EXCLUSIVE: TV legend Sally Jessy Raphael, 84, believes her talk show was canceled after 19 years because she was secretly battling CANCER and reveals her favorite guest was Audrey Hepburn as she showcases massive collection of her iconic red glasses

  • Sally Jessy Raphael opened the door of her NYC home to DailyMailTV for an exclusive interview about her career, her regrets and talk show hosts today
  • The 84-year-old, who was on air with her show Sally for 19 years until 2002, admitted her show was struggling against her competitors in the ratings
  • But she believes her show was canned after telling producers she had cancer, saying: 'All they needed was a 60-year-old that might have cancer. I was stupid enough to tell them'
  • Sally admitted despite having 10,000 guests on her show, when interviewing Audrey Hepburn she was so awestruck, she could hardly ask questions
  • She set the record straight on how she happened upon her signature red glasses - seeing a one-stop shop ad for a Pap smear, an eye prescription and glasses 
  • Over the years she amassed an enormous collection of more than 200 eyeglasses in the standout color, showing them off to DailyMailTV 
  • The icon also blasted producers who 'absolutely betrayed' her by making her do similar shows to Jerry Springer and Maury Povich - who were beating her ratings 
  • Sally said: 'What makes me proud is the number of people over the years, who say I helped them, I changed their lives. How can you not be tickled by having people love you?'
  • Stay in touch with Sally on her Twitter and watch full episodes of her talk show online at Nosey or on Roku and Pluto TV on your Smart TV

TV legend Sally Jessy Raphael believes her iconic talk show was cancelled because she told producers she was battling cancer, she revealed to DailyMailTV as she opened up the doors to her home for an exclusive one-on-one interview. 

The lively 84-year-old, who was on air with her hit show Sally for nearly 20 years until 2002, admitted the show was struggling against her competitors, but thinks her age and a health scare gave her bosses the perfect excuse to end her program.  

Sitting down with DailyMailTV at her home in New York City, Sally said: 'All they needed was a 60-year-old that might have cancer. I was stupid enough to tell them.' 

Now cancer-free for 22 years, Sally reflects on her career in a wide-ranging interview, giving her thoughts on how Kelly Clarkson and Tamron Hall will do on their own shows, confessing she was so starstruck by Audrey Hepburn she could barely ask her questions and revealing her biggest regret was not licensing her red glasses. 

TV legend Sally Jessy Raphael believes her iconic talk show was cancelled because she told producers she was battling cancer, she revealed to DailyMailTV as she opened up the doors to her home for an exclusive one-on-one interview

TV legend Sally Jessy Raphael believes her iconic talk show was cancelled because she told producers she was battling cancer, she revealed to DailyMailTV as she opened up the doors to her home for an exclusive one-on-one interview

The lively 84-year-old, who was on air with her hit talk show Sally for nearly 20 years until 2002, admitted her show was struggling against her competitors in the ratings, but thinks her age and a health scare gave her bosses the perfect excuse to end her program

The lively 84-year-old, who was on air with her hit talk show Sally for nearly 20 years until 2002, admitted her show was struggling against her competitors in the ratings, but thinks her age and a health scare gave her bosses the perfect excuse to end her program

Sally is fond of interviewing Audrey Hepburn in 1992, citing the actress as her favorite guest, although she nearly fumbled during their sit down. Sally explained: 'I was so awestruck, I could hardly ask a question. Everything she did, I admired. Everything she had done in her life I found to be exemplary'

Sally is fond of interviewing Audrey Hepburn in 1992, citing the actress as her favorite guest, although she nearly fumbled during their sit down. Sally explained: 'I was so awestruck, I could hardly ask a question. Everything she did, I admired. Everything she had done in her life I found to be exemplary'

Sally's red frames became her signature look and over the years she amassed an enormous stockpile of around 200 eyeglasses in the standout color. 

She laid out only a fraction of her collection to DailyMailTV but it's still an impressive spread with designer cat eye shapes, comically over-sized frames and smart smaller pairs. 

There have been multiple stories about how the legendary look came about, and Sally wants to set the record straight on how she landed upon them.

One rumor that has circulated involves Sally breaking her normal pair and when she rushed out to find glasses that matched her prescription, she only found bright red ones.

But Sally explained: 'When we started, I looked at the teleprompter and I said ''I can't read that! I'm going blind!''

In her search to get a new prescription, she saw a bizarre ad that offered an eye test, glasses and a Pap smear - all for the price of one, and figured why not. 

Sally said during the appointment 'the guy of course tried to trade me up [to a more expensive pair]' and was told they 'only have these red ones.' 

Wanting the deal she was advertised, Sally replied: 'You got it.'

Sally laughed and added: 'I had to fight to have the glasses. Producers tried to change them. Those shadowy figures objected to everything.'

But despite winning her fight and continued for years wearing the frames, she never had the look licensed, possibly missing out on a big payday. 

