Walters was the first woman to become a television news superstar, interviewing rulers, royalty and entertainers for decades.

Barbara Walters, one of the most visible women on US television as the first female anchor on an American network evening news broadcast and one of television’s most prominent interviewers, has died at the age of 93.

US television network ABC broke into its broadcast to announce Walters’ death on air on Friday night.

“She lived her life with no regrets. She was a trailblazer not only for female journalists, but for all women,” her publicist Cindi Berger also said in a statement, adding that Walters died peacefully in her New York home.

The circumstances of her death were not given.

Walters had worked for nearly 40 years at ABC, and previously at NBC, interviewing rulers, royalty and entertainers, bringing her celebrity status and placing her at the forefront of a trend that made stars of television reporters.

“Barbara was a true legend, a pioneer not just for women in journalism but for journalism itself,” said Bob Iger, the CEO of ABC parent, The Walt Disney Company.

FILE - Oprah Winfrey is greeted by Barbara Walters, left, as she arrives at New York's Plaza Hotel, Nov. 11, 1994. Barbara Walters, the intrepid interviewer, anchor and program host who led the way as the first woman to become a TV news superstar during a network career remarkable for its duration and variety, has died, Friday, Dec. 30, 2022. She was 93. (AP Photo/Clark Jones, File)
Oprah Winfrey is greeted by Barbara Walters, left, as she arrives at New York’s Plaza Hotel on November 11, 1994 [File: Clark Jones/AP]

Walters interviewed an array of world leaders, including Cuba’s Fidel Castro, Britain’s Margaret Thatcher, Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi, Iraq’s ruler Saddam Hussein, Russian presidents Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin, and every US president and first lady since Richard and Pat Nixon.

“I never thought I’d have this kind of a life,” Walters said in a 2004 Chicago Tribune interview. “I’ve met everyone in the world. I’ve probably met more people, more heads of state, more important people, even almost than any president, because they’ve only had eight years.”

In 1976, Walters made headlines as the first female network news anchor, with an unprecedented $1m salary at ABC. Late in her career, she gave infotainment a new twist with The View, a live ABC weekday show with an all-female panel for whom any topic was on the table and who welcomed guests ranging from world leaders to teen idols.

FILE - President Vladimir Putin, left, shakes hands with U.S. television network ABC journalist Barbara Walters in Moscow's Kremlin, Monday, Nov. 5, 2001. Barbara Walters, the intrepid interviewer, anchor and program host who led the way as the first woman to become a TV news superstar during a network career remarkable for its duration and variety, has died, Friday, Dec. 30, 2022. She was 93. (AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel, File)
Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with ABC journalist Barbara Walters at the Kremlin in Moscow on November 5, 2001 [File: Mikhail Metzel/AP]

A statement from the show said Walters created The View in 1997 “to champion women’s voices”.

“We’re proud to be part of her legacy,” it added.

In May 2014, Walters taped her final episode of The View amid much ceremony to end a five-decade career in television but she continued to make occasional TV appearances.

FILE - Co-hosts, from left, Meredith Vieira, Star Jones, Joy Behar and Barbara Walters sit on the set of "The View" on June 5, 2003, in New York. Walters, a superstar and pioneer in TV news, has died, according to ABC News on Friday, Dec. 30, 2022. She was 93. (AP Photo/Ed Bailey, File)
Co-hosts, from left, Meredith Vieira, Star Jones, Joy Behar and Barbara Walters on the set of The View on June 5, 2003, in New York [File: Ed Bailey/AP]

Walters graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in 1943 and eventually landed a temporary, behind-the-scenes assignment at NBC’s Today show in 1961. She subsequently began getting air time with offbeat stories such as a day in the life of a nun or the tribulations of a Playboy bunny, and became a regular on the programme.

She had the first interview with Rose Kennedy after the assassination of her son, Robert, as well as with Princess Grace of Monaco and President Richard Nixon. She travelled to India with Jacqueline Kennedy, to China with Nixon and to Iran to cover the shah’s gala party.

In 1977, she scored a joint interview with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin before they made peace.

Walters became so prominent that her star quality sometimes overshadowed the people she was questioning. The New York Times called her “arguably America’s best-known television personality” but also observed that “what we remember most about a Barbara Walters interview is Barbara Walters”.

Critics sometimes found her cloying, but she also could be blunt, such as in asking Martha Stewart, the lifestyle guru who went to prison in an insider stock trading case, “Martha, why do so many people hate you?”

FILE - This Sept. 21, 1977 file photo shows Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat, right, presenting ABC's Barbara Walters with a handmade dress and mother-of-pearl box following an interview with him in Beirut. Barbara Walters, the intrepid interviewer, anchor and program host who led the way as the first woman to become a TV news superstar during a network career remarkable for its duration and variety, has died, Friday, Dec. 30, 2022. She was 93. (AP Photo/Harry Koundakjian, File)
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat presenting Walters with a handmade dress and mother-of-pearl box following an interview in Beirut [File: Harry Koundakjian/AP]



Source link

By nmybx

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *