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Opinion | Memories of Madeleine Albright, by Barbra Streisand

To the Editor:

Re “Madeleine K. Albright, 1937-2022: From Refugee to First Female Secretary of State” (obituary, front page, March 24):

Madeleine Albright, the former secretary of state, was petite in size but a powerhouse of knowledge. My dear friend was somehow brilliant and adorable at the same time.

Our last lunch in L.A. (before the pandemic) was in the midst of her book tour for “Fascism: A Warning” (she was prescient, as always). And then she was off to Phoenix and back to Washington for the class she taught at Georgetown University. Talk about energy!

We first met in 1993 when she was ambassador to the United Nations and quickly bonded, talking politics, going to the theater, seeing movies and shopping for antiques.

Madeleine was born in Czechoslovakia, and I filmed part of “Yentl” there, so when she invited me to a play called “The Insect Comedy,” by two Czech writers, I couldn’t wait because I had played one of the insects (a butterfly) in an Off Off Broadway production when I was 17.

But this latest version turned out to be a disappointment, and we wanted to leave after the first act. When she gave her security detail the signal, he told her that she had a call from the secretary general of the U.N., and at first she thought it was their prearranged excuse for leaving … but it turned out to be true! So she had to take the call, and then we went back to her residence and raided the refrigerator.

The world needs more people like Madeleine, whose instinct was to connect with others and build on what we share, rather than destroy lives and cities, like what’s happening in Ukraine today. Madeleine became very close to Colin Powell, her successor as secretary of state, who died last October.

Who knows? Maybe they’ll solve the world’s problems together, up in heaven.

Barbra Streisand
Los Angeles

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