TODAY

TODAY   |  May 01, 2014

Swoosie Kurtz: ‘Amazing journey’ caring for mom, 98

Tony and Emmy awarding winning actress Swoosie Kurtz has penned a book about her numerous roles off-screen as well as on-, including her most recent: taking care of her 98-year-old mother. Swoosie tells Kathie Lee and Hoda she is joined at the heart with her mom, who has given her a positive outlook on life.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> swoosie kurtz is an emmy and tony award winning actress appearing in hit tv shows like the 1990s drama "sisters" and later "pushing daisy".

>> these days swoosie stars in the hit comedy "mike & molly" playing joyce lynn, the mother of molly, played by melissa mccarthy . and off camera, swoosie lives with and cares for her own mother, 98-year-old margo.

>> 98 1/2, right?

>> .5, exactly.

>> and right off the bat, say hello to your mom. she watches everything you do, right?

>> hi, mommy. i love you.

>> sweet.

>> you're the sweetest. your book is called "part swann,

part goose: an uncommon memoir of womanhood, work and family".

>> delightful to welcome you again. the book is not your typical celebrity walk down memory lane with me. it is much more layered than that. tell us how.

>> i wasn't really interested in doing a celebrity tell-all. i mean, the book definitely covers my life and my career, but it is really kind of a book with a purpose, because i've been on this amazing journaly for the last seven years caring for my mom. we're joined at the heart . she lives with me. and i really wanted to -- this to be a valentine to my parents and a love letter , but this journey i've been on with her has been amazing. and among the many other gifts she's given me is something i never thought i had in me, whichcaregiver, the nurturer.

>> some people feel the burden of it. it seems like you see the joy in it. the joy in it.

>> she was always there for me. there is no -- there was no choice. a thousand years with her would not be enough.

>> you had a magical childhood. you were not abused in any way. tell us about your dad, frank, before we go on to your mom. so much of the love between this you experienced as a child is because of the love of your mother and father .

>> they gave me everything. they gave me the world.

>> your dad was quite the hero in many different fronts.

>> a total overachiever. the most decorated air force pilot of world war ii and he was on three olympic teams.

>> he gave you your name --

>> yes.

>> tell us about your name.

>> well, the swoos, was a b-17 airplane he flew in the war. and these two adults who raised me somehow thought this was a proper name for a child. i can't explain it. so they named me swoosie after the plane because he had done so many missions in it and it was -- i'm very proud of the legacy. i hated it when i was a kid. i wanted to be mary or jane or you know, fit in.

>> you want to fit in and then stand out when you're older.

>> exactly. especially in showbiz.

>> some of this book is told in your mother's voice too, isn't it?

>> yes there are excerpts from my mother's book which she wrote had she was pregnant with me. and it was about her courtship with my dad, their meeting, their love affair and her book ends with my birth. and it is also being released along with my book. it is a dream come true.

>> if you could narrow it down to one gift your mother gave you, one, just one, what would it --

>> people always ask her, what is your secret? her doctor asked her recently, you know, years ago when she was 94. what is your secret? she said, i love life . and she had given me the gift of an upbeat enthusiasm, both of my parents. always -- always positive, always looking at what you have, not at what you don't have. and they both just gave me this incredible foundation, my whole life of self-esteem and confidence, who i am today is so much --

>> hoda and i can relate on that. we're just so grateful, all of us to have had mothers like that in our lives.

>> thank god.

>> this is a perfect mother's day gift, you all. it is funny too, not just --

>> there is a lot of