Barbara Walters Wiki
Barbara Walters Biography
Barbara Walters, a broadcasting legend and pioneer who became the first woman to co-anchor a morning and evening newscast, has died at age 93, ABC News announced during a live special report Friday.
“Barbara Walters passed away peacefully in her home surrounded by her loved ones. She lived her life with no regrets,” her rep Cindi Berger said in a statement to USA TODAY. “She was a trailblazer not just for women journalists, but for all women.”
David Muir paid tribute to Walters on-air, remembering her as an “extraordinary human being, journalist, trailblazer, legend.”
“We were all influenced by Barbara Walters,” he said. “She broke down barriers behind the scenes and broke news on camera. She made people say things they would never have said to another journalist.”
Health and Death
In May 2010, Walters said that she would undergo open-heart surgery to replace a faulty aortic valve. She had known for quite some time that she suffered from aortic valve stenosis, even though she had no symptoms. The procedure to repair the faulty heart valve “went well and the doctors are very pleased with the outcome,” Walters’ spokeswoman Cindi Berger said four days later.Walters returned to The View and its Sirius XM satellite show, Here’s Barbara, in September 2010.Four years later, Walters retired from both shows for good.
Walters died at her New York home on December 30, 2022, at the age of 93.
The daughter of a nightclub owner, Walters went into television to support the family after it went bankrupt. She continued her career by asking questions about the public and private lives of the powerful, rich, famous and infamous. And no other woman in broadcast journalism had a longer career, with more hits and flops, scoops and controversies, praise and derision.
She made her on-air debut in 1956, when, as a writer for CBS’s “The Morning Show,” she and four other young women modeled modest one-piece bathing suits. In 1961, she became NBC’s “Today Girl” and in 1974, the first female co-host of “Today.” In 1976, she was disastrously teamed up with Harry Reasoner, as co-anchors of ABC’s “Evening News.” Reasoner didn’t think much of her, and he didn’t hide it.
But she “survived,” as she put it, and she enjoyed a long career at ABC interviewing celebrities and politicians, including Egypt’s Anwar Sadat and Israel’s Menachem Begin (first together in 1977). She had a successful run at the newsmagazine “20/20” and in 1997 she launched “The View,” ABC’s daily women’s chatfest.
Barbara Walters just before her retirement in 2014.
Over the years, he’s interviewed Richard Nixon and his wife, Pat, John Wayne, the Shah of Iran, Fidel Castro (a one-hour primetime exclusive that aired around the world), Barbra Streisand and, perhaps most famously, presidential intern Monica Lewinsky (who drew a record newscast audience of 48.5 million viewers).
Her “Barbara Walters Specials” for years were among the top-rated broadcasts and included a Who’s Who of the likes of Sir Laurence Olivier, Bing Crosby, Bette Davis, Tom Cruise, Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Her “Most Fascinating People” special broadcasts, launched in 1993, offered an end-of-year review of the year’s top newsmakers.
Walters’ best-selling 2008 memoir “Audition” was filled with the kind of personal revelations he loved to get in celebrity interviews.
Married four times to three men (television executive Merv Adelson twice), Walters was known for dating famous men, including former Virginia Senator John Warner, before and after his marriage to Elizabeth Taylor. “I couldn’t imagine a less suitable pairing,” Walters said of Warner and Taylor.
Walters’ memoir revealed that in the 1970s he had a “difficult” relationship with Massachusetts Sen. Edward Brooke, the first black elected to the Senate since Reconstruction, who was married. He described Brooke as “the most attractive, sexy, funny, charming, impossible man.”
Their relationship lasted a few years until they both decided, he wrote, that they couldn’t risk their careers and “wisely but very sadly” stopped seeing each other.
In his 2008 interview, Walters was asked a question he often asked others: How did she want to be remembered? “On a personal level, as a loving mother. On a professional level, I don’t want to be remembered for asking Katharine Hepburn what kind of tree she would like to be, which I didn’t. Or as an interviewer who made people cry, which I no longer do, but as a good journalist.
In 2008, Walters said: “I’m in a good place in my life. I have stopped auditioning. I don’t need to climb any more mountains. The ghosts are gone.
Born in Boston, Walters was the daughter of showman Lou Walters, who owned nightclubs in New York, Miami, and Boston. She is survived by her daughter.