Some pretty sad news to report as we wrap up 2022, as iconic TV journalist Barbara Walters, one of the most celebrated on-air personalities ever, has died at ninety-three. ABC News, her former employer, announced the news via Twitter. No word yet on the cause of death.
— ABC News (@ABC) December 31, 2022
Her many accomplishments include being the first female anchor of a television news program and hosting the ABC Evening News opposite iconic broadcaster Harry Reasoner. This was only the beginning of Walters’ ascent, with her being named the host of ABC’s 20/20 in 1979, a job she kept until 2004. She was known for her brilliant, incisive interviews, where many tight-lipped celebs opened up in ways people didn’t expect, such as when Patrick Swayze started crying on air when paying tribute to his late father. Walters always seemed empathetic, even when interviews occasionally got tense, such as when she questioned Sean Connery about infamous comments he made to Playboy Magazine about hitting women. She would also interview controversial world leaders, such as the Shah of Iran, Vladimir Putin, Fidel Castro and more.
In 1997, Walters helped launch the daytime chat show, The View, which has become a staple of daytime TV. She was one of the original hosts and continued in that role until 2015. At that point, she retired, and hadn’t made any public appearances since 2016. Rumours suggest she was in ill health in recent years.
Of course, Walters leaves an incredible legacy, having conducted some of the most watched and influential television interviews of all time. Indeed, she was one of a kind and will be missed.