Barbara Walters, one of the most iconic figures in television news, has passed away at the age of 93. Walters, who began her career in the 1950s as a writer and researcher at NBC, rose through the ranks to become one of the first women to anchor a nightly news program and one of the most influential interviewers of her time.
Born in 1929 in Boston, Massachusetts, Walters was the daughter of Dena and Louis “Lou” Walters, the owner of the Latin Quarter nightclub in New York City. She developed an early interest in journalism and began her career as a researcher and writer for NBC’s “Today” show in the 1950s.
In 1961, Walters made history as the first woman to co-anchor a network evening news program, serving as a substitute anchor for the “CBS Evening News.” She later became the first female co-host of “Today,” where she worked alongside Hugh Downs and later, Jim Hartz.
In the 1970s, Walters made the jump to ABC, where she became the first woman to co-anchor “20/20,” a newsmagazine program. She also began hosting the annual “10 Most Fascinating People” special, which became a highly anticipated event and helped to solidify her reputation as a top interviewer.
Throughout her career, Walters interviewed a wide range of notable figures, including presidents, celebrities, and world leaders. Some of her most memorable interviews include those with world leaders such as Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin, as well as controversial figures like Monica Lewinsky and O.J. Simpson.
In addition to her work in television, Walters also wrote several books and served as a special correspondent for ABC News. She was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 1989 and received numerous awards for her work, including multiple Emmy Awards and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
Despite her many accomplishments, Walters faced criticism and controversy during her career, including accusations of favoritism and a highly publicized feud with fellow journalist Diane Sawyer.
But despite the setbacks, Walters remained a formidable force in television news and a trailblazer for women in the industry. She retired from full-time hosting in 2014, but continued to make occasional appearances on television.
Walters passed away on January 3, 2023, at the age of 93. She is survived by her two daughters, Jackie and Jackie’s husband, and two granddaughters.
Barbara Walters will be remembered as a pioneer in television news and a trailblazer for women in the industry. Her legacy as an iconic interviewer and journalist will continue to inspire future generations.