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‘You either get bitter, or you get better’: Tara Bernie, Morristown’s favorite emcee, builds a new life
‘You either get bitter, or you get better’: Tara Bernie, Morristown’s favorite emcee, builds a new life
‘You either get bitter, or you get better’: Tara Bernie, Morristown’s favorite emcee, builds a new life

Published on: 03/21/2023

Description

As emcee of Morristown Onstage for the last nine years, Tara Bernie has given audiences glimpses into the personal triumphs and tragedies of scores of performers.

But few of them can match her backstory for adversity, heartbreak or pure grit.Those who have seen Bernie’s glamorous stage persona each winter at the Mayo Performing Arts Center, or who remember her Access Hollywood interviews with such stars as Johnny Depp and Mariah Carey, might be startled to learn of this Emmy winner’s struggles as a young widow, trying to raise two girls amidst a string of layoffs and a cancer diagnosis.

“I’m pretty proud of where I have come from all of this,” said Bernie, who shared her story on National Women’s Day this month at Morristown’s posh 1776 by David Burke restaurant.  “You either get bitter, or you get better. I choose to get better.”

Bernie was the second annual honoree of Pass the Crown Around, a networking organization that celebrates and supports women. A 1776 luncheon and silent auction raised money for her new venture, TB Yoga House.

Yoga helped sustain her, mentally and physically, through crushing hardships. Now she is ready to share that lifeline, as a certified instructor in her own studio, the former Commit2Change venue at 12 Community Place in Morristown.

“I know that yoga has changed my life,” said Bernie, who has been practicing for 15 years, and teaching for three. “And I know that everything I have lost, and the pain that I have endured, is for a purpose. So that I can help others who maybe have gone through something. We’ve all suffered.”

Family friend and Morristown Onstage winner Frank Saia agrees that life has been pushing Bernie toward this new path.

“Her strength is incredible. She has been through so much since 2017…Sometimes you sit there and think, how many more hits is she going to take?” said Saia, marveling at her positive demeanor.

‘EVERYTHING WAS HAPPY…UNTIL IT WASN’T’

On the surface, Tara Bernie’s career has a fairy tale gloss.

From humble beginnings as a “latchkey kid”–her father died when she was an infant, leaving her Vegas showgirl mom to raise the family–Bernie parlayed journalism studies at William Paterson University (’93) into internships with Howard Stern and Dan Rather at CBS. Along the way, she was a dancer at New Jersey Nets games.

Bernie landed a gig at WNBC-TV as a production assistant at Live at 5 and the 11 o’clock news, working with Sue Simmons, Al Roker and a young Matt Lauer.

When her husband was transferred to California, she became an entertainment producer at KNBC in Los Angeles. Access Hollywood beckoned, and with it, a career of red-carpet interviews, movie premieres, Super Bowls and White House correspondents dinners.

There were speed bumps. After giving birth to her second daughter, Bernie developed a rare post-partum condition. Seven blood transfusions kept her alive.

Mostly, though, she enjoyed a fun ride. The family relocated to Morris Township and Bernie continued to thrive at Access Hollywood.

“Places I could never imagine going to, I was able to go to. My life was beyond my wildest dreams.”

She kept busy at home too, helping turn Morristown Onstage into a fundraising juggernaut for the Morris Educational Foundation. She also volunteered for the St. Jude Rock for Hope, Icing Smiles, and the Morristown Festival of Books.

Everything was happy…until August 2017.

“My roller coaster went off the rails,” Bernie recounted.

‘I’M STILL BREATHING’

After 18 years at Access Hollywood, she was laid off.  A month later, her husband, John Moroses, died suddenly. They had met when Bernie was 16. Her voice quavered as she recounted that terrible period.

‘HE WAS MY BEST FRIEND’ : Tara Bernie’s late husband, John Moroses, was a talented musician who loved the Allman Brothers and the Black Crowes.

“I lost my best friend and my husband, and my daughters lost their dad. So if there ever was a moment in life where I could not breathe, that was it,” she said.

Bernie did some freelance work, but needed to accept government assistance. An “amazing” network of family and friends helped her endure. Someone started a GoFundMe drive that raised nearly $60,000.

About a year later, Bernie landed a job at DailyMailTV as a senior correspondent — and won an Emmy.  Another year, another round of budget cuts…another layoff. Back on unemployment.

Fast-forward a year: Bernie was hired as a senior content producer at PEOPLE (the TV show!).

“It was fantastic, for two years. Until this past April,” Bernie said. More cutbacks. The show got canceled.

In the midst of that run, Bernie got a bad case of COVID-19. It knocked her down for 10 weeks. She went on disability.

As she was starting to get her groove back, Bernie felt something on her thyroid. Tests confirmed the gland was “loaded with tumors…loaded with cancer.”

Bernie’s thyroid was removed in October 2021 at Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York.“So I stand before you now about a year-and-a-half cancer-free,” Bernie said, to applause from the 175 guests at 1776. “And also job-free!”

She is okay with that last part.  She knows Morristown has her back. Her girls, Grace and Layla, are attending the New York Film Academy and The Fashion Institute of Technology, respectively. “I have a kick-ass cat named Greg. And most of all, I have me. I’m still breathing.”

And soon, Bernie intends to help others catch their breath, at the TB Yoga House.

“I know TB Yoga House will be a success, because it will be fueled by continuous love, kindness and support, and will be transformative for people who want to be brave, who want to heal, who want to push themselves, who want to find themselves both physically and mentally better. And who just want to breathe,” she said.

“And I couldn’t think of a more fitting place to open, than on a place called Community Place.”

Author : Kevin Coughlin

Source Url :https://morristowngreen.com/2023/03/20/you-either-get-bitter-or-you-get-better-tara-bernie-morristowns-favorite-emcee-builds-a-new-life/

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