Mary Williams has been part of my family since she was 16. She came to our children’s camp from Oakland at age 13 and I fell in love with her. Both her parents were members of the Black Panther party. In time she’d move with me to Atlanta and Ted Turner became her stepfather. Quite a journey which she has written about movingly and insightfully in her book “The Lost Daughter,” due out this Mother’s Day.
Oprah found Mary’s book interesting. In fact, she said she gained insight into her own early life reading it. So we agreed to be interviewed together for Oprah’s new show on OWN, joined by my son, Troy Garity. Ted will also be interviewed by Oprah for the story but in Atlanta.
The interview took place at my home and Oprah’s crew of 20 arrived Sunday to pre-light. The place looked like a film studio. It was way more than I expected. Richard freaked because Clive Davis and other friends were coming for pre-dinner drinks and he thought the house was ruined. I said, “Hell no, it’s exciting to be able to say that the house has been turned upside down cause Oprah’s filming tomorrow. I mean, how many people can say that?”.
When Oprah arrived Mary and I greeted her at the door. The 3 of us sat on the living room couch and talked while Tulea slept at my side.
It was fun, being more of an observer, watching Mary answer questions and occasionally adding something. Many tears were shed too because Mary’s story is so moving and I am so proud of her. Talking with Oprah in these circumstances is so easy and natural. She makes it that way.
Eventually Troy joined us on the couch, I moved over and he took my place, holding Mary’s hand. Both of us had a hard time calling her “Mary” cause, to us, she’ll always be Lulu.
When the interview about Lulu’s book was done, Oprah and I went outside where she interviewed me about where I feel I’m at with my 3rd Act–a sort of follow up to the studio interview she and I did 3-4 years ago.
Then we hugged goodbye and, before we knew it, the house had been put back together exactly as it had been.
A really fun day and a joyful way to give Lulu’s book a great send off. It sure deserves it.