Barbara Walters has hosted various television series, including “20/20,” “The View,” and the “ABC Evening News.” She also conceived and produced “The View.” Walters began working for “The Today Show” in 1961 as a writer and researcher before becoming the show’s co-host in 1974. She was the first woman to co-anchor a network nightly news broadcast in 1976, and she was the first woman to co-host an American news program.
Barbara Walters is also recognized for her yearly “Barbara Walters’ 10 Most Fascinating People” program and has written two books, “How to Talk with Practically Anyone about Practically Anything” (1970) and “Audition: A Memoir” (1980). (2008).
Barbara Walters was born Barbara Jill Walters in Boston, Massachusetts, on September 25, 1929. Dena and Louis were both Jewish, and Lou operated the Latin Quarter nightclub in Boston before launching a nightclub business in 1937. Barbara grew up around celebrities because her father was a Broadway producer and the Entertainment Director for the Tropicana Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. Walters grew up with a mentally challenged older sister named Jacqueline, who died of ovarian cancer in 1985. Barbara also had a brother, Burton, who died of pneumonia when she was a child in 1932.
Barbara attended Lawrence School in Brookline, Massachusetts, Ethical Culture Fieldston School and Birch Wathen School in New York City, and Miami Beach High School (where she obtained her diploma in 1947) in Florida after the family moved several times. She went on to Sarah Lawrence College in Yonkers, New York, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in English in 1951.
Walters worked for a year at a small advertising agency before obtaining a job at NBC affiliate WNBT-TV, where she wrote press releases and produced “Ask the Camera,” a children’s show. She produced the Eloise McElhone Show on WPIX until it was cancelled in 1954, then went on to write for “The Morning Show” on CBS the following year after leaving WNBT-TV.
Walters joined NBC’s “The Today Show” in 1961, first as a writer and researcher, then as the show’s “Today Girl,” covering lighter material and the weather. She quickly rose to the position of reporter-at-large, allowing her to create, write, and edit her own interviews and reports. Barbara became the first female co-anchor of “The Today Show” after presenter Frank McGee died in 1974. She also presented “Not for Women Only” on a local NBC station from 1971 to 1976, which ran after “The Today Show.”
Walters co-anchored the “ABC Evening News” from 1976 to 1978, and she claims that her co-anchor Harry Reasoner publicly mocked her. Barbara returned to ABC’s “20/20” in 1979, reuniting with Hugh Downs, with whom she had previously worked on “The Today Show.” She joined Downs as a co-anchor in 1984 and continued with the show until 2004.
Walters also produced “The View,” a daytime chat show that debuted in August 1997. Barbara co-hosted the show alongside Meredith Vieira, Star Jones, Debbie Matenopoulos, and Joy Behar for the first few seasons. Lisa Ling, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Rosie O’Donnell, Whoopi Goldberg, Sherri Shepherd, and Jenny McCarthy have all co-hosted the show.
In 2003, Walters, Behar, Goldberg, Hasselbeck, and Shepherd shared the Daytime Emmy for Best Talk Show Host with “The View,” and in 2009, Walters, Behar, Goldberg, Hasselbeck, and Shepherd shared the award for Best Talk Show Host with “The View.” Barbara left the show on May 15, 2014, but she returned as a guest host on occasion during 2015.
During her career, Walters has interviewed a number of foreign leaders, including Anwar Al Sadat, Boris Yeltsin, Vladimir Putin, Margaret Thatcher, Fidel Castro, and various US presidents. Her interviews with celebrities such as Michael Jackson, Katharine Hepburn, and Sir Laurence Olivier are well-known, and her 1999 interview with Monica Lewinsky received 74 million viewers, making it the second most-watched interview of all time.
Barbara has interviewed Donald and Melania Trump, Mary Kay Letourneau, and Peter Rodger (whose son killed 6 people and injured 14 others in Isla Vista, California in 2014) since her retirement, as well as hosting “American Scandals” on Investigation Discovery (2015) and her “10 Most Fascinating People” specials in 2014 and 2015.
Barbara married business executive Robert Henry Katz on June 20, 1955, and after 11 months of marriage, the couple divorced in 1957. She married Lee Guber, a theatrical producer, on December 8, 1963, and they divorced in 1976; they had a daughter together, Jacqueline, in 1968. From 1981 to 1984 and 1986 to 1992, Walters was married to Lorimar Television CEO Merv Adelson. Barbara had a connection with Alan Greenspan (who would go on to become Chairman of the US Federal Reserve in 1987) in the 1970s, and she dated Senator John Warner in the 1990s.
Walters took six months off from “The View” and her Sirius XM show “Here’s Barbara” in 2010 to recover from open heart surgery; she had aortic valve stenosis and a defective aortic valve that needed to be replaced. Barbara returned to both jobs in September after the surgery went well. In 2014, she stepped down from both shows.
Honors and Awards
Walters has received numerous awards throughout her illustrious career, including the President’s Award from the Overseas Press Club, the Lowell Thomas Award for a career in journalism excellence, the International Women’s Media Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Muse Award from New York Women in Film and Television.Hank Williams Net Worth: What Is The Fortune Of American Singer-Songwriter Hank Williams?
She’s also received a Primetime Emmy, three Daytime Emmys (including the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000), seven News and Documentary Emmys, a GLAAD Media Award, and a Television Critics Association Award. Barbara was elected into the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame in 1989 and was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2007. She was ranked #34 in “TV Guide’s” “50 Greatest TV Stars of All Time” list in 1996.
Barbara Walters has a net worth of $170 million and is an American broadcast journalist, novelist, and television personality.