By: Zachary Lopez (ZachNews):
Picture: ABC Network (Courtesy)
Manhattan, New York: Barbara Walters, legendary broadcast journalist, died during the night in Friday, December 30th, 2022 inside her home.
In a statement, representative Cindi Berger said, “Barbara Walters passed away peacefully in her home surrounded by loved ones. She lived her life with no regrets. She was a trailblazer not only for female journalists, but for all women.”
There was no immediate word on a cause of 93 year old journalist’s death.
Born in Boston in 1929, Barbara Walters attended Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York,
Barbara Walters started in the early 1960s as a writer and researcher on NBC’s “Today” show, but became a reporter-at-large within a year, responsible for developing, writing and editing her own stories.
When at NBC, Barbara Walters began to develop her signature interviewing technique: questions that seemed casual but turned out to be revealing.
In a 2000 interview with the Television Academy reflecting on her career, Barbara Walters described her process for developing those questions.
“I write questions on cards, and I write hundreds… I write everything I can think of. I go around and I say to people, ‘What would you ask if you could? What would you ask?’ And then I boil them down and boil them down and boil them down,” said Barbara Walters.
In 1974, Barbara Walters was named the first female co-host of “Today.”
Barbara Walters left “Today” about 2 years later for ABC, where she became the first woman to co-anchor a network evening news broadcast.
Barbara Walters reached spectacular heights at ABC, including arranging and conducting the first-ever joint interview with Egypt’s President Anwar Sadat and Israel’s Prime Minister Menachem Begin in November 1977 as they led their countries to a history-making peace accord.
“It was a historic interview, and it’s one I’m very proud just to have sort of, you know, been involved with. I can’t take credit for making great history. But when people say to me, ‘Of all the interviews you’ve done, or of all the people you know…’ It’s so hard to answer them. But I usually say Anwar Sadat,” Barbara Walters said in the Television Academy interview, highlighting the impact Sadat’s actions had on the future of the region.
On ABC’s newsmagazine “20/20” and in her own specials, Barbara Walters continued adding to her list of big interviews.
Barbara Walters guests included Russian President Boris Yeltsin, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Cuban leader Fidel Castro, Libya’s Moammar Qadaffi and Iraq’s Sadaam Hussein.
Barbara Walters also conducted the first interview with President George W. Bush after the September 11 terrorist attacks, and was the first American journalist to interview Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In 1999, Barbara Walters also secured the first TV interview on ABC with Monica Lewinsky in the wake of the scandal that led to the impeachment and acquittal of President Bill Clinton, which that interview became the highest-rated news program ever broadcast by a single network.
Along the way, Barbara Walters became one of the best-known and most admired women in America — famous enough to be spoofed on “Saturday Night Live.”
Barbara Walters also helped create the mid-morning talk show “The View,” which she said came to be in 1997 when the network asked if she had any ideas for daytime TV.
Barbara Walters told the Television Academy that “The View” allowed her to show a side of her personality that didn’t come across in a typical interview.
“People saw me as very authoritative and very serious because that’s what I did mostly. And on here, I can be myself — I have to be careful, because these other women can sort of go too far with me, you know, they’ll ask me about my sex life or who I was — you know, what I did, I don’t know, personal questions, what I did last Saturday night. But it’s a chance for me to be much more myself, and to laugh, and to speak spontaneously, and it’s been very successful,” said Barbara Walters.
In 2004, after 25 years as co-host and chief correspondent of “20/20,” Barbara Walters left the show, but she remained at the network to create primetime news specials, including her annual “10 Most Fascinating People” broadcasts, featuring many of the year’s biggest celebrities and newsmakers.
Speaking to Oprah Winfrey at the time, Barbara Walters said she wanted to leave “20/20” to see more of the world.
“I’ve worked all my life, and I’ve never had time to go to a city or country where I haven’t been in the studio. I watched [a primetime special about Oprah’s work in South Africa] not just with tears but with yearning. I’ve been to China four times — but I’ve never really seen China,” said Barbara Walters.
During an appearance on “The View” in 2013, Barbara Walters announced her intention to retire from television the following year.
“I want instead to sit in a sunny field and admire the very gifted women — OK, some men too — who will be taking my place,” Barbara Walters said at the time.
Barbara Walters won dozens of awards throughout her career, including the Overseas Press Club’s highest award, a Daytime Emmy for “The View,” and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
There’s also a wax figure of Barbara Walters at Madame Tussauds in New York City, and a star with her name on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
For her final day on “The View” in 2014, female journalists from across the decades and networks joined Barbara Walters on stage; guest list included Jane Pauley, Katie Couric, Gayle King, Savannah Guthrie, Deborah Norville, Connie Chung and many others.
Our thoughts, prayers and condolences to the family friends of Barbara Walters; thanks for the many years of broadcast journalism to the people.