NEW YORK – Barbara Walters, the intrepid interviewer, anchor and show host who was the first woman in a network career renowned for its duration and diversity, has passed away. The women who became TV news superstars. She is 93 years old.
Walters’ death was announced on-air by ABC on Friday night.
During her nearly four years on ABC, and before that on NBC, Walters’ celebrity status stood alongside them with exclusive interviews with rulers, royals and entertainers, All the while keeping her at the forefront of trends in broadcast journalism, making TV journalists stars and putting news shows in the race for higher ratings.
In 1976, Walters made headlines as the first female network news anchor, earning an unprecedented $1 million a year, which drew discontent and criticism (although she lost her additional duties outside of journalism amid protests). In a world crowded with ever-growing interviewers, including female journalists who followed the path she blazed, her efforts are legendary as she competes not only with rival networks but with colleagues from her own network Competition – for every major “win”.
“I didn’t expect this!” Walters said in 2004, gauging her success. “I always thought I was going to be a TV writer. I never even thought I’d be in front of the camera.”
But she’s a natural in front of the camera, especially when it comes to quizzing celebrities.
“I’m not afraid when I interview, I’m not afraid of anything!” Walters told The Associated Press in 2008.
Associated Press reporter Stefanie Dazio in Los Angeles contributed to this report.