Best Known For
TV Journalist Barbara Walters was on the Today show for 11 years. She is also the first woman to co-anchor a network (ABC) 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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She is sometimes criticized for displaying personal emotion to pump ratings and relying on "softball questions." However, Walters' comprehensive and wide range of interviews presents a deep chronicle of the personalities that influenced the latter 20th century. In 1995, Walters conducted the first interview with Christopher Reeve after the horseback-riding accident that left him paralyzed. The following April,
the broadcast received the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award. In 1999, Walters' two-hour-long exclusive with the former White House intern Monica Lewinsky made broadcasting history as the highest-rated news program ever broadcast on a single network.
Walters has conducted timely interviews with world leaders, providing viewers with a more three-dimensional view of these larger-than-life personalities. They include the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi; the UK's first woman prime minister, Margaret Thatcher; the Dalai Lama; Russia's first postcommunist president, Boris Yeltsin; and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. While interviewing Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, Walters confronted him with, "In America, we read that you are unstable. We read that you are mad." She challenged Fidel Castro on the lack of freedom of the press in Cuba, to which he agreed. Soon after the 9/11 attacks, she traveled to Saudi Arabia to interview the brother of Osama bin Laden as well as Saudi foreign minister Prince Saud and several Saudi middle-class men and women. In total, the interviews presented a different picture of the Saudi population and their view of the world at a time when most Americans were vexed by the fact that 15 of the 19 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia.
In August 1997, Barbara Walters premiered a mid-morning talk show called The View, for which she is co-executive producer and co-host. The program features unique perspectives from five women on politics, family, careers, and general public-interest topics. At various times the panel of women has included reporter Lisa Ling, attorney Star Jones, journalist and working mother Meredith Vieira, and comedian Joy Behar. Through the years several other notable women, including Whoopi Goldberg, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Sherri Shepherd, Rosie O'Donnell, and Debbie Matenopoulos sat on the show's panel.
In 2006, Barbara Walters found herself in the headlines when she appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show and revealed several "secrets" from her memoir, Audition—among them her affair with then-U.S. Senator Edward Brooke during the 1970s. In the book, Walters also discussed her animosity with former View co-host Star Jones over Jones' weight loss and departure from the talk show.
In May 2013, Walters announced her retirement from television journalism. She said that she will go off the air in 2014, but she will remain an executive producer on her popular talk show The View. According to the Los Angeles Times, Walters explained that "I do not want to appear on another program or climb another mountain.
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Taking on topics of politics, entertainment, women's issues and more, female talk show hosts have proven to be every bit as engaging, intelligent, and funny as their male counterparts. Oprah Winfrey's 25-year-reign as the queen of talk is unparalleled, but many other female talk show hosts have come into their own as well, including Tyra Banks, Ellen DeGeneres, Sally Jessy Raphael and Kelly Ripa.
Visit Biography.com's Women's History group to explore more biographies, photos and videos of some the world's most fascinating women.
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