The life and times of Barbara Walters in Miami Beach. Is she “a poor little rich girl”?

In this Oct. 7, 2014, file photo, Barbara Walters speaks to an audience at the John F. Kennedy School of Government on the Harvard University campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Walters passed away on Friday, December 30, 2022. She was 93 years old.

In this Oct. 7, 2014, file photo, Barbara Walters speaks to an audience at the John F. Kennedy School of Government on the Harvard University campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Walters passed away on Friday, December 30, 2022. She was 93 years old.

Associated Press

Television reporter Barbara Walters was a member of the Miami Beach Senior High School class of 1947 before she brought many later Beach High stars and other celebrities to tears on camera.

Read more: Many celebrities have attended Miami-area schools. Do you know all these?

Walters was a pioneering reporter who made history on the U.S. bicentennial in 1976 when she became the first female news anchor to earn $1 million a year, died friday at 93.

About Walters’ storied career, her interviews with major world figures from Fidel Castro to Richard Nixon, and she makes celebrities cry – from Oprah Winfrey to Ringo Starr – with her poignant questions.

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Fidel Castro (center right) answers a question from then-NBC reporter Barbara Walters (center left) in this May 7 file photo. , 1975. Associated Press

What’s missing from the Boston-born radio legend’s obituary? She grew up in Miami Beach.

Walters lived in South Florida several times as a young girl in the 1930s. As a high school student in the 1940s; in Miami in 1955, at the age of 25, she met the man who would become her first husband, children’s clothing merchant Robert Katz.Her parents Lou and Dena and her sister Jackie are buried in miami.

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File photo of Lou Walters’ funeral at Lakeside Memorial Park in Miami on August 16, 1977. Walters is the father of Barbara Walters.Roy Bartley Miami Herald Archives

Walters’ father, Lou (later Ziegfeld), made his fortune running nightclubs, most notably Lou Walters’ Latin Quarter in the Palms of Miami Beach from 1939 to 1959, where, until it burned down, he promoted shows featuring Featuring today’s stars such as Milton Burleigh, Sophie Tucker, Martha Rae and Sammy Davis Jr.

A park now sits on the land that was once the Latin Quarter of the Isle of Palms.

Read more: What happened to South Beach’s hottest club?Looking back at the Latin Quarter

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Crowds gather in front of the Latin Quarter Club on Palm Island, Miami Beach, 1940s.Wolfson Archives/Miami Herald Archives

From the Miami Herald archives, here’s what Walters has to say about Walters — and what others have said about Walters — and her life and time in Miami Beach.

can you cry

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Canadian communications expert Marshall McLuhan (left) is interviewed by commentator Barbara Walters and “Today Show” host Hugh Downs in Nathan Phillips Square, Canada, September 18, 1970.Harold Buckley Toronto Star/TNS

In a 1970 interview with the Miami Herald, Walters recalled her early days in Miami Beach as a “poor little rich girl.” Great big house. The driver drove me to school. I am very lonely. “

walters at beach high school

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Miami Beach High School file photo April 15, 1998.Pedro Portal Miami Herald Archives

Her childhood friend, then Judy Nelson, who went on to become a prominent Florida manager Judy DruckerRemembers her friend Walters, a 10th grader at Beach High, who would come to Palm Island’s Latin Quarter after school to do her homework in the halls — at Showgirls and Superstars middle.

“She wanted to be close to her father,” Drucker told the Herald in 1990. we are good friends. We just drink hot tea and eat turkey sandwiches. Her driver will drive her home. She is a very lonely girl. ”

However, she kept the Beach High classmates entertained when she arranged for them to have a dance and see a show at her father’s other nightclub. Colonial InnAccording to the Fort Lauderdale Daily News, he owned the hotel in Hallandale near Gulfstream Park in 1944, and he reportedly sold it in June 1945 for $80,000 to gangster Mike Yelansky.

