- NAME: Barbara Walters
- OCCUPATION: News Anchor, Television Producer, Journalist
- BIRTH DATE: September 25, 1929 (Age: 84)
- Did You Know?: Walters is the first woman to co-anchor a network evening news program.
- EDUCATION: Sarah Lawrence College
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Boston, Massachusetts
- Full Name: Barbara Jill Walters
- AKA: Barbara Walters
- Nickname: "Today Girl"
- ZODIAC SIGN: Libra
Best Known For
Famed television journalist Barbara Walters is best known as the 11-year star of the Today show, and for being the first female co-anchor of a network evening news program.
Barbara Walters is hired by ABC News as Harry Reasoner's co-anchor and becomes the highest paid anchor at the time.
Harry Reasoner unwillingly works as co-anchor with Barbara Walters and shows his contempt.
Barbara Walters interviews with Harry Smith and reveals her early ambitions of becoming an actress.
Barbara Walters gets a big break when asked to cover Jackie Kennedy on her visit to India.
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Journalist Barbara Walters was born on September 25, 1929, in Boston, Massachusetts. In the early 1950s, Walters wrote for the Morning Show, airing on CBS. Throughout the 1960s and '70s, she developed her trademark interviewing style though long-standing jobs on NBC's Today show and ABC's 20/20. In 1997, Barbara Walters premiered a since popular talk show called The View.
"[Success] can make you a prima donna, or it can smooth the edges, take away the insecurities, let the nice things come out."
Journalist and writer Barbara Jill Walters was born on September 25, 1929, in Boston, Massachusetts, the daughter of Dena Seletsky Walters and nightclub impresario Lou Walters. She had two siblings: older sister Jacqueline, who was born developmentally disabled and died in 1985, and brother Burton, who died of pneumonia in 1932. Walters was born Jewish, though her parents weren't practicing Jews.
In 1937, Lou Walters opened a chain of nightclubs that expanded his business from Boston, Massachusetts, to Miami Beach, Florida. As a result, Barbara attended Fieldston and Birch Wathen private schools in New York City, and graduated from Miami Beach High School in 1947. Barbara was surrounded by celebrities from an early age, which has been said to account for her relaxed manner when interviewing famous people.
Walters attended Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York, graduating in 1953 with a bachelor's degree in English. After a brief stint as a secretary, she landed her first job in journalism as the assistant to publicity director and Republican activist Tex McCary of WRCA-TV. After sharpening her writing and producing skills at the NBC affiliate, Walters moved to CBS, where she wrote material for the network's Morning Show. In 1955, she married business executive Robert Henry Katz. They divorced in 1958.
In 1961, NBC hired Barbara Walters to work as a researcher and writer for its popular Today show. Her initial assignments were stories slanted toward female viewers. Within a few months, however, she lobbied for a breakthrough assignment to travel with First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy on a trip to India and Pakistan. The resulting report earned Walters increasing responsibility at the network.
In 1963, she married theatrical producer Lee Guber. They adopted a daughter, Jacqueline Dena, named after Walters's sister and mother. Walters and Guber divorced in 1976.
By 1964, Walters became a staple of the Today show—starring alongside Hugh Downs and, later, Frank McGee—and earned the nickname "Today girl." Though serving as a co-host, she wasn't given that official billing until 1974, and was restricted from asking questions of the show's "serious" guests until the male co-host had finished asking his.
Walters remained on the show for 11 years, during which time she honed her trademark probing-yet-casual interviewing technique. By 1972, she has established herself as a competent journalist, and was chosen to be part of the press corps that accompanied President Nixon on his historic trip to China.
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