HFPA in Conversation: Barry Adelman, Golden Globes Insider

by Kirpi Uimonen Ballesteros December 26, 2019
Writer, producer Barry Adelman

michael tran/getty images

Barry Adelman, dcp’s Executive Vice President for Television, has overseen the Golden Globes’ for over 25 years, first as a writer and soon after as an executive producer. He learned a valuable lesson early on:  “The one thing we all learned together during that time was when something is happening let it happen. Don’t try to cut it off, don’t put on the prompter, please wrap up. There are times when you have to, unfortunately, tighten things up and move to the next thing but if something is gold like Oprah’s speech, don’t cut it off,” Adelman told HFPA journalist Meher Tatna.

One of his favorite stories from the Globes is when Lauren Bacall was a presenter. “When Lauren Bacall walked in it was like oh my god to me as a kid growing up and Humphrey Bogart and all this business. The first thing she wanted, she wanted to see Dick Clark but he wasn’t available at that moment so I had to take care of her.”

The previous presenter was taking a long time rehearsing before it was Bacall’s turn. “She was getting very kind of upset and Lauren Bacall-ish. A "how long is this going to take?" kind of thing. And I started to try to befriend her and calm her down and make her happy and not worried about exactly when she was going to start her rehearsal.”

It worked. “So suddenly we were real buddies and she forgot about Dick Clark and she forgot about the rehearsal. And then finally we got her up. When she left she gave me a big hug and a kiss and I was, “oh my god, Lauren Bacall”, that never happened to me before, somebody of that stature.”

Bacall asked to see Adelman during the show. “We were in the middle of the show and everybody’s kind of intense and what’s going on. We sit in this very little curtained off area backstage, it’s right off the side of the stage. It is not impressive at all and we cramped in there and all we are doing is staring at the monitors and trying to figure out how long we are and what we have to do next.” Dick Clark was sitting next to him. “All of a sudden, the stage manager comes in and she says Barry, Lauren Bacall wants to see you right away. And Dick looks at me as if to say, “why does Lauren Bacall want to see you”? I said, “well I better go, huh”?
He got up and walked over to her. “She goes “we’re out of wine at table 9”. I said, “ok I’ll get it for you, I’ll get it for you, we’ll take care of that”. And I did, I got them wine and champagne.”

Listen to the podcast and hear what was his first job; why comedian Jackie Kahane had a big influence in his life; how he got to meet Elvis Presley’s manager, Colonel Tom Parker; why he wrote the eulogy for Elvis; how he got his first screen credit as a writer; how he met Dick Clark; what he was doing on The Sonny and Cher Show; what is the hardest part about producing the Golden Globes; why it is important to listen to what people are saying on stage; what happened to the photo of him and Paul McCartney; what was he talking about with President Clinton; which couple he would like to see at the Golden Globes; why the gala chose to have a host again ten years ago, after years without one; and why his shoes always match his shirt.