Barbara Walters, a pioneering TV journalist whose skill at conducting interviews made her one of the most famous people in broadcasting, has died, her spokeswoman told CNN. Her age was 93.
“Barbara Walters died peacefully at home, surrounded by her family and friends. She has no regrets about how she lived. “She was a trailblazer not just for female journalists but for all women,” Cindi Berger, Walters’s spokeswoman, said in a statement to CNN.
Walters started out as a reporter, writer, and panellist for NBC’s “Today” show in 1961. In 1974, she was promoted to co-host. Walters was the first woman to anchor an evening news show when she joined ABC News in 1976.
Walters started “The Barbara Walters Specials” and “10 Most Fascinating People” on that network before joining “20/20” as a co-host and correspondent in 1984. She talked to every US president and first lady since Richard Nixon and Pat Nixon.
Walters was a big deal for more than 50 years, whether she was talking to world leaders on news shows, visiting celebrities’ homes for her regular “Barbara Walters Specials,” or appearing on “The View,” a daytime talk show where a group of different women talks about the news.
Her shows, some of which she also made, were the most popular and inspired many people to do the same thing. In fact, “The View,” which first aired in 1997, paved the way for other talk shows like “The Talk” and “The Chew” in the United States, as well as “Loose Women” in Britain and “Studio5” in Norway.
Walters left “The View” in 2014, but she worked part-time for ABC News for the next two years.
Walters told CNN’s Chris Cuomo at the time, “I knew it was time.” “I like all the celebration, that’s great, but in my heart I thought, ‘I want to leave while I’m still doing good work,’ so I will.”
Barbara Walters has died at 93, ABC News reports pic.twitter.com/662sP51uIB
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) December 31, 2022
Walters said that the many women who had looked up to her over the course of her career were her legacy.
She asked, “How do you say goodbye to something like 50 years in television?” “I’m so happy to see so many young women making and reporting the news. If I helped make that happen in any way, that would be my legacy. I want to say “thank you” from the bottom of my heart to everyone who has worked with me, watched me, or been by my side.
Walters was married four times, twice to entertainment mogul Merv Adelson and once to business executive Robert Katz. In 1992, Adelson’s second marriage came to an end. Jackie, whom she and Guber took in as their own in 1968, is the only person who will remember her.
Walters’ big ‘Get’ Interviews
He was born in Boston on September 25, 1929. Her father, Lou, ran a nightclub and put on plays, so Barbara grew up around famous people. This is one reason she didn’t seem nervous when interviewing them.
Walters went to Sarah Lawrence College and got her degree in 1953.
Walters was known for being very competitive, and she worked hard to get big interviews. She was so persistent that there have been rumors for a long time that she and Diane Sawyer, who joined ABC in 1989, were rivals. Last year, Sawyer won the race to get the first interview with Caitlyn Jenner, which he did in 2015.
On the other hand, Walters was no slouch when it came to getting big interviews with presidents, world leaders, and almost every famous person you can think of. She had a well-deserved reputation for making her guests cry. Her interview with Monica Lewinsky in 1999, watched by an average of 48.5 million people, and her meeting with Egypt’s Anwar Sadat and Israel’s Menachem Begin in 1977, which went down in history, were two of the most interesting things she did.
— ABC News (@ABC) December 31, 2022
In the 1960s, Walter’s first job on TV was on NBC’s “Today” show, where she told what people at the time thought of as “women’s stories.” In 1974, the show officially made her a co-anchor. Two years later, she left “Today” to become the first woman to co-anchor an evening news show on a network for $1 million a year and joined ABC. For a while, she was the most famous person on TV.
Even though she didn’t last long in that job because her co-anchor Harry Reasoner didn’t like her, she had the last laugh because she stayed at the network for almost four decades and co-hosted “20/20” with her old “Today” co-anchor Hugh Downs, “The View,” and many specials.
She was both cruelly made fun of (in the early days of “Saturday Night Live,” Gilda Radner made fun of her as the sometimes slurring “BabaWawa”) and richly honored (with multiple Emmys, a Peabody, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame).
Men who didn’t like how honest she was sometimes thought she was rude, but she just shrugged it off.
“If it comes from a woman, it’s rude; if it comes from a man, it’s authoritative. She once said, “If it’s a woman, it’s too pushy. If it’s a man, it’s aggressive in the best way.”
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