Barbara Walters, the intrepid interviewer, news anchor and television talk show presenter who was the pioneering female to reach celebrity status in broadcasting throughout her impressive career that spanned many years and genres, has passed away at 93.
“She lived her life with no regrets. She was a trailblazer not only for women journalists but for all women,” her publicist, Cindi Berger, said in a statement that said Walters died peacefully at her home in New York.
In 1976 Walters became the first female news anchor in the U.S., with an unprecedented salary of $1 million. She was competing, not only with rival networks but with peers within her own, in a world with more and more interviewers, including many women who followed in her footsteps.
ABC Television, where she worked for many years until his retirement in 2014, interrupted its programming to announce Walters’ passing Friday night.
No representative from ABC reacted straight away beyond releasing the declaration from Bob Iger, the head administrator of The Walt Disney Company, which owns the network.
“Barbara was a true legend, a trailblazer not only for women in journalism but for journalism itself,” Iger said.
Walters, journalist, star and celebrity
For nearly four decades of her career at ABC and even before that, when she was with NBC, her exclusive interviews with politicians, royalty and celebrities earned her celebrity status equivalent to those mentioned figures. This further put her at the head of the trend which saw television reporters become renowned figures.
Late in her career, she put a new spin on infotainment with “The View,” a live weekday ABC show in which her female hosts covered everything from world leaders to teen idols.
A proclamation from the show commented that Walters constructed “The View” in 1997 “to defend female voices.” “We are delighted to be part of her inheritance,” the release continued.
“I never expected this!” she said in 2004 in taking stock of her success. “I always thought I would be a television screenwriter. I never thought I’d get in front of a camera.”
Walters proved to be a master of the performance space, especially when she was throwing sharp inquiries at her subjects.
“I hope to be remembered as a good and courageous journalist. I hope that some of my interviews, not created history, but witnessed history, although I know that term has been used,” Walters told the AP after leaving “The View” in 2014.