Barbara Walters, the intrepid talk show host who led the way as the first woman to become a stellar American television news star during a stellar career, has died at the age of 93.
Robert Iger, CEO of The Walt Disney Company, ABC’s parent company, said in a statement that Walters, who created the popular ABC women’s talk show The View in 1997, died at her home in New York. The circumstances of her death were not disclosed.
Egger lauded Barbara as an unrivaled pioneer: “she not only revolutionized women’s journalism, but the entire field of journalism.” Berger added that she had lived her life without regret and was a driving force behind female liberation. She truly served as an exemplary role model for all women.
A statement from the producers of The View — which featured an all-female cast — said Walters created the show in 1997 to endorse women’s voices, and said she was proud to be part of her legacy.
Barbara Walters with Kings and World Leaders
During nearly four decades at ABC, and before that at NBC, Walters’ exclusive interviews with judges, royalty, and entertainers have cemented her celebrity status high in their lives, while placing her at the forefront of a trend in broadcast journalism that has made the stars of reporters, who brought news programs into the race for higher ratings.
Walters has interviewed a host of world leaders, including former Cuban President Fidel Castro, Margaret Thatcher, Muammar Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein and every American president and first lady since Richard and Pat Nixon.
She gave her first interview to Rose Kennedy after the assassination of her son Robert, as well as to Princess Grace Kelly of Monaco and President Richard Nixon. I went to India with Jacqueline Kennedy, to China with Nixon.
The network said it has won 12 Emmy Awards, 11 of them while at ABC News.
The Career Life of Barbara Walters
Walters began her national broadcasting career in 1961 as a reporter, writer, and panelist on NBC’s The Today Show before being promoted to co-host of hdst in 1974. In 1976, Walters joined ABC News as the first female anchor of an evening news program. Walters made headlines in 1976 as the network’s first female news anchor, opposite Harry Reasoner, with an unprecedented annual salary of $1 million.
At that network, Walters launched The Barbara Walters Specials and Most Fascinating People before becoming co-host and correspondent of ABC News’ 20/20 in 1984.
Her leadership was legendary as she competed, not only with rival networks, but with colleagues in her own network, for a top spot in a world crowded with more and more interviewers, including female journalists, who followed her lead. The New York Times called her America’s most popular television personality. For 29 years, she hosted the pre-Oscars interview show featuring Academy Award nominees.