i could feel that he was moving toward me, as the potential successor to sean. though he finally braved it. and said would i be interested? s and of course i was interested because i have been interested in it all my life in the new yorker but also because i was getting really tired at my job. but i said there is no point in discussing this because as long as mr. sean is there, he can't be replaced. and from everything i know, he's not going to stay kiao baby and walk out the door. so this went on for awhile. and it made me agitatedded and i finally said to him, we've got to stop this discussion. i don't want to hear about it
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again or think about it again until and if it becomes available. by then you may not want someone my age. forget it he said great. so it was fabulous. wonderful. so i don't know, six months, eight, ten months later he called me in my office at lunchtime, since he knew i would be there cuz i don't go out. and he said can i come over and see you. and i said sure. and he rushed in, the most excited i ever saw him and said sean plrks sean has resigned. i said he has. he said yes, yes. and he started to tell me the question sense of events was. and knowing what i few about sean, i wane very convinced that he thought he had resigned 689 and eventually i did speak to mr. sean about it and his version of what happened was the same as si's except they didn't hear the same thingment because sean said to him, well,
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mr. newhouse, you know, he is shy, and passive aggressive, and he said would you mob comfortable if i refired sooner rather than later? and si said he was so-- he said yes, definitely. and sean said well good, fine, that's fine, good. si took that to mean i'm leaving. sean took it to mean i'll go on with these postponements from here to eternity. but by then it was too late. >> have i to say that talking to the wife, not really si's strong suit 6789 it was dwight often shall we say a mixed message. >> what about you. >> we had the happiest-- . >> rose: when he decided that, how did he decide to make a change. >> it took a long timement for the first couple of years he was happy, every time i would do something remotely dramatic which is not my style, in the magazine, he would be trilled, et cetera. i could see he was less and
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less, and then he started to talk to me about changes, not specific changes but what was my view, because i'm not a magazine perchl i just don't understand magazines the way he does. my feedback, my idea of "the new yorker" was what is it for me, which was an anthology of good work, so i knew how to put an anthology together every week. but hi no large view or vision about how the magazine should go. and that was making him more and more uncomfortable. then we spent about an hour walking on the teach in florida. cuz i was in miami beach. he was where he was. and he was very clear about what he wasn't happy about. and made it clear that he was starting to think about change and i said fine. because he had promised me that cuz i said if i'm tacking the job, these are the conditions. that you don't surprise me. i don't want surprises. and he said i do promise.
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and i said also you have to promise me that what you want from me is what i can do. which is make it better of what it is. i cannot make it into something other than what if is. >> you hadn't been successful at "vanity fair," how did he decide that what he wanted was you at new yorker because "vanity fair" is a very different public-- publication. >> rather than like with bob, it was very organic and went on a long time. we would talk about the new worker the last three or four years that i was at "vanity fair." i was very ambivalent to leave because hi young children, and i didn't think a weekly would be right for the family at that time. we went back and forth, we talked about it. he radio raise it, i would dance, he would dangs, we are go away, time would go by, things would go dorm ant. i was meanwhile editing "vanity fair" t was most successful in the last peferred the '80s am but then by 92y i had been at "vanity fair" for eight and a
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half years. it had taken from 250,000 to 1.1 million and it was a great success but i'm not great at being a steward. i'm someone who likes to be, you know, always recreating, if you like. and so i was getting a little bit restless, i suppose. not tererminally. so he came in one day and looked at me and said "the new yorker," which is the way he would do ing this. and i would say yes, si, and he would say did you read it. >> that's right. and i said yes, of course i read it and he said you know, what would you do with it? >> and then it was very interesting. as always with si, it went very fast from what would you do with it to when are you starting. cuz he was like that once he decided, he dead sided. >> bang bang. >> my decision at the new yorker was a very different sort of modernization of the magazine. which is what he felt it needed at that point typically because the demographics had changed and really needed a new swell of readership. >> rose: did he think it
