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The Divas of WHCDs Past

The WHCD has a reputation for being all glitter and glam. But a behind-the-scenes examination reveals not everything goes off as seamlessly as we think.

NJ recently interviewed the White House Correspondents’ Association’s executive director, Julia Whiston. She sheds some light on the biggest divas she’s worked with in the nearly 20 years that she’s been in charge of the dinner, since her first year in 1993.

Ray Charles, for example, wouldn’t play his version of “America the Beautiful” without an additional $250,000, a payment Whiston refused. And Aretha Franklin almost refused to go on stage because the room was air conditioned. She ultimately performed, with the air conditioning on.

The easiest to work with? Last year’s comedian, Jay Leno: “He comes into town. He decides to walk down Connecticut Avenue and look for McDonald’s for lunch. He is gracious with everybody that he sees who works at the hotel.”

Read more of the interview here.

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