In June 1958, Barbara says her father tried to commit suicide by taking an overdose of sleeping pills. "All I remember is being in the ambulance and saying, 'I love you, Daddy. I love you, Daddy,'" she says. "All the compassion that I had for him and all of the love that was there came out."
Lou survived the overdose, but Barbara says no one in the family ever asked him why he wanted to die. Looking back, Barbara says debt and professional failures may have prompted his suicide attempt.
"My father never worried about money or cared about money. He sold the Latin Quarter. He opened another nightclub in Florida and then one in New York. They were both big failures," she says. "I don't know whether he thought that the insurance would cover it, but he borrowed on his insurance. Whatever it was, he was in terrible despair."
Barbara says her father no longer lived up to his idea of Lou Walters. "It was all too much for him," she says.
When the media found out her father was in the hospital, Barbara says she contacted Walter Winchell, the most influential columnist of the time, and lied. "I told the newspapers that he'd had a heart attack," she says.
From then on, Barbara says she knew her nightmare had come. "For the rest of my life, I would be supporting my family and my sister," she says.