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needed some of the glamor of "vanity fair." >> no, that wasn't the vision, actually. and nosh was it for me. i mean we-- the main thing that i felt it needed was a redesign which we were able to modernize without sort of spoiling in anyway the pristine beauty of the magazine and at the same time giving it headlines, giving it blushings giving it cover lines, introducing photography which it really hadn't very much of, i decided the foachy needed to be there now. i brought in the staff photographer. i added a lot more illustrators, different kinds of covers, art speegleman to make the covers more relevant it was really a whole visual approach. and also i felt that there were so many brilliant writers there but there were also some who had been there too long. so i did a kind of a change of blood and i brought in david-- shall david, mar come. >> i want to show some pictures
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here. this is si here, this is your wife. this is si's wife victoria. >> that's me. >>s that he you. >> those are cousins. >> your wife susie and si died of the same illness. >> yes. they did. they died of-- my wife was diagnosed in 2003 with a dementia caused by degeneration of the front temperral lobe, this part of the brain. it caused her first to start having speech defects. we thought susie was maybe having strokes. went to ger an toll guest, he
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was an expert in the field, fortunately. and he diagnosed primary aggressive aphasia which is a dementia which means a progressive dementia which means it can only get worse. all dementias can only get worse. and it affects yourbility to speak and to understand speech. she went down hill slowly. i became prer principal caregiver. and in the 7th year she was diagnosed in 2 thousand, in 2010 14e had an psychotic be incident and she had to be medicated. and she lost all ability to speak or understand speech. and her-- she had personality changes which happens in frontal temperral degeneration and she
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eventually had movement problems and was wheelchair bound. and she needed care givers 24-- two caregivers, tully, 24/7. >> and the great irony, someone she is not related to by blood. >> well, during this whole period si was very supportive of me and the family way. and when she lost, when susie lost her, the ability to care for herself and had to have care givers, i felt that the only way i could make sense of what she was going through, what i was going through, was to see what i could do to help prevent other people from suffering from this kind of disease. so i became acquainted with an organization called the association for frontal
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temperral degeneration which works with families and people who have this dementia. it finances research and it increases awareness because there is very little awareness in the again population as to dementia. we started to finance with si's approval, we started to finance research in this disease. the year before susesie died si was diagnosed with primary aggressive. >> he knew what was coming. >> he knew what was coming. we all knew what was coming. and there is no cure there is no
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prevention there is no disease modifying treatment for any dementia. as the uponlation, as signs increases, longevity, the incidents of dementia become greater 14 percent of the population, 65 years and old letter have a dementia. a third of the population, 75 years and older will have a dementia and r50% of the population 85 and over will have a dementia. and dementia is very costly. >> goods for you for what you are doing, i think everybody who see this broadcast around 9 table has a great sense of your commitment to bring more attention to this. >> i will say one last thing, the way that donald took care of
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victoria newhouse, took care of si, and they shared a marriage that i told her the other day, i said if my wife loves me half as much as you do him, i'm a really lucky man. and it was demonday strabl to donald and sue. >> rose: i can attest to that, we live in a little village that we inhabit in the summer, just completed a house, as you know. but it was a wonderful sight. they had a little boston way. and they at the local, at the marina, every day on the weekends would get in the boston whaler. she would the boat and they would go across the bay to the beach and sit there on the beach and read, and watch the atlantic ocean come in, and then come back. >> si in a boat. >> that is an image i can't quite. >> he loved it. and for them, you know, this is not, this is not the hamptons,
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this was a very wonderful, intimate, small-- which he just loved. back to one of the central qualities was the fact that he understood what made editors great and he backed them up and supported them. carter wanted to be here this evening and so did anna winters, tho those are two more of those who sat at this table, and i thank you for coming, all of you, to be here. made this ry, very special. >> thank you. >> thank you for inviting me. >> and for those of us who knew si, our great sympathy. >> thank you. >> rose: sally quinn is here, she say long time journalist and columnist for "the washington post." for more than 30 years she was married to the great ben bradley, post fame extit-- executive d-- exedive seder frl 2015. her new book is the quest for finding deeper mean in her life,
