Barbara Walters, the legendary newswoman known for her work on the Today show, 20/20, The View, and as a longtime correspondent for ABC News, died at her home in New York on Friday. She was 93.
“She lived her life with no regrets,” Walters’s publicist Cindi Berger said in a statement. “She was a trailblazer not only for female journalists, but for all women.”
Walters became the first US female network news anchor when she joined ABC News in 1976. She rose through the ranks of the male-dominated industry to make history in 1974 by becoming the first female co-host of a US news program, on NBC’s morning-time Today Show.
She then became the news anchor on ABC’s evening bulletin, and her unprecedented $1m salary made her a media superstar, the BBC reports.
“I have been blessed with a life I never expected,” Walters said back in 2000 as she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
She retired from a 52-year career in 2014 with the last appearance on her daytime show, The View.
Born in Boston at the start of the Great Depression in 1929, she won 12 Emmy awards.
As well as every US president from Richard Nixon to Donald Trump, she interviewed a host of music and pop culture stars.
Barbara Walters was considered a mentor
Female anchors and journalists who followed in Walters’s footsteps and considered her a mentor.
“Barbara gave us an arena, made it possible to cover every kind of story, to be brainy and girly,” Leslie Stahl has said. “She has an authenticity that allows her to present a complete human being on TV, who can flirt and laugh and be tough.”
“She was an early ballbuster, and I mean that in the nicest possible way,” noted Katie Couric in 2014, after Walters announced her retirement. “She rattled a lot of cages before women were even allowed into the zoo.”
“Without Barbara Walters there wouldn’t have been me—nor any other woman you see on evening, morning, and daily news,” Oprah Winfrey wrote in an Instagram post on Friday. “I did my very first television audition with her in mind the whole time.”