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Also Known As: Barbara Jill Walters Died:
Born: September 25, 1929 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Boston, Massachusetts, USA Profession: newscaster, interviewer, TV host, news and non-fiction writer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Emmy winner Barbara Walters was a pioneering figure in the male-dominated world of network news in the 1960s and 1970s, who later emerged as an American broadcasting icon. A writer, researcher, producer and eventual on-air co-host of "The Today Show" (NBC, 1952- ), Walters continually pushed boundaries and her tenacious pursuit of hard news resulted in some of the biggest scoops of the era. In a significant victory for the droves of newly liberated women of the early 1970s, Walters was promoted to NBC News correspondent and entrusted with such responsibilities as covering President Nixon's historic visit to China in 1972. In 1976, Walters moved to ABC, where, after a troubled start as the first female co-anchor of a nightly network news broadcast, "World News Tonight" (ABC, 1976- ), she launched the infamous "Barbara Walters Specials" (ABC, 1976- ). These insightful profiles of top names in politics, sports and entertainment were ratings-grabbers, thanks to Walters' ingenious method of curve-ball questions that extracted the kind of personal revelations subjects least wanted to talk about. She continued to serve ABC news as a special correspondent and co-hosted the network's prime time news magazine...

Emmy winner Barbara Walters was a pioneering figure in the male-dominated world of network news in the 1960s and 1970s, who later emerged as an American broadcasting icon. A writer, researcher, producer and eventual on-air co-host of "The Today Show" (NBC, 1952- ), Walters continually pushed boundaries and her tenacious pursuit of hard news resulted in some of the biggest scoops of the era. In a significant victory for the droves of newly liberated women of the early 1970s, Walters was promoted to NBC News correspondent and entrusted with such responsibilities as covering President Nixon's historic visit to China in 1972. In 1976, Walters moved to ABC, where, after a troubled start as the first female co-anchor of a nightly network news broadcast, "World News Tonight" (ABC, 1976- ), she launched the infamous "Barbara Walters Specials" (ABC, 1976- ). These insightful profiles of top names in politics, sports and entertainment were ratings-grabbers, thanks to Walters' ingenious method of curve-ball questions that extracted the kind of personal revelations subjects least wanted to talk about. She continued to serve ABC news as a special correspondent and co-hosted the network's prime time news magazine "20/20" (1978- ) for over 20 years. As the creator of the controversial hit female-centric panel/talk show "The View" (ABC, 1997- ), Walters proved that after four-plus decades of catering to both hard news and entertainment audiences, she still had a knack for delivering timely topics in a way that appealed to audiences. Walters retired from "The View" and her other on-air duties in May 2014, drawing one of the most renowned careers in television news to an end.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Love, Marilyn (2012)
3.
4.
6.
 100 Years of Hope and Humor (2003) Interviewee
7.
9.
10.
 57th Annual Tony Awards, The (2003) Presenter
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Began career as writer for local East Coast TV stations
1961:
Worked as writer and researcher for NBC's "Today" show
:
Became NBC's regular "Today Girl"
1966:
Appeared on episodic basis on NBC's "Today"
1972:
Was only woman reporter in press group that accompanied President Nixon on his historic trip to China
1974:
Co-anchored (with Jim Hartz) NBC's "Today"
1976:
Hosted first primetime "Barbara Walters Special" with guests Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter, and Barbra Streisand and her then-companion Jon Peters
1976:
Co-anchored "ABC Evening News" with Harry Reasoner
1977:
Arranged first joint interview with Egypt's President Anwar Sadat and Israel's Prime Minister Menachem Begin
1978:
Served as correspondent for ABC's "World News Tonight"
1984:
Co-hosted ABC newsmagazine "20/20" with Hugh Downs; added second night of show 1997
1997:
Co-created, co-executive produced, and co-hosted hit daytime talk and information program "The View" (ABC)
2001:
Served as a producer of syndicated talk show "Iyanla"
2007:
Received star on Hollywood Walk of Fame
2008:
Published memoir <i>Audition</I>
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Miami Beach High School: Miami Beach , Florida - 1947
Sarah Lawrence College: Bronxville , New York - 1951

Notes

Some sources list 1929 as the year of Ms. Walters' birth.

"I was the kind nobody thought could make it. I had a funny Boston accent. I couldn't pronounce my R's. I wasn't a beauty." --Barbara Walters, in a 1974 interview in Newsweek

Responses to Walters's appointment to co-anchor the ABC Evening News with Harry Reasoner at a salary of a million dollars a year included a New Yorker cartoon with Walters ringleading a show-biz broadcast news complete with chorus line as well as Fred Friendly's remarks: "We make all kinds of statements about the right of the public to be informed. Those things can't get mixed up with million-dollar-a-year personalities. It's a sort of throwback to the days of Walter Winchell when news was done by name people who got a lot of money--but there wasn't much journalism in it...This isn't journalism, this is a minstrel show....is Barbara a journalist or is she Cher?" (See "The Complete Directory to Primetime TV Stars" and "Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television", vol. 6)

A justifiably exasperated Walters responded to the flurry of responses which followed the appointment which placed her on par with Harry Reasoner: "[It's] hypocritical that nobody questions Johnny Carson making $3 million a year. Newsmen supposedly must take less than entertainers because less somehow means pure. In five years people in TV news will be making much more than I." About her actual performance on the broadcast she noted, "I don't know what people expected...that I would come out in tap shoes and wear short skirts and nudge Harry and say cutesy things and bat my eyes?" (See "The Complete Directory to Primetime TV Stars" and "Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television", vol. 6)

Walters was named one of the most admired women in America in Gallup Polls (1982, 1984)

She was cited as one of America's 100 Most Important Women of the Century, Good Housekeeping magazine.

Walter was also named one of America's 100 Most Important Women of the Century, Ladies Home Journal

She was inducted to the Television Academy Hall of Fame (1990)

She received the Hubert H. Humphrey Freedom Prize from the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith (1978)

She is also the recipient of a honorary doctorate from Ohio State University (1971)

Walters was awarded a honorary doctorate by Marymount College (1975)

She received a honorary doctorate from Temple University.

She is also the recipient of a honorary doctorate conferred by Hofstra University.

Walters was awarded a honorary degree by Wheaton College (1983)

She was also honored with career retrospective held at New York City's Museum of Broadcasting as part of their Fifth Annual Television Festival

Walters served as honorary chair to the National Association for Help for Mentally Retarded Children (1970)

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Robert Henry Katz. Business executive. First marriage; marriage annulled.
companion:
Roy Cohn. Lawyer. Nearly engaged; McCarthy aide during the HUAC hearings; later died from complications from AIDS.
husband:
Lee Guber. Theatrical producer. Married on December 8, 1963; divorced in 1976.
husband:
Merv Adelman. TV production executive. Married on May 10, 1986; filed for divorce in August 1992.
companion:
John Warner. US Senator. Dated from 1996 to 2000; formerly married to Catherine Mellon and Elizabeth Taylor; Walters always maintained that she had known Warner since c. 1974 and that they were only "good friends".
VIEW COMPLETE COMPANION LISTING

Family close complete family listing

father:
Lou Walters. Nightclub owner, theatrical producer. Founder of the "Latin Quarter" nightclub chain.
mother:
Dena Walters.
daughter:
Jacqueline Dena Katz. Born c. 1968; adopted with first husband Robert Katz.

Bibliography close complete biography

"How to Talk to Practically Anybody About Practically Anything" Doubleday

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