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called finding magic, a spiritual memoir. i'm pleased to have my good friend sally quinn back at this table. welcome. >> glad to be here. >> you say that you wept throughout writing of this because it brought back memories of good times and 3w5d. >> well, you know, i had signed a contract to write a book about my starting religion web seet for the washington most as anate yis. >> right. >> and then i just couldn't write it because ben had dementia and he was failing and so i took the last two years of his life and just took care of him. and so it was then after about two or three weeks after he died where i thought i've got to write. this i have to write it because it was so fresh in my mind and so painful. so i sat down and wrote about his decline and his death first. and it was the most painful thing i ever did in my life. i mean i just literally cried the whole time i was writing it. but it was cath artic, i needed to do it and i needed to get it
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out. at first that was going to be the beginning of the book. and i thought i don't want to show ben that way. you gnaw ben, he was the most incredibly char ises mat-- charismatic, dynamic, energetic, swash buckling. and i wanted to introduce him that way in the book. so i started out by talking about how i first met him and how i was dazzled. >> and how you wrote these secret love notes. >> which by the way i wasn't going put in the book but he put them in his book and i scratched them out in the gallees and he put them back in without telling me. >> tell me about meeting ben first. >> well, i met him first because i had been offered a job by the head of the editorial 3w0rd. he took me in to meet ben and i kind of went, you know, i was completely knocked out. >> yes. >> and he was the editor of the paper and he was 20 years older than i was. but we had this little sort of sparring thing. and then the editor fired me the feks day because he said i was
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overqualified. i couldn't type and i couldn't file and he wanted me to be a secretary. so then about a year or so later i got a call from ben. and he said i'm thinking of hiring you to be a party reporter. and i had been the social secretary for the algerian ambassador in washington. and so i went in and i actually had been offered a job, i was a theatre maijer in college, hi been offered a job as an acting job that same dayment but i thought well i'll just go in. there is no way he will ever hire me. i went in with my little white gloves because we wore white gloves in those days. and we just had this immediate connection. i mean it was just, we got into this sort of sparring bantering thing. and i thought i was really cheeky, you know. i was, you know, i was really pushing it. but he seemed to like it and enjoy it. and at the end of the session, he said can you show me something you've written. and i said well, i've never written anything.
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and he said well, nobody's perfect, you're hired. and i went out and covered my first story the next night. and then four years later we were going down to miami to cover the republican convention. >> rose: four years later. >> four years later. but i had the sneaker for him all this time. and but in any case, we were seated next to each other by the "the washington post" travel people on the plane down. it was a very bumpy flight. and i sort of kept grabbing. and but i have to say, it was two hours to miami. well, i, you know, have i to admit that-- but i fell in love with him in those two hours. and it was later, much later when we got together that he admitted that he had fallen in love with me too. >> rose: at first meeting. >> on the plane. >> rose: on the plane. >> hi been dazzled by him and he had been attracted to me but it was on the plane that we both
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just fell in love with each other. but he couldn't, you know, we couldn't get together. he asked me for din thary night and called and said he couldn't because he had to take a bunch of reporters out. and then he asked me for a drink the next night when we were coming out of the convention. >> rose: was he married then? >> yes, he was, yes. and anyway, he, you know, asked me for a drink. 57bd i said yes and then we got to the flamingo bar at the fountain bleu hot will and all of our friends were there and we both left. that is when i started writing him these little mash notes am but of course he never got it because you know men are just so sick. he had no idea who was-- but i talked-- . >> rose: he never figured it out it was you. >> no, no. and i would only write them, you know, in reference to sort of little, some exchanges we had in the newsroom. but it was right in the middle of watergate 679 it was a time when, if you have seen all the president's men, you know the seen are bob and woodward and bernstein see ben in his house
