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Barbara Walters, Iconic News Anchor, Passes Away at 93

December 31, 2022 | Kali Girl

Barbara Walters, the trailblazing television journalist known for grilling the famous and infamous, has died at 93 as reported by Yahoo. She co-created ABC’s “The View” and made history as the first woman to co-host “Today,” the first woman to anchor a network evening newscast, and the second woman to moderate a presidential debate. Throughout her five-decade career, Walters won 12 Emmy awards and was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Daytime Emmys in 2000.

She interviewed every sitting U.S. president from Richard Nixon to Barack Obama, and even caught up with Donald Trump during his successful White House run in 2015. In addition to political figures, Walters also sat down with a diverse range of subjects, including John Wayne and Fidel Castro. Known for her persistence, Walters once said, “To get guests, I write, I call, I persevere.”

Born on September 25, 1929 in Boston, Walters was no stranger to the world of entertainment and celebrity – her father, Lou Walters, was a well-known Manhattan nightclub owner. After college, Walters began her news career at CBS, but struggled to break into the male-dominated industry. “I was the token woman,” she once said.

Despite the challenges, Walters persevered and eventually made her way to NBC’s The Today Show as a writer and researcher. But it wasn’t long before she started contributing on-air reports and interviews. While she became a de facto co-anchor, it wasn’t until her 13th year with the program that she was officially given the title.

In 1976, Walters made history when she signed a groundbreaking $1 million-a-year deal to co-anchor the ABC Evening News. However, male critics downplayed the significance of the role and her co-anchor, Harry Reasoner, openly displayed contempt for Walters and her salary. The experiment ended after less than two years, and it wasn’t until 15 years later that another woman regularly anchored a weeknight newscast.

Despite the setbacks, Walters continued to thrive at ABC’s 20/20, eventually becoming a co-anchor of the newsmagazine. She also continued to produce and host her signature show, The Barbara Walters Special, where she gained access to some of the most inaccessible people in the entertainment industry. Her interviews with Oscar-nominated stars became a staple on Oscar night, cementing her place as one of the most respected and influential figures in media.

Walters was known for her ability to make her guests cry and for securing high-profile interviews with major figures. One of her most famous interviews was with Monica Lewinsky during the height of the President Bill Clinton sex scandal, which drew nearly 50 million viewers in 1999. In 1997, Walters helped to reinvent the daytime talk show format with “The View,” which featured four opinionated women discussing current events and often making headlines of their own. The departures of co-hosts Star Jones and Rosie O’Donnell were particularly contentious, although O’Donnell later returned to the show and declared her love for Walters.

In her memoir “Audition,” Walters revealed that she had affairs with U.S. senators Edward Brooke and John Warner, the latter of whom she also interviewed with his then-wife, Elizabeth Taylor. Despite her successful career, Walters paid a personal price for her professional achievements, including three marriages and divorces and several miscarriages during her marriage to Broadway producer Lee Guber. The couple eventually adopted a daughter, Jacqueline.

In 2003, Barbara Walters shared with NBC News that she did not take any time off from The Today Show after becoming a mother, stating “there was no having it all.”

In May 2013, Walters announced her retirement, stating on The View that she did not want to appear on another program or tackle another challenge, but instead wanted to sit and admire the talented individuals, both women and men, who would be taking her place. Just prior to her announcement, Walters had been off the air for a few months due to a head injury sustained in a fall and contracting chickenpox during her recovery.

Despite this, she maintained that her health was good and continued to contribute to ABC News even after stepping down from her full-time responsibilities in 2014. In 2016, she made an appearance on a retrospective of The View to mark the show’s 20th season. Reflecting on her career, Walters told The Oprah Winfrey Show that she believed age had made her kinder, potentially causing her to not be as effective of an interviewer.

Despite all of her years in the industry and her numerous groundbreaking accomplishments, Barbara Walters revealed in an interview that the greatest benefit of her success is that she no longer has to audition for roles. As she put it, ‘I’ve stopped auditioning.’

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