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Barbara Jill Walters, Early Life and Family, Recognition and Personal life

– Barbara Walters –

Barbara Walters began her on-air career as a writer on NBC’s morning show Today. She eventually became a regular on the show, establishing herself as an exceptional interviewer.

Her growing success at NBC led to her hiring as co-anchor of the ABC Evening News in 1976, at a famously high salary.

However, her male co-opposition anchor’s led to what she called the “worst year of her life,” and she shifted her focus to her interviews on The Barbara Walters Specials, where she received widespread acclaim.

She also co-hosted the news magazine 20/20 for over two decades. Barbara founded the daytime talk show The View in 1997.

“She is like the autumn cherry tree in full bloom,” Time magazine said in 1995.

When a hard-edged news magazine waxes lyrical about a woman, one would expect her to be a movie star.

In this case, the object of admiration is a journalist with a reputation for integrity, professionalism, and, at times, unscrupulous competitiveness. But Barbara Walters has always elicited extreme reactions.

Early Life and Family

Barbara Jill Walters was born in Boston on September 25, 1931, to Louis Edward and Dena (Selett) Walters and grew up in Boston, Miami, and New York City.
She had two older siblings: a developmentally disabled sister, Jacqueline, who died of ovarian cancer in 1985, and a brother, Burton, who died of pneumonia at a young age.
Lew, her father, was a well-known nightclub owner whose life was full of celebrities, excitement, and financial success. Barbara received her education in both public and private schools.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Sarah Lawrence College in 1953 after graduating from Miami Beach Senior High School in 1949. “We were very rich until I was about twenty-three or twenty-four,” she told Tabitha Soren in 1996.
I can take you around New York and show you all of the penthouses where we lived.
And then it was all gone in my late twenties.” Walters then concentrated on supporting herself and taking care of her family.

Television Career

Walters briefly worked in an advertising agency before beginning her career in television as an assistant to the publicity director of an NBC-affiliated television station in New York City.
She quickly rose through the ranks to become the station’s youngest producer.
Working as a writer for NBC’s popular morning show Today, she began making appearances on the show for the first time.
Her interviews with Golda Meir, Robert F. Kennedy, and Coretta Scott King earned her a reputation as a serious interviewer of serious people.
She won an Emmy for her work on the show in 1975, and she soon had her own syndicated talk show, Not for Women Only.
She interviewed presidential candidates and assisted in the coverage of political conventions.

This meteoric rise culminated in 1976 when she became the first woman to co-host a network news program, the ABC Evening News.

The network was so convinced that Walters was the right person for the job that they offered her a five-year contract and a record-breaking million-dollar annual salary.

By producing her own television specials, the highest-paid journalist in history fulfilled her contract with ABC.

Her interviewing abilities helped to make The Barbara Walters Specials legendary.

“She’s the best damn interviewer in the business,” says friend and rival broadcaster Mike Wallace.

Walters was known for stealing interviews and adoring celebrities at the time.

She had radio conversations with Prince Philip, Fred Astaire, and Mamie Eisenhower.

She interviewed every president and every first lady for decades.

Personal Life

Walters has personally suffered as a result of her success. After two divorces and an annulment, she is now happily unmarried.
Her relationship with her daughter, Jacqueline Dena Guber (b. June 14, 1968), has seen many ups and downs.
She told Tabitha Soren of USA Weekend that when her daughter, whom she adopted with her second husband Lee Guber in 1968, was growing up, the world was very different.
“There were women who left their husbands and children in order to fulfill themselves.” That is no longer the case.
Joan Lunden or Katie Couric can bring their children to work with them.
People would have looked at me like I was bringing in a puppy that wasn’t housebroken if I had brought my baby into the studios.”

Recognition

Walters has won almost every major award in the broadcasting industry.
The International Radio and Television Society named her Broadcaster of the Year in 1975, and she also received the National Association of Television Program Executives Award (1970, 1980, 1982, 1983).
She was inducted into the Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame in 1990 and received the Lowell Thomas Award for journalistic excellence that same year.
In 2007, she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and in 2008, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 30th Annual News and Documentary Emmy Awards.
“Barbara has always assumed that her first allegiance is to the person tuning in,” said Hugh Downs, her old friend, and co-host.
According to Time, Walters frequently receives praise from experts: “According to her editors, Walters is an excellent editor.
Her writers think she’s a fantastic writer.
Her producers claim that she is her own best booker.

Selected Writings by Barbara Walters

How to Talk to Practically Anybody about Practically Anything, with June Callwood.  New York: Doubleday, 1970.

Audition: A Memoir. New York: Knopf, 2008.

Bibliography

“Barbara Walters.” Her Heritage: A Biographical Encyclopedia of Famous American Women. New York: Pilgrim New Media, 1995.

“Barbara Walters Talks Back.” USA Weekend.

“The Big Time! 8 Who Got Where Only Men Got Before.” Cosmopolitan; “Singing Walters’ Praises.” USA Today.

“Barbara Walters.” Biography.com. Accessed 5/10/2020 at https://www.biography.com/media-Bfigure/barbara-walters

“Barbara Walters.” The Interviews. Television Academy Foundation. Accessed 5/10/2020 at https://interviews.televisionacademy.com/interviews/barbara-walters?clip=chapter4

“Barbara Walters.” The Awards and Nominations. Television Academy Foundation. Accessed 5/10/2020 at https://www.emmys.com/bios/barbara-walters

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