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and comes out in his bathroom because is he afraid his house is bugged and the phone is bugged and they're being followed. so there was just no way. but i told one of nie friends at the paper that i was in love with ben. and i just thought i had to hell him. and he said you can't do that because if he responds to you, you know, you could destroy the paper and you could destroy the country because you know he would be black mailed. and it would be a disaster. and he said you've got to put your country first. and i know it sounds corny, charlie, but i was an army brat. you know, buttsy, honor, country. and i thought oh my god, have i to put my country first. so i just laid off and then i got a job on the cbs morning news, the same job you now have, yes. and i was the first net work anchor woman in america. and i took the job. and just i because i had to get away from ben. and i knew he was married, you know. i came back and said would you take me to lunch. i had rehearsed my little speech
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and we got in front of the mound of chicken salad which we couldn't eat and i said i'm leaving because i'm in love with you. and i can't stand to be around you any more. and i thought he was going to say there, there, dear girl, go up to new york and be with your boyfriend. and he said i'm in love with you too. and so we then w. >> rose: had a remarkable life. >> we were together from then on. we didn't come out of the closet until i had started cbs, in august. and that was a catastrophe, an then you know t was later in september that we wering to 43 years. >> rose: what was it you loved so much about ben bradley? >> well, there were a lot of things about 4eu78, charliement one of them was that i think he was the most authentic person i've ever met. he was so dynamic. he had so much energy. he was so enthusiastic. he was so optimistic. he was, he was swash buckling,
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something somebody once said give me one name for ben, swash buckling. but he also, he always looked for the positive. i, this is unbelievable but in the 43 years we're together i never saw him depressed once. never. and i would get upset. we had a child who had open heart surgery and nearly died, for 16 years, was in and out of the hospital. he was sad and worried but he didn't get depressed. there were times, week would i would lie flat on the bed i was just so wiped out. and ben just-- . >> rose: he loved everything about you. i knew him well and knew you two well. and would be at your house. he just loved you. he was bemused by you. you made him laugh. >> i made him laugh and he was always, he was always very finnee about me because sometimes you know, can i be a little-- . >> rose: oh sal. >> i can abe little over the top and say things that are outrage us. no, she would say jesus, sally. and but he really loved it. and i was at a dinner party
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recently and i said something completely outrageous. and david ignatius who is one of my closest friends said jesus, sally. and i said oh, ben is back. thank goodness are you taking ben's part. >> rose: take me to the last year and a half of his life when you had to take care of him and he became a different person. >> well, i basically gave up my career. i didn't do anything. i took care of him. he was forgetful and you know, i had to get him dressed every day. and i had to teach him how to brush his teethed. i had to give him a shower. i had to get in shot we are with him because he didn't know how to take care of himself. he joined a group called the friends club which was a bunch of guys who had dementia. i told him it was just a bunch of old navy guys and reporters and foreign service people. but i took him the firs day and he held my hand like this all the way through. just wouldn't let me go. and i felt like i was taking my child to nurse ree school.
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>> tu could be cruel for you. >> but charlie, you know, i mean he had these blackouts. he had these psychotic episodes where he would destroy things in the house and not remember any of it. he got lost all the time. but the best thing about it, not the best but the luckiest thing for me was that he never didn't know who i was. he always knew who i was. and he never lost his benness, you know, he could be totally confused and not be able to carry on a conversation and yet he would have that spark, you know, and he would tease me and up until the very end. and i, you know, he would get up in the middle of the nut. they call it sun downing where you don't know what time of day. when he got the medal of fee dom and it was in november. >> rose: he had to go to the white house. >> he had to go to the white house. and he, we learned in august, and they said it is a total secret, you can't tell anybody that night he told everybody because he forgot you weren't
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supposed to tell everybody. but every night until november we get up at 3 in the morning. and get dressed. and i would wake up and say ben what are you doing. he said i'm getting dressed, have i to go to the white house and get my medicine all. and i would help him get back into bed. and then he, you know, he slowly that next year really started to, we went to st. mar inmash tin for our valentine's day vacation, we always went on our honeymoon. and i thought that he wouldn't be able to handle it because he couldn't handle conversation very well. but we just would sit at the table and hold hands and drink win and at the end he said this is the happiest week of my life. i i don't ever want it toned. finally, i slept in the bed with him every night until he died. i was in the bed with him. and even after, the last words he said to me was, i said i love you ben, and he said me too, babe. >> rose: that is the last thing you heard. >> that is the last thing was me too, babe.