Sally's red frames became her signature look and over the years she amassed an enormous stockpile of around 200 eyeglasses in the standout color. She laid out only a fraction of her collection to DailyMailTV but it's still an impressive spread with designer cat eye shapes, comically over-sized frames and smart smaller pairs

Sally's red frames became her signature look and over the years she amassed an enormous stockpile of around 200 eyeglasses in the standout color. She laid out only a fraction of her collection to DailyMailTV but it's still an impressive spread with designer cat eye shapes, comically over-sized frames and smart smaller pairs 

Competing against Jerry Springer and Maury Povich, Sally said she was increasingly forced to run similar segments to keep pace with their ratings, saying: 'I was absolutely betrayed by the producers.' Sally said she was pressured to do similar shows, such as revealing the identity of a father to a live TV audience, and isn't proud of it. Pictured: Sally speaking to a Columbine High School student (in short-sleeved shirt) in 1999

Competing against Jerry Springer and Maury Povich, Sally said she was increasingly forced to run similar segments to keep pace with their ratings, saying: 'I was absolutely betrayed by the producers.' Sally said she was pressured to do similar shows, such as revealing the identity of a father to a live TV audience, and isn't proud of it. Pictured: Sally speaking to a Columbine High School student (in short-sleeved shirt) in 1999 

Sally revealed another of her biggest regrets was not pushing back against her producers toward the end of her show's run, saying they 'absolutely betrayed' her. 

Competing against the likes of Jerry Springer and Maury Povich, Sally said she was increasingly forced to run similar segments to keep pace with their ratings, such as revealing the identity of a father to a live TV audience.

Sally said she isn't proud of doing segments of that nature, adding: 'What strikes me, on those shows, ''who is your baby daddy''... It's extremely demeaning.'

Sally believes she was goaded into doing those types of shows because she liked having a reputation as being easy to work with so producers thought they could get her to do those types of tropes - and they did. 

To Sally, those segments are not what she considers worthy of being on a talk show of substance. And when looking at the landscape of talk shows today, Sally said she can't recognize any as being what she considers actual talk shows. 

She explained: 'Those are game shows.  Ellen bounces a lot and she's the best of the bunch.

'A talk show is serious, it's about timing, it's informational.'

According to Sally, the three most important things hosts should have are experience, a large, colorful vocabulary and timing.  

Being on the radio and TV for decades, Sally knows a thing or two about running a successful, informative talk show. Pictured: Sally talking to radio listeners at NBC Studios in 1982

Being on the radio and TV for decades, Sally knows a thing or two about running a successful, informative talk show. Pictured: Sally talking to radio listeners at NBC Studios in 1982

Sally is credited as being the first woman to host a syndicated talk show on TV, paving the way for Oprah and all the women who came after. In addition to admiring Oprah, Phil Donahue and Geraldo Rivera, Sally said she looks up to Hugh Downs, who gave her the invaluable advice of being ordinary. Pictured: Sally (far left) with various TV personalities including Oprah Winfrey, Larry King, Jerry Springer, Phil Donahue, Maury Povich and Geraldo Rivera in 1992

Sally is credited as being the first woman to host a syndicated talk show on TV, paving the way for Oprah and all the women who came after. In addition to admiring Oprah, Phil Donahue and Geraldo Rivera, Sally said she looks up to Hugh Downs, who gave her the invaluable advice of being ordinary. Pictured: Sally (far left) with various TV personalities including Oprah Winfrey, Larry King, Jerry Springer, Phil Donahue, Maury Povich and Geraldo Rivera in 1992

Sally said of Kelly Clarkson: 'She jumps around a lot but I have friends who say she may make it'
Sally believes Tamron Hall has a shot of surviving the morning talk show arena after making her debut last Monday on ABC

Sally believes Tamron Hall has a shot of surviving the talk show arena after making her debut last Monday on ABC. The experienced journalist, who has been a news correspondent for NBC News and an anchor for MSNBC, has put in the time to hone the craft, Sally said. Of Kelly Clarkson, Sally said: 'She jumps around a lot. But I have friends who say she may make it'

Sally said most hosts today don't have the latter of the three, explaining: 'The most important thing is timing. You need to know when to hold, when to fold.' 

Sally refers to Malcolm Gladwell's 10,000-Hour Rule of practicing something for at least 10,000 hours before qualifying as being proficient at it. 

She applies this rule to interviewing, saying a good host should have at least that many hours under their belt before gracing a stage. 

That's why Sally believes Tamron Hall has a shot of surviving the talk show arena after making her debut last Monday on ABC. 

The experienced journalist, who has been a news correspondent for NBC News and an anchor for MSNBC, has put in the time to hone her craft, Sally said.

She added: 'I think she has a shot... if they let her do serious topics. Don't try to make her Oprah.' 

'Kelly Clarkson jumps around a lot but I have friends who say she may make it.' 

Although several talk shows today are hosted by a woman, when Sally came on the scene it was mostly a male-dominated field. 

In fact, Sally is credited as being the first woman to host a syndicated talk show on TV, paving the way for Oprah and all the other women who came after.

