Barbara Walters, a distinguished interviewer and host known for her hard hitting questions no matter who she is interviewing has passed away today at the ripe age of 93.
She was the first woman to host a major TV show in the United States, and was a trailblazer for many future female TV hosts and journalists, breaking gender barriers in a traditionally male dominated industry. She was born in Boston.
Barbara Walters achieved success as a TV host and journalist despite her speaking difficulties – She was known to have trouble pronouncing R’s which caused her to be parodied by other comedy shows like SNL.
Walters, who was the host and creator of the ABC hit women’s talk show The View, passed away peacefully at her home in New York.
Robert Iger, the CEO of Walt Disney Co who owns ABC announced the news on social media.
In her 50 year career, she interviewed many esteemed and controversial world leaders, including Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan and Vladimir Putin.
She has also interviewed every US President since Richard Nixon. She also earned many accolades, winning 12 Emmy awards.
She have met almost every important person in the world, certainly more than any other journalist. Walters never knew that she would have such an exciting life like this, she exclaimed in a 2004 interview.
While at times she has faced criticism for asking vapid questions, for example when she asked Katharine Hepburn about her favorite tree, she has also asked many tough questions right to the face of many world leaders.
For example, she directly asked Putin if he had ever “eliminated” someone. Of course, he answered no.
Other than sober and nerve-wracking interviews going toe-to-toe with dictators and world leaders, she has also hosted many celebrity focused shows, such as one about the most fascinating people in a year.
However, she decided that she got tired of interviewing celebrities and stopped hosting such shows.
Barbara Walters began her career after college by joining NBC Today as a writer and producer. She managed to enjoy screen time with unique stories such as when she tried working as a Playboy Bunny for one day.
CREDIT: Rowland Scherman/Getty Images
When she started making a name for herself, she earned the ire and jealousy of her colleagues in NBC. NBC host Frank McGee hated seeing her on air and tried to stop her from acquiring more prominent roles in the news station.
Her co-host, Harry Reasoner heavily disliked her, and the tension between them was obvious when they are seen on the air.
“I walk into that studio everyday and no one would even talk to me. Those two men brutally treated me and I couldn’t talk about that time of my life without crying.”, she reminisced in an interview.
After that tumultuous phase in her career, she became a host of the ABC show 20/20, where she was a host for 25 years.
That was when she became known for interviewing prominent statesmen and was called “America’s most famous television personality” by other news outlets.
She can be known for extremely blunt and brutally honest interviews, when she declared to the Kardashian Family on television that they “have no talent” and asked celebrity chef Martha Stewart, who was just released from prison, why “so many people hate her”.
Although she has been next to many important and power people for interviews throughout her career, her private life is also no different.
Walters married three times to entrepreneur Robert Katz, TV executive Mery Adelson and producer Lee Gruber. She also had relationships with people like former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and former Senator Edward Brooke.