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and even after he had sort of faded away, and lost his consciousness, i would have to get up. i only left him for three days to go to the bathroom. every time i would leave him i would say ben, i'm going to the bathroom so don't die. and we let go of my hand and he would go like this until i got back. and our wedding anniversary was on the 209 of october. and i said to him, ben, you can't died on our wedding anniversary. so he waited until the next day to die. >> rose: you talk about washington too. you were, you and ben from cay graham was probably the most-- others but kay comes to mind, as a hostess. you wanted to go to her dinners cuz important people would be there. it would be a signal that you had arrived in washington. >> without does that now? does anybody? >> no, it is all gone. >> it is a way of life.
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>> well, kay was the publisher of "the washington post" and she had this grand house. and she-- . >> rose: you have a grand house. >> well, you know, i have a nice house but kay used to say i will do all the heads of state and the foreign ministers and presidents and kings and all of that. and you and ben have the fun people. >> rose: the journalists. >> the journalists and fun people. i said that sounds like a good deal to me so that is what we did it was always exciting and fun to go there because there were always really interesting, fascinating people and because everybody wanted to go. in kay wanted to go or meet somebody, she would call them up and they would come. so it was wonderful to be at her house and she was a great hostess. >> rose: how is washington today? >> it's totally toxic. it's like-- . >> rose: there is no social life to speak of. >> no, not really. i mean i said to somebody it's like are you breathing in carbon monoxide and it's killing you but you can't see it or smell it. it's the most poisonous
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atmosphere i have ever known in my life. and the problem is that four percent of the people in washington voted for trump. and so you've got-- . >> rose: four percent. >> four percent so you have the rest of washington being very anti-trump. and of course he feeds on. this he ran against washington. but of course one of the things when you run against washington, you come and you become president, you are washington. and so if you look at all of his cabinet, it's about clean up the swamp but look what has happened to every single one of his-- five cabinet ministers have already been shown to have taken, used-- . >> rose: private planes and the rest. >> and government money and spending money and all of that. but i will tell you, one of the problems is that the white house is the sort of center of power. is access is everything. and it used to be that even, for instance the obamas never went out ever, i don't know anybody's house they went to, in eight
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years, except for their close friends. , so they were not part of the warn ton scene but the people around them went out. and so you had some sense of people would have a sense that they had access to power. and you know, one of the great things in washington is people meeting each other. >> rose: he went back to delaware. >> did he but he knew people and saw people. one of the things that's been so tal i think about washington is having people in the congress and the senate and the administration and the journalists and diplomats and military and have them get together and know each other. and that's one of the big problems happening now is that nobody knows anybody else. it is much easier to be vitriolic about somebody, castigate someone if you don't know them. that is what is happening. the other thing is with the trump administration is that nobody lasts very long. so off the would-be social
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climbers or people who would like to have access to power are completely helpless because they don't know who to suck up to. because they figure-- . >> rose: wouldn't they want to suck up to john kelly. >> he dnt go out. but there is, you know, it used to be that there was this kind of thing going on where people would be, you know, they would go to embassy parties and see somebody-- . >> rose: that was true with bush 43. >> with everybody. with everybody. except for this administration, no, there were some people like wilbur ross goes out occasionally and kellyanne con way will go out occasionally and gary koan will go out occasionally but generally you don't see people in this administration out. and then people don't necessarily want to talk to them. they don't want to be part, they don't want to invite them. they don't want to see them for dinner. i went to, there was sort of an italian hangout that people like to go to in washington. >> rose: what is it called.
