US TV news legend Barbara Walters dies aged 93


She blazed a trail for women in an industry run by white middle-aged men by creating a template that has been widely copied for high-profile political and celebrity interviews.

Barbara Walters, the first woman to anchor an evening news show in the United States, has died at the age of 93, ABC announced late Friday (Dec 30).

During his five-decade career, Walters interviewed US presidents, foreign leaders like Anwar Sadat and Fidel Castro, and A-list celebrities, becoming a touchstone of American culture.

It is not known what caused Walters’ death or where he died, according to ABC.

ABC reported that Walters won 12 Emmy awards, all but one while at the network.

As of 2014, she had largely retired from television after launching the daytime program “The View” in 1997.

Women blazed a trail in an industry dominated by white middle-aged men under Walters’ template for high-profile political and celebrity interviews.

On her last appearance on “The View,” Walters said, “I am so proud to see so many young women making and reporting news.”

My legacy will be if I helped make that happen.”

NBC’s morning news and entertainment show “Today” launched her news career in 1961.

As the first woman to anchor a US evening news program in 1976, Walters earned the then-unprecedented salary of $1 million.

The following year, she was named co-host of the news magazine programme “20/20”, beginning a two-decade run.

Since Richard Nixon, Walters interviewed every president and first lady of the United States.

Harry Reasoner, her co-anchor on “ABC Evening News,” died in 1991 at age 68 after barely concealing his displeasure with her.

Among Walters’ interviewees were Boris Yeltsin, Margaret Thatcher, Indira Gandhi, Saddam Hussein, and Vladimir Putin, as well as Michael Jackson, Angelina Jolie, and Harrison Ford.

The media scholar Robert Thompson at Syracuse University in New York told AFP in 2014 that she helped break into the old boys’ network of broadcast journalism in the United States.

In 1953, Walters graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in New York with a degree in English.

In 1974, she became the network’s first female anchor, co-hosting the morning “Today” show program. Two years later, she joined ABC.

One of her husbands was married twice. Walters was married four times to three men.

One of the most powerful figures in US mass media, Oprah Winfrey, appeared on the farewell episode of “The View.”

During her first audition for a television job, Winfrey pretended to be Barbara Walters, not knowing what to do.

She crossed her legs like Barbara and sat like Barbara.


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