Facts about Barbara Walters

Barbara Walters died at 93 years old
Best known as: 20/20 veteran and host of ABC's The View



Barbara Walters Biography

Barbara Walters was the veteran broadcaster whose TV career extended from her prominent 1970s interviews with world leaders through her 21st-century successes with the morning show The View.

Barbara Walters began working in TV in the late 1950s. She spent fifteen years (1961-76) with NBC as a correspondent and then a co-host for The Today Show, then jumped to ABC News in 1976 to become the first woman to co-anchor a nightly news show. (Her on-air partner was veteran newsman Harry Reasoner.)

Although her stint as a news co-anchor was a flop, Walters became one of the most high-profile women in television broadcasting and a pioneer in a field dominated by men. She had a long run on ABC’s magazine show 20/20 (1979-2004), and hosted a popular series of Barbara Walters Specials, in which she interviewed personalities from politics and entertainment, including Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat; Monica Lewinsky; Fidel Castro; Demi Moore; George Clooney; and the Dalai Lama.

Her annual post-Academy Awards interviews with movie stars (and her annual review of newsmakers, The 10 Most Fascinating People) established Walters’ late-era love-her-or-hate-her persona: a soft-focus interviewer whose subjects could be relied on to be offer a blend of safely “intimate” revelations and tears.  (The Washington Post called her “popular culture’s grande dame of the televised interview.”)

In 1997, Barbara Walters co-created and began starring on The View, a morning chat show whose all-female panel ranged from Debbie Matenopolous to Whoopi Goldberg to Jenny McCarthy. The show was a big hit and was still going strong in 2014 when Walters stepped down from the panel and retired from regular on-air work entirely.

Extra credit

During the early seasons of Saturday Night Live, comedian Gilda Radner parodied Barbara Walters in the form of a character named “Babwa Wawa,” a play on Walters’s name that mocked her distinctive style of speech.


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