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Barbara Walters, a 50-year veteran of US television, died at 93.
She was born in Boston in 1929, at the commencement of the Great Depression. She earned 12 Emmys.
She spoke with many music and pop culture icons and every US president from Richard Nixon to Donald Trump.
The daughter of an entertainment booking agent began her journalism career in 1961 at NBC, where she became a producer of women’s interest articles.
She worked her way up in a male-dominated sector and made history in 1974 when she became the first woman to co-host a US news broadcast on NBC’s Today Show.
She smashed the glass ceiling again when she became the first female network news anchor on ABC’s primetime newscast. Again, her $1 million salary catapulted her to media fame.
After 52 years on The View, she announced her retirement in 2014.
She was joined on the broadcast by Hillary Clinton and Oprah Winfrey, who Barbara Walters had previously interviewed.
During her career, she met with numerous world leaders, including Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom; Vladimir Putin, President of Russia; Fidel Castro, Anwar Sadat, President of Egypt; and Menachem Begin, Prime Minister of Israel.
She also spoke with Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, a few months after a public revolt turned into a civil war.
Many people have expressed their appreciation to Walters.
How Barbara Walters used “The View” to profoundly alter her legacy
If Barbara Walters were still alive, she would have requested a different time to inform everyone about her passing. Wouldn’t that encourage more people to watch? Of course, there would have to be “breaking news” banners on every network and a reel of her best interviews with people like Fidel Castro, Monica Lewinsky, and Barack Obama.
Barbara Walters enjoyed many things, but her favorite was being on TV, TV, and TV again. She enjoyed winning almost as much as she enjoyed being on TV. And she did it again and again, shattering every glass ceiling she encountered.
Anyone who has seen her work knows that Barbara was the first woman to host “Today” in 1974 and the first woman to co-anchor the nightly news in 1976. Everyone who saw her said it. She became well-known and admired for her specials in which she had difficult dialogues with leaders of state and performers. We don’t have kings and queens in the United States, but Barbara was the queen of journalism.
When Barbara Walters originally launched “The View” in 1997, it was a dull show in which she and four ladies known only by their first names (Meredith, Star, Joy, and Debbie) discussed the day’s news. For a year, nothing much happened until Barbara dismissed Debbie on live TV, was mocked on “Saturday Night Live,” and became a big issue differently.
Before “The View,” Barbara never delivered sex jokes or talked about her personal life. Before Twitter, “The View” made it acceptable for news anchors to say whatever they wanted. But, more importantly, it brought politics to daytime television and to stay-at-home moms, whose knowledge was sometimes undervalued by TV executives.
Barbara Walters also created something that may be called a reality TV show before “Survivor” came out. “The View” rapidly became a subject of interest for tabloids, which reported on dramatic “catfights” and frequent turmoil behind the scenes.
This is now how the panel shows function. And Barbara became the Martha Washington of our day when views were more important than news. Writing about your emotions is one sort of journalism.
Barbara used to boast that she was so successful because she never sweated or needed to use the restroom. But speaking with her was terrifying. Not because she wasn’t kind, but because you’re trying to gain information from the best interviewer on the planet. She wasn’t easy to get along with and didn’t open up immediately. It didn’t help that her office heater at ABC News was on fire.
Barbara Walters, like most great characters, could have done better. She didn’t comprehend or follow teamwork since she believed she had to fight for every opportunity. She would try to prevent a coworker from receiving a scoop because she had no connections in the newsroom. She didn’t intervene when “The View” became a shambles backstage because she didn’t care if her co-hosts acted like bullies as long as they had decent ratings.
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Barbara would have stayed on television indefinitely if she could. But, unfortunately, her health deteriorated as she approached the end of her 80s. She developed dementia in her final years, which is why we haven’t seen or heard from her in a few years.
After all, Barbara Walters couldn’t have remained silent without a horrible condition. She was always concerned that no one would remember her after she left television. But it would never happen. Barbara deserves to be remembered in history and on gossip pages, something no one could ever claim of the male anchors.