Over the course of her groundbreaking career, television personality Barbara Walters has consistently offered the public a face and voice they came to trust and enjoy. Born to a father who made his living producing theater and running nightclubs, Walters graduated from Sarah Lawrence in 1949 with an English degree. In 1961 she became part of The Today Show staff, writing copy and researching. Over the course of the decade, she learned new skills, eventually appearing in a number of segments on-air. NBC made history in 1974 when they made her the first female co-host in the show's venerable history. Her popularity was so strong, her distinctive voice provided fodder for many comedians and impressionists, most famously Gilda Radner's impression on Saturday Night Live. She left NBC after ABC offered her the co-anchor chair for the evening news next to Harry Reasoner. In addition to hosting a string of successful celebrity interview specials, including an annual Oscar special that ran for a number of years, Walters co-hosted the news magazine 20/20 for two decades, ending her run on that program in 2004. She branched out in 1997 with The View, a morning chat show she created aimed at women. The success of that program was yet another jewel in the crown of the woman whom Oprah Winfrey claimed inspired her to want to be a television personality.
Biography by Perry Seibert
- Father founded and owned the famous Latin Quarter nightclubs in New York and Miami.
- Dated lawyer Roy Cohn, aide to Sen. Joseph McCarthy, in the early 1950s. The two maintained a friendship until Cohn's death in 1986.
- In 1976, became the first woman to anchor a network evening newscast, earning an unprecedented $1 million a year to co-anchor (with Harry Reasoner) ABC Evening News.
- Received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in 2000.
- Left the long-running news magazine 20/20 to concentrate on her morning talk show, The View, in 2004.
- Published Audition: A Memoir in 2008.