A CNN documentary explores the life and musical career of Linda Ronstadt.

2019’s front row, from left Rear row from left: Kennedy Center recipients Linda Ronstadt, Lloyd Morrisett, Joan Ganz Cooney, Sally Field, and Michael Tilson Thomas Philip Bailey, Verdine White, Ralph Johnson, and Abby Cadabby, Big Bird, Elmo, and other “Sesame Street” characters gather for a group portrait at the State Department after the Kennedy Center Honors State Department Dinner on Saturday, December 7, 2019, in Washington. (Photo by Kevin Wolf/AP)

NEW YORK (AP)— Linda Ronstadt is celebrating her career with a CNN documentary on her life that premieres on television on New Year’s Day and the Kennedy Center Honors. This month, Ronstadt gained notoriety for remarks she made before a State Department and Secretary Mike Pompeo-hosted dinner honoring Kennedy Honors. Although Ronstadt hadn’t intended to bring up the Trump administration, she did so out of solidarity with fellow honoree Sally Field. According to Ronstadt, the actress had mentioned that we were living in a time when the concept of truth was being questioned.

Ronstadt recalls, “Half the room sat in silence, the other half applauded.” “I simply wanted to express my support for her. She shouldn’t have stood there by herself, in my opinion.” Referencing the Ronstadt hit song “When Will I Be Loved,” Pompeo said in his speech that he was curious about the day he would be loved. 73-year-old retired singer Ronstadt curtly responded to a query by stating that it will happen “when he stops enabling Donald Trump.”

Then there were the rock star and sex symbol eras, featuring classics like “Blue Bayou,” “Heat Wave,” and “You’re No Good.” With her 1980 New York stage performance in “The Pirates of Penzance,” part two got underway, and she went on to work on jazz classics, recordings of traditional Mexican music, and trio albums with Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris, among other daring endeavors. Many of the projects were successful despite the executives of record companies’ apprehension. Parkinson’s disease has caused her singing voice to become muted, and she now resides in the San Francisco area. Released in 2006, her latest album is a duet with Cajun singer Ann Savoy, which Ronstadt believes to be one of her best. 2009 saw her play her final gig.

“I didn’t labor for awards. I never gave that much thought,” the woman remarked. The latest accolade is “beautiful, you know. I’m happy they enjoy it. I dislike most of it, but I do like some of it. The good news is that things improved. I shudder at my early work. It improved later.” The CNN executive Amy Entelis was another one of her admirers.

“She was iconic in my life,” stated Entelis, who oversees CNN Films and is therefore qualified to approve the documentary with Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman. It’s not altruistic labor; biographies have been successful for CNN’s film division; “RBG,” about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, is one example; more, including those on Anthony Bourdain and Julia Child, are in development. While Ronstadt had previously expressed no interest in working on documentaries, she did enjoy Epstein’s film about the first gay politician, Harvey Milk.

She didn’t really participate in the show other than telling tales of her early years, including her Mexican origin, her family’s musical history, and a pivotal scene at the end. Many fellow musicians from the Los Angeles scene in the 1970s, including J.D. Souther and Harris, were eager to converse. Ronstadt has a long history in that area; the Eagles were once an early supporting band. Don Henley was paid $250 a week by her to play the drums.

The movie, which CNN showed in theaters earlier this year, brought in about $4.2 million—a respectable sum for a documentary. Entelis remarked, “It’s safe to say that surprised us.” “It’s not that we didn’t love the film and thought it would be good for CNN, but we did not expect it to take off theatrically in that way.” Ronstadt was taken aback as well. “When they approached me, I thought it would be a documentary film that would have one night on PBS and that would be it,” she stated in a recent interview.

Ronstadt remarked, “I’m happy people like it.” They occasionally enjoy inferior products, and I believe this is simply a result of their poor taste. I believe I understand what I did. Although I wish some of the other things I did had turned out better, I’m delighted with the nice things I accomplished.”

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