The iconic TV journalist best known for her interviews with presidents, world leaders and Hollywood stars has died at the age of 93, a representative for Walters confirmed to CBS News on Friday night.
Representative Cindy Berger said in a statement: “Barbara Walters passed away peacefully at her home surrounded by loved ones. She lived her life with no regrets. She was a trailblazer not only for women journalists, but for all women.” ”
Nothing could be immediately said about the cause of Walters’ death.
Walters was a familiar face on America’s television sets for more than 50 years, interviewing every president from Richard Nixon to Barack Obama and few others could match.
Born in Boston in 1929, Walters attended Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York, according to her ABC News profile. She started as a writer and researcher on NBC’s “Today” show in the early 1960s, but within a year had become a reporter-at-large, developing, writing and editing her own stories. was responsible for.
It was at NBC that Walters began to develop his signature interview technique: asking questions that seemed casual but were revealing. Reflecting on his career in a 2000 interview with the Television Academy, he described his process for developing those questions.
“I write questions on cards, and I write hundreds…” she said. “I write down everything I can think of. I go around and say to people, ‘If you could ask what would you ask? What would you ask?’ And then I boil them and boil them and boil them.”
In 1974, Walters was named the first female co-host of “Today”. Two years later, she left for ABC, where she became the first woman to co-anchor a network evening newscast.
She rose to great heights at the ABC, including arranging and conducting the first ever joint interview in November 1977 with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin as they led their countries to a history-making peace deal.
“It was a historic interview, and it’s an interview that I’m very proud to, you know, be involved in. I can’t take credit for making great history. But when people say to me, ‘All of you Interviews done, or of all the people you know … ‘It is very difficult to answer them.
Former CBS News Anchor Dan Rather Tweeted Friday said that Walters was a “pioneer and true pro” who “outwitted, out-thought, and out-performed her competitors. She left the world better for it. She will be greatly missed.”
On ABC’s newsmagazine “20/20” and in his own specials, Walters continued to add to his list of big interviews. His guests included Russian President Boris Yeltsin, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Cuban leader Fidel Castro, Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi, and Iraq’s Saddam Hussein. She 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, Walters also secured the first TV interview with Monica Lewinsky in the wake of the scandal that led to the impeachment and acquittal of President Bill Clinton. According to ABC, the interview became the highest-rated news program ever broadcast by a single network.
“Barbara was a true legend, a pioneer not only for women in journalism but for journalism itself. She was a one-of-a-kind reporter, taking many of the most important interviews of our time with heads of state and leaders. Biggest Personalities And reigns for the epitome of the game,” wrote Robert Iger, CEO of Disney, which owns ABC.
Along the way, she became one of the best-known and most admired women in America – famous enough to go bad on “Saturday Night Live.”
Walters also helped create the mid-morning talk show “The View”, which she said came about in 1997 when the network asked if she had any ideas for daytime TV. She told the Television Academy that “The View” allowed her to show a side of her personality that is not revealed in a typical interview.
“People saw me as very authoritative and very serious because that’s what I mostly did. And here, I can be myself — I have to be careful, because these other women can go too far with me, you know. , They’d 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,” she said. “But it’s a chance for me to be more myself, and to laugh, and to speak spontaneously, and it’s been very successful.”
In 2004, after 25 years as co-host and chief correspondent of “20/20”, Walters left the show, but she remained on the network to create primetime news specials, including their annual “10 Most Fascinating People”. broadcasts, which featured many of the year’s biggest personalities and newsmakers.
Speaking to Oprah Winfrey at the time, 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,” she said. “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.”
During an appearance on “The View” in 2013, heto retire from television the following year.
“I’d rather sit in a sunny field and admire the very talented women — okay, some men too — who will be taking my place,” she said at the time.
Walters has won dozens of awards throughout his 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. She also has a wax statue at Madame Tussauds in New York City, and a star bearing her name on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
forOn “The View” in 2014, female reporters from decades and networks joined her on stage. The guest list included Jen Pauley, Katie Couric, Gayle King, Savannah Guthrie, Deborah Norville, Connie Chung and many more.
Looking at the women, Walters said, “This is my legacy…they are my legacy.”