It is hard to imagine that Barbara Walters retires and will no longer be the anticipated presence in our living rooms on a regular basis. It’s equally hard to believe that she’s been a TV journalist for the past 53 years and yet, it’s time to take a walk down the memory lane.
Barbara Walters is beautiful, intelligent, successful, rich and famous. She didn’t get lucky, she’s earned her luck against formidable odds.
Barbara Walters (born on September 25th 1929 in Boston, MA) is an American broadcast journalist, author and television producer.
Barbara Walters first joined the NBC News program The Today Show as a researcher and writer in 1961. Few months later, she was promoted to an on-camera reporter and eventually became a co-host of The Today Show, but it wasn’t until 1974 that she was officially given a co-host’s credit.
She went on to co-anchor The ABC Evening News with Harry Reasoner and became the first female to anchor a television newscast. (She became also the first anchorperson to earn $1 million a year!)
After the rather unpopular run on ABC Evening News, Barbara was offered the prime time Barbara Walters Specials which gave her the opportunity to showcase her journalistic talent. (Barbara’s interview with Monica Lewinsky became the highest-rated news program ever broadcast by a single network!)
Walters was also a co-host and after Hugh Downs retired, a sole host of ABC’s popular 20/20 news program (from 1984 to 2004). In 1997 she created The View and appeared on it as one of the co-hosts.
Barbara Walters contended with sexism, discrimination and lack of social acceptance and conquered them. In the process, she gained recognition for her professionalism, integrity, high journalistic standards, creativity, persistence, her ability to land interviews no one else could and eliciting surprising answers from the subjects of her interviews.
Barbara Walters created her own, unique interview format and style. It was Socrates who believed that the secret of enriching conversation isn’t necessarily the response but a well thought-out question. There’s no doubt that Ms. Walters mastered the art of a thoughtful and often times, provocative interview questions. That’s why even though she’s interviewed numerous heads of State, many infamous characters and countless celebrities, she contributed as much to those famous interviews as the politicians and stars she interviewed.
Barbara Walters, the world-class journalist who paved the way for female broadcast journalists of today was honored and celebrated by all her peers, fans and friends as she prepares for retirement. The tributes revealed that she’s not only an accomplished and respected journalist but a well-liked friend.
Barbara Walters is a Living Legend who’s created an impressive body of work and a legacy of respect for her work as much as her courage.
It seems that above all, Barbara cemented her place in history for breaking the glass ceiling that prevented women from becoming successful broadcast journalists. Years ago, while speaking about Fred Astaire, Bob Thaves said “Sure he was great, but don’t forget Ginger Rogers did everything he did backwards…and in high heels!” So did Barbara, but unlike Ginger Rogers, Barbara Walters outshone most of her male “dancing partners”.