Rosie O’Donnell on when Streisand guested on her talk show – and why she won’t speak to Ellen again
This is another excerpt from Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of The View via BuzzFeed News:
The list of celebrities who needed Rosie to promote their latest projects never diminished. Rosie got in early on the careers of Britney Spears, Jessica Simpson, Ricky Martin, and Justin Timberlake. They appeared alongside Hollywood titans such as Cher, Madonna, Julia Roberts, and Tom Cruise, whose arrival was marked by a cardboard countdown clock as the day approached. But nothing compared to her ultimate interview. On November 21, 1997, Barbra Streisand received a whole hour on The Rosie O’Donnell Show, more time than Hillary Clinton. Rosie wanted to air the interview without any commercials, but Telepictures wouldn’t allow it; they needed to pay the bills. Rosie burst into tears the moment Streisand walked onstage, saying that she felt as if her mother had come back to life. “I’m always wary about doing an interview with someone who is a big fan of mine because I don’t want to disappoint them,” Streisand told me. “I don’t want the reality to step in, like, ‘Am I a real person? I’m not twenty feet high and on a movie screen.’” Streisand was charmed by Rosie. “She’s adorable.”
Streisand likes to be shot from the left side of her face, so Rosie flipped her entire set so that Barbra would be seen from her best angle. Rosie even did it a few weeks early, to hide the true motive behind the redesign. Streisand admitted it years later: “She changed the chair to give me my good side.”
“Listen to me,” O’Donnell said, laughing. “I would do anything for her. She wanted it, and she wanted it covered up so you didn’t know she was vain. I was like, ‘Done and done.’ What else?” Rosie told me a story about how she caught Streisand’s appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2017. Rosie was aghast that her hero had been relegated to the second guest spot, behind the actress Sofia Vergara. “I will never talk to Ellen again,” Rosie said. “Such disrespect.” She sent a message to Andy Lassner, DeGeneres’s executive producer, who had worked on Rosie’s talk show. The email read, Go to hell.