Tue. Apr 16th, 2024

Barbara Walters Dead 93 – Journalistic Pioneer

By Brie Stimson , Charles Creitz | Fox News

Walters notably created ‘The View’ talk show

Barbara Walters, a pioneer for women in broadcasting and Emmy Award winner has died at 93, ABC News confirmed.

Walters was a longtime ABC News anchor who also hosted the primetime show “20/20” and created the women’s talk show “The View” in 1997.

Walters was born September 25, 1929, in Boston, and soon after graduating from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, N.Y., she took a job as a writer for CBS.

Later, in 1974, she joined NBC’s “Today” show as the first female host, after rising through the ranks at the peacock network, according to the New York Post’s PageSix.

Two years later, she joined ABC News, where she became the first female anchor of an evening news program and earned an unprecedented-for-the-time $1 million salary.

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 13: TV personality Barbara Walters attends the New York Public Library Lunch 2016: A New York State of Mind at The New York Public Library - Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on April 13, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 13: TV personality Barbara Walters attends the New York Public Library Lunch 2016: A New York State of Mind at The New York Public Library – Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on April 13, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)

It was at ABC News where she would make her biggest mark on journalism, first as a co-host of the popular “20/20” newsmagazine, and later creating “The View” in 1997. The morning talk show’s first regular panelists were Walters, Meredith Viera, Star Jones, Joy Behar and Debbie Matenopoulos.

Walters left the roundtable in 2014 but stayed on with “The View” as executive producer, according to the Post.

Walters’ exclusive interviews with rulers, royalty and entertainers brought her celebrity status that ranked with theirs, while placing her at the forefront of the trend in broadcast journalism that made stars of TV reporters and brought news programs into the race for higher ratings.

In 2004, Walters reflected on her success, remarking that she never imagined becoming a star news anchor:

New York, NY - 1998: (L-R) Charles Gibson, Sam Donaldson, Diane Sawyer, Barbara Walters, Hugh Downs, Connie Chung promotional photo for the ABC TV series '20/20'. (Photo by Michael O'Neill /Walt Disney Television via Getty Images)
New York, NY – 1998: (L-R) Charles Gibson, Sam Donaldson, Diane Sawyer, Barbara Walters, Hugh Downs, Connie Chung promotional photo for the ABC TV series ’20/20′. (Photo by Michael O’Neill /Walt Disney Television via Getty Images)

New York, NY – 1998: (L-R) Charles Gibson, Sam Donaldson, Diane Sawyer, Barbara Walters, Hugh Downs, Connie Chung promotional photo for the ABC TV series ’20/20′.  (Photo by Michael O’Neill /Walt Disney Television via Getty Images)

Of her interview style, Walters remarked to the Associated Press in 2008, “I’m not afraid when I’m interviewing, I have no fear.”

During her tenure in the news, Walters held several high-profile interviews, including a 2-hour sit down with former Clinton White House intern Monica Lewinsky in 1999; her first following the infamous scandal that led to the president’s impeachment.

She also interviewed Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, President Richard Nixon, Russian President Vladimir Putin – and lighter fare including Kermit The Frog & Miss Piggy, as well as Justin Bieber.

Speaking with the Los Angeles Times in 2013 about her retirement from journalism, Walters said she did not want to anchor another program or “climb another mountain.”

“I want to instead sit on a sunny field and admire the very gifted women — and OK, some men too — who will be taking my place,” she told the paper.

On Fox News’ “Hannity” Friday, media critic Joe Concha reacted to Walters’ death, saying the late journalist embodied the best of the profession.

“[W]e talk about liberal bias and we talk about all the things that are wrong with media now today in America. But there was a time, particularly back in the 70s, in the 80s, where Barbara Walters was a great journalist and a real trailblazer, for that matter, for females within this profession as far as anchoring before anybody else even thought about putting a female anchor on the air,” he said.

“And then obviously she came up with the idea for The View back in the 90s — It’s not the view that we watch today, obviously, but her idea at the time was an exchange of ideas and debate from all sides. And she will be missed.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report