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>> called cafe milano. you know the owner it is a wfl place and they have great pasta. >> rose: right. >> and franco is the owner of it, he is a friend of ours rrs right. >> and. >> rose: is he celebrating his 259 anniversary coming up in deeses. >> i know, i just got an invitation to it anyways franco, he's always. there es a wonderful personality. and suddenly the word got out among white house people and the administration people that cafe milano was the hot place in town. so suddenly they all went there. and you go there and there would be these big limos lined up and cars with lights flashing. the private room called the domingo room and the secretary of state would be in there and franco had to put model glass, so you couldn't see through who was sitting in the room. i went there one night and i think wilbur ross was there, and rex tillerson was there. and rupert murdoch's lawyer or
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something. everybody was buzzing. and i thought at one point that everybody in the restaurant was going to stand up and start singing lamar siels like in casa lanko sort of become rick's bar. but you know, it is, you know, i think that one of the problems is that these, the people who are in this administration who are part of this administration are not the people-- . >> rose: he ran against the establishment. >> he ran against the establishment but they are part of the establishment. >> rose: now. >> they are, well, they were. they were. they were all part of the establishment. they, every single one of them is someone that trump ran against. and i think that one of the things that people in the rest of the country don't understand is that none of the people, very few anyway, i can't think of one off the top of my head who are in the administration represent the trump voters.
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you know, they just don't. and so that is what is so baffling to a lot of people is that trump said at one point, you know, i hire billionaires because i want billionaires, because i want the smartest people, not maybe the-- not maybe-- . >> rose: but his connection to his base is strong. >> absolutely unshakeable it seems to me. it seems to me. it was one-story recently, i guess oprah had this interview on "60 minutes" where she went out and talked to these people. and one of the guys said i love donald trump and i love him more every day. he's my guy, love him more every day. i think one of the problems that journalists have, and i see this every day in the paper and you do too and you read the columes and all of that. is that everyone is sort of reduced to listing the atrocities, you know. he did this, he threw toilet paper and paper towels to the people in puerto rico. and he put down the mayor or the woman mayor. and people are dying there.
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and he mocked the disabled person. and he, you know, and you, they just keep piling up and piling up. and after a while it doesn't, you know, it's just all noise because it doesn't matter to the people who really like him. and so i think that journalists are kind of reduced to listing. i mean "the new york times," for instance, has a, the whole editorial page is about all the terrible things that trump has done. >> rose: you mean by columnists or people who write letters to the editor. >> no, on both. but i'm talking about the lead editorial in "the new york times." >> rose: i see, the opinion of the publisher. >> the opinion of the publisher. and i think that we as journalists and columnists kind of get stuck in this rut of saying oh my god, did he this, did he that, he did this, this is terrible. chop ra even wrote a piece for the daily beast talking about
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how people could talk themselves into mindfulness and wellness and to get over the trump rage. but the fact is that most people who are writing today, i'm not talking about the print journalists and i think a lot of people when they talk about, when trump talks about the media and a lot of people don't distinguish between editorial writers and reporters. and there is a huge difference. reporters report the news and editorial writers give their opinion. and i think that one of the things about the opinion writers is that it's really hard, i don't see many people sort of trying to figure out an antidote to this, or how to fix the problem, how to deal with it. >> rose: so much so how did maybe you should decide to make it your next book. >> maybe i will. >> rose: finding magic, a spiritual memoir by sally quinn, thank you. thank you for joining us. see you next time.
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>> for more about this program and earlier episodes visit us online at and charlie captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh
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>> rose: funding for "charlie rose" has been provided by: >> and by bloomberg, a provider of multimedia news and information services worldwide. >> you're watching pbs.producti.
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