Barbara Walters died quietly Friday at home with family by her side, according to her agent Cindi Berger, who spoke to PEOPLE on Friday.
PEOPLE has confirmed the passing of pioneering journalist and television personality Barbara Walters. She was 93.
She passed away on Friday night, according to her representative Cindi Berger, who spoke to PEOPLE.
Barbara Walters died peacefully at home, surrounded by her loved ones, according to Berger. She had a lavish existence.
“She had no regrets about how she had lived. She paved the way for all women, not just female journalists.”
Bob Iger, the CEO of Walt Disney, tweeted about Walters’ passing and said that the “unique reporter” had passed away in her New York residence.
Iger wrote on Twitter that Barbara was “a true legend, a pioneer, not just for women in journalism but journalism itself” and had landed some of the “most important interviews of our time.”
Walters, who was born in Boston on September 25, 1929, grew up in a New York home where her father, nightclub owner and Broadway producer Lou Walters, was friends with several famous people. She studied at Sarah Lawrence College and received an English degree.
After a brief time as a writer for CBS News, Walters began her career in television news in 1961 when she was hired as a writer and researcher for NBC’s Today programme. She worked her way through the ranks, covering feature stories and reporting on the weather before being promoted to reporter-at-large and finally serving as the program’s first female co-host with Hugh Downs and Frank McGee.
Barbara Walters ‘passed away peacefully surrounded by loved ones’ https://t.co/cfxXCA8Qx5
— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) December 31, 2022
Walters revealed that she had an affair with U.S. Senator Edward Brooke in the 1970s in her 2008 autobiography, Audition. Around the same time, she was also dating Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan.
After leaving NBC, Walters joined ABC’s 20/20 news show three years after joining the ABC Evening News as a co-anchor in 1976. She co-hosted 20/20 until 2004, during which time she interviewed a number of well-known people, including Michael Jackson, Monica Lewinsky, Richard Nixon, and Vladimir Putin. She was equally at ease speaking with political figures as well as pop culture celebrities. Additionally, she moderated presidential debates.
Walters launched her daytime chat show, The View, in 1997. She co-hosted the show frequently until she left in 2014.
From 1993 until 2015, ABC aired her cherished year-end Most Fascinating People special every year (with the exception of 2000 and 2001).
Three Emmy Distinctions, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the New York Women’s Agenda Lifetime Achievement Award, and the News and Documentary Emmy Award are just a few of the many honours and awards she has received.
The superstar was very vocal about encountering sexism in her professional life.
“The ‘hard news’ was that a woman couldn’t do it. Her voice wouldn’t be heard by the crowd, “In an Oprah’s Master Class video from 2015, Walters remarked. She was unable to enter conflict areas and pose difficult inquiries.
As a result, Walters claimed, she resisted giving in.
“Some individuals admired it. She’s rude, others have said.” stated Walters. “On the one hand, it increased my value, but on the other, it gave me a reputation as an aggressive person. That aggressive cookie is gone.”
The View season 25 co-hosts Joy Behar, Sunny Hostin, Sara Haines, and special guest panellist Ana Navarro celebrated Walters’ milestone birthday when she turned 92 in 2021.
Meredith Vieira, a View graduate who went on to become the show’s first moderator, spoke candidly about how she got the job to PEOPLE in September of that year, saying it was a “tremendous” honour to be picked by Walters.
“It was kind of a dream come true to be able to work with her. She may have been hesitant to hire me because she was unaware of my sense of humour. Barbara, though, gambled on me. I wasn’t seeking for it or really interested in it until I went to the audition, “She spoke. “I don’t know why I’d actually appreciate this, but I do,” I realised at that point.
Vieira continued, “Once you work with Barbara, she’s a really complicated person. “She is both really kind and giving while still being a true taskmaster and tough as nails, which is why she was successful in this industry when there were so few women. She was incredibly tenacious in addition to smart.”
Many former co-hosts of The View recently spoke to PEOPLE about Walters’ groundbreaking career and the significant influence she had on them in honour of The View’s 25th anniversary.
“I always imagined Barbara to be the adult and the rest of us to be playing in the sandbox on [The View]. So having her there as the constant, Barbara, who would never change, was extremely fantastic, according to Goldberg She was a goldmine of wonderful, incredible knowledge. She knew everyone and spoke with everyone. People wanted to come, and many wanted to meet her, so it was a blessing that she was here. We had the chance to learn how to conduct a real interview.
“I actually miss her presence on the show right now,” Behar continued. I do. Although I would want to see her return, it seems unlikely.
Despite what some may believe, working with Barbara Walters was one of my greatest honours. It was never lost on me that if it weren’t for the struggles that women like Barbara had as they rose through the ranks of the industry, I might not be doing what I’m doing today,” Lisa Ling said. She was demanding of us all because she wanted the best, and I worked really hard to meet her expectations because she put her trust in me. Barbara taught me a lot, and I will always be appreciative of the chance she provided me as well as the guidance she gave me.
Call from Debbie Matenopoulos to Walters “The show was created by the Grande Dame and executive producer Bill Geddie, so whatever she said should have been well received. Not to mention the fact that she blazed a road for a great number of women who followed her in the profession of journalism. She gained the right to carry out her own decisions after paying her dues. She was tough and held everyone to a high standard, I won’t lie. But only because she didn’t settle for anything less than what she was willing to provide. These days, the term “boss” is frequently used, yet she was the epitome of the term. One and only one Barbara Walters will ever exist.”
Walters “was very much a teacher” and “was very much a mentor for me,” according to current co-host Hostin.
This fall, Sherri Shepherd, who will host her own programme, said, “Barbara taught me to speak up. She taught me how to ask questions and to be curious about people.”
After divorcing her third husband, Merv Adelson, in 1992, Walters never got married again. Jacqueline (“Jackie”) Danforth, her daughter with her ex-husband Lee Guber, is her only heir.