BetteBack December 30, 1981: Bette, Diana, And Barbra Need Larger Than Life Projects

Santa Fe New Mexican
December 30, 1981


EMI, Motown, and producers Ed Shaw (who’s still working on a proposed “Josephine” Broadway show) and Allan Carr have all tried — and failed — to find a way to film “The Josephine Baker Story.”

Carr was, in fact, planning to go into production with a Baker feature this year. “Until it became obvious it would cost a minimum of $30 million — and more likely close to $50 million.”

It is a fascinating subject: a study of a black woman who fled America and its bigotry in the 1920s, became a famous star in France, and spent her last years embroiled in financial troubles and caring for 12 adopted children of various nationalities and racial backgrounds. But as Carr says- “Recreating Paris and the Folies Bergere of that era, with its lavish staging and costumes, would be prohibitive. But I certainly wish Diana luck.”

He feels that she — and Barbra Streisand and Bette Midler — need more luck than most performers today.

“You can put a Jill Clayburgh or a Jacqueline Bisset in anything,” he says. “But Diana, Barbra and Bette are larger than life and need larger-than-life projects — and studios just aren’t gambling with projects of that scope these days.”

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