Barbara Walters, Trailblazing TV Journalist, Dead at 93

Barbara Walters Dead

Longtime TV news anchor and host Barbara Walters, known for her work on NBC’s Today and ABC’s 20/20 and The View, has died at the age of 93.

ABC News tweeted the news Friday evening, posting: “Barbara Walters, who shattered the glass ceiling and became a dominant force in an industry once dominated by men, has died. She was 93.”

A native of Boston and graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, Walters joined the staff of NBC’s Today show in 1961 and became an on-air personality soon after. She was named the show’s first female co-host in 1964, hosting alongside her future 20/20 colleague Hugh Downs.

She moved to ABC and became the first female co-anchor of a network news program in 1976, co-anchoring the ABC Evening News with Harry Reasoner.

In 1979, Walters began co-hosting the ABC weekly newsmagazine 20/20 along with Downs, where she conducted a number of intimate interviews with Hollywood stars and world leaders. She also interviewed celebrities on an annual pre-Oscars special, The Barbara Walters Special, that ran for 30 years. (Her distinctive way of speaking was lampooned by Gilda Radner on Saturday Night Live, who introduced herself as “Baba Wawa.”)

Walters was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 1989, after 25 years in television.

In 1997, Walters also created and co-hosted ABC’s The View, a daytime talk show anchored by an all-female panel. She retired from co-hosting the show in 2014, but remained an executive producer.

Walters stepped down from her 20/20 duties in 2004 and ended her pre-Oscars specials in 2010.

Watch video below of Walters’ October 1976 ABC News debut, plus a brief tribute that aired Friday night on ABC. ABC will also air a two-hour special this Sunday night, about Walters.

 

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