“I was the envy of the school,” Walters said in a 1970 Herald interview.

walters date in miami beach

OBIT EDWARD KLEIN MUG BLACK AND WHITE
Judge Edward Klein served on the Miami-Dade Circuit Court from 1973 to 1992. He passed away in 2017. A Miami Beach High School graduate, he briefly dated classmate Barbara Walters in the 1940s. Miami Herald Archives

this Dear.Edward KleinThe Miami-Dade Circuit Judge, who died in 2017 at age 89, briefly dated Walters when they were students at Beach High.

“I met her at the French Club. We weren’t a couple. We probably went out two or three times,” Klein told the Miami Herald in 1990, when an unauthorized biography of the TV star ended with named after him. “We’re very close to each other. It’s a really good group of kids. They’re having a really good time.”

Beach High School baseball player Stanley Reich, according to author Jerry Oppenheimer’s “Barbara Walters: The Unauthorized Biography,” The Herald reported in 1990 (Stanley Reich) is said to be another beach boyfriend who may have given Walters his first kiss.

“We dated, for about six months,” Reich said at the time. “She’s a lovely girl, very, very nice.”

In 1990, the Herald reported: “Reich is credited in the book for giving Walters his first kiss—a brief, awkward kiss in the moonlight on the jetty behind Al Capone’s house.” capone has a home in the palm Close to the Latin Quarter.

According to Oppenheimer’s book, that kiss just happened. “I don’t know how that happened. Yeah, we were walking and she showed me Capone’s house. Kids didn’t like sex back then. … None of us really resonated with the Latin Quarter . We were so young. We would go to the movies and talk about what we wanted to do with our lives.”

While visiting her parents in 1955, Walters flew to Miami International Airport, where she met a casual acquaintance, Bob Katz. They were married in June 1955, but the marriage was annulled in 1957. In her 2008 book, “Audition: A MemoirThey didn’t have enough in common, Walters wrote.

Lou Walters talks about his daughter

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Latin Quarter owner Lou Walters with some of his dancers at his nightclub in the Palms, Miami Beach, 1940s and 50s. Miami Herald Archives

In a Miami Herald report in 1962, after his daughter joined NBC’s “Today Show” and before his retirement in 1967, Lou Walters said that Barbara had “made more money than I have.”

walters and the gang

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Isle of Palms Park is located on the property that once belonged to Lou Walters and his famous Latin Quarter nightclub, which burned down in 1959. Patrick Farrell Miami Herald Archives

Talking with then-Miami Herald TV critic Glenn Gavin at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Walters was back near her old hangout to promote her “Audition: A Memoir.” She shared some memories of her life in Miami Beach.

From an interview with the Miami Herald, published May 25, 2008:

Walters remembers her South Florida episode as funny, but also weird. One occurred late in World War II, when the family lived on Hibiscus Island and she attended Ida M. Fisher Junior High School in Miami Beach.

“The Army is in Miami Beach, the Navy is in Miami,” she said. “As we sat in class, we would hear soldiers marching. We would see German prisoners of war in open trucks—there must be a POW camp nearby.”

Odder still lived in the Palms earlier, in a house her father rented in a package deal, and he converted the building across the street into a Latin Quarter nightclub.

“Along the buildings of the Latin Quarter, as you come off the causeway, you see this pistachio green mansion on the water,” she recalls. “There was a housekeeper who had been there before us. There was a man named Bill Dwyer and his bodyguard and driver. He was said to be entitled to live there for a year. My father didn’t know much about him. But sure enough Turns out he did have that right. So he stayed that winter.”

Perhaps it’s a good thing that the Walters know so little about their tenants. Big Bill Dwyer was a New York mob boss who used his smuggling fortunes to run a gambling business. A lonely 10-year-old Barbara (no other kids on the Palm) became his regular afternoon buddy at the racetrack.

“When I was very young, he used to take me to tropical parks and he would bet on me,” she said. “Somehow I always win. Other than that, we never see him. The house is so big – they live in one room, he and the driver – I can barely see them.

“When I think about it, it seems weird. But then I was a kid, a little girl. What did I know?

This story was originally published on December 31, 2022 at 11:14 am.

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Miami Herald real-time/breaking news reporter Howard Cohen is a 2017 Media Excellence Award recipient and has covered pop music, drama, health and fitness, obituaries, city government and general assignments. He began his career in 1991 in the features department of the Miami Herald.
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