In Audition, Barbara writes about the day her sister died. Jackie was recovering from ovarian cancer surgery when she had an aneurysm and passed away. On that day, Barbara was hundreds of miles away in Milwaukee giving a speech.
"I went down with her when she had the operation, and I left because I had to make a speech, for heaven's sakes. I left her two days after the operation, and I said, 'I'll be back,'" Barbara says. "I went to Milwaukee to make this speech for ABC. I mean, it wasn't a speech for money, but I was auditioning. I was being perfect."
Just before Barbara was scheduled to go onstage, someone came into her dressing room and told her the terrible news. "They said, 'You're on.' And I went out and made the most awful speech," she says. "I wasn't there when she died."
To this day, Barbara says she regrets that her decision to leave meant her sister died alone. "I also am in a way grateful that it happened that way," she says. "She was in no pain."