Sally declared her greatest accomplishment was delivering her show every day for nearly 20 years, except for on September 11, when she sent the crew home. Sally said she doesn't think of herself as a legend, adding: 'What makes me proud is the number of people over the years, and today, who say I helped them, I changed their lives. How can you not be slightly tickled by having people love you?'  Pictured: Sally with her husband Karl on the last taping of her show on April 24, 2002

Sally declared her greatest accomplishment was delivering her show every day for nearly 20 years, except for on September 11, when she sent the crew home. Sally said she doesn't think of herself as a legend, adding: 'What makes me proud is the number of people over the years, and today, who say I helped them, I changed their lives. How can you not be slightly tickled by having people love you?'  Pictured: Sally with her husband Karl on the last taping of her show on April 24, 2002

Nowadays, Sally spends most of her time at her home in upstate New York with her husband of 56 years Karl Soderlund (pictured together), who lovingly refers to Sally as Red

Nowadays, Sally spends most of her time at her home in upstate New York with her husband of 56 years Karl Soderlund (pictured together), who lovingly refers to Sally as Red

Speaking of Oprah, Sally said: 'I can't say enough good things about Oprah.

'She's warm, she's a good interviewer, a decent human being, a very fine example of a talk show host.'

What makes me proud is the number of people over the years, and today, who say I helped them, I changed their lives. How can you not be slightly tickled by having people love you?

In addition to admiring Phil Donahue and Geraldo Rivera, Sally said she looks up to Hugh Downs, who gave her the invaluable advice of being ordinary.

Sally said: 'He told me, ''People last in broadcasting by blending in, by being part of the scene.'' 

'Hugh said to be mild if you want a long career in broadcasting. People want people like them.' 

Despite having around 10,000 guests on her show, including A-list celebrities, future presidential hopefuls such as Marianne Williamson and every day people, one person stands out the most. 

Sally said Audrey Hepburn was her favorite guest of her career, admitting she nearly fumbled during the sit down in 1992 because she was such a fan of the actress. 

Sally explained: 'I was so awestruck, I could hardly ask a question. Everything she did, I admired. Everything she had done in her life I found to be exemplary.'

About three months after the interview, Hepburn died in January of 1993 after a battle with cancer and Sally spoke at her funeral.

Sally makes the trip down to her stately townhome in Manhattan every now again, declaring she loves New York City because it's the only city in the world where she can order a steak at 2am and get a waiter to cut it for her too

Sally makes the trip down to her stately townhome in Manhattan every now again, declaring she loves New York City because it's the only city in the world where she can order a steak at 2am and get a waiter to cut it for her too

The focal point of her library is a bookshelf filled with awards she has won throughout her impressive career

The focal point of her library is a bookshelf filled with awards she has won throughout her impressive career

Sally's NYC home is filled with her awards
Sally's NYC home is filled with her  finds, including an impressive collection of 18th century Danish porcelain figures, which she has been collecting for 30 years (right)

Sally's NYC  home is filled with her awards and finds, including an impressive collection of 18th century Danish porcelain figures, which she has been collecting for 30 years (right)

Sally said she keeps busy by being Karl's caretaker and reading a book a day. She also enjoys antiquing, but doesn't have the space anymore. Pictured: Sally's backyard

Sally said she keeps busy by being Karl's caretaker and reading a book a day. She also enjoys antiquing, but doesn't have the space anymore. Pictured: Sally's backyard

Sally declared her greatest accomplishment of her broadcast career was delivering her show every day for nearly 20 years, except for on September 11, when she sent the crew home. 

What kept her going all those years was 'an insane desire to provide, to eat.' But Sally said she 'doesn't miss the daily grind' of having a talk show. 

Sally said she keeps busy by being Karl's caretaker and reading a book a day. She also enjoys antiquing, but doesn't have the space anymore

 Sally said she keeps busy by being Karl's caretaker and reading a book a day. She also enjoys antiquing, but doesn't have the space anymore

Nowadays, Sally spends most of her time at her home in upstate New York with her husband of 56 years Karl Soderlund, who lovingly refers to Sally as Red. 

But Sally makes sure to take the trip down to her stately townhome in Manhattan every now again, declaring she loves New York City because it's the only city in the world where she can order a steak at 2am and get a waiter to cut it for her too. 

Sally said she keeps busy by being Karl's caretaker and reading a book a day. She also enjoys antiquing, but jokes she doesn't have the space anymore. 

It's true.  

Her home is filled with her finds, including an impressive collection of 18th century Danish porcelain figures, which she has been collecting for the past 30 years. 

Her library is also filled with treasures, collecting first edition books, including Mark Twain novels and children's readers. 

The focal point of library is a bookshelf filled with several awards Sally has won throughout her impressive career. 

Although she paved the way for dozens of women and is viewed as an icon of television, Sally waved away the praise. 

Sally said she doesn't think of herself as a legend, adding: 'What makes me proud is the number of people over the years, and today, who say I helped them, I changed their lives.

'How can you not be slightly tickled by having people love you?' 

Stay in touch with Sally on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SJRaphael and watch full episodes of her talk show online at Nosey or on Roku and Pluto TV on your Smart TV. 

Sally Jessy Raphael believes her talk show was canceled because she was battling cancer

The comments below have been moderated in advance.

The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.

We are no longer accepting comments on this article.