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Barbara Walters is an American-born veteran journalist whose illustrious career in the media spanned several decades. A true trailblazer, Walters made history in the 1970s as the first female anchor of an American news program when she became the co-host of NBC’s The Today Show. She equally broke the glass ceiling for women in the evening news segment when she became a co-anchor on the ABC Evening News.
In addition to her hosting role on numerous TV programs, Barbara Walters co-founded and also debuted as co-host of the TV show The View in 1997. She retired as co-host of The View in 2014 though she remains an executive producer. She equally ended her run as host and contributor on ABC News in 2015.
Barbara Walters’ Bio, Age
Barbara Jill Walters was born on September 25, 1929, in Boston, Massachusettes. Her mother Dena (née Seletsky) and father Louis “Lou” Walters were both Jewish. Her father was a showbiz magnate and thus, Barbara grew up surrounded by celebrities. The family moved around quite often and consequently, she changed schools often. She graduated from New York’s Birch Wathen School in 1947 after which she enrolled at Sarah Lawrence College graduating in 1951 with a B.A. in English.
Upon graduation from college, Barbara Walters worked briefly at an advertising agency before joining WNBT-TV (now WNBC), an affiliate NBC station based in New York. Despite the career progresses she made at the station, Walters quit the job owing to persistent marriage offers from her boss. Afterward, she served as producer, writer, and publicist for a number of corporations.
Barbara Walters joined the NBC in 1961 as a writer and researcher on The Today Show. Over the years, she advanced from her initial roles as she began presenting lighter news stories and the weather. She continued to create and develop her own news stories and interviews even though she was not named a co-host of the show. She was eventually appointed as the first female co-host of The Today Show in 1974 following the death of Frank McGee, the former anchor of the program.
Following her departure from The Today Show in 1976, Barbara Walters joined the ABC’s nightly newscast program ABC Evening News which she co-anchored alongside Harry Reasoner. After a 2-year stint on the ABC Evening News, she moved on to the ABC newsmagazine 20/20 in 1979 where she joined forces with former Today Show host Hugh Downs.
In addition to her full-time hosting duties on ABC news, Barbara Walters equally made guest appearances as a commentator and also gave special coverages on notable news stories. She served as moderator of the 3rd and last debate of the 1976 US Presidential Election between and Gerald Ford. She equally achieved interviews with several influential world figures from Fidel Castro to Margaret Thatcher to Muammar Gaddafi. Her 1999 interview of Monica Lewinsky had an unprecedented 74 million viewers which remains the highest audience in TV history for a news interview.
In August 1997, Barbara Walters began to co-host the daytime talk show The View which she created and executive produced in collaboration with Bill Geddie. She officially retired from fulltime TV hosting and interviewing in May 2014, though she intermittently came out of retirement to host some special interviews. Her last on-air interview was with then-US presidential candidate and his family which aired in December 2015.
Barbara Walters is unmarried at the moment, though he has been married a couple of time in the past. Her first marriage dates back to June 1955 when she tied the knot with business mogul and former Navy lieutenant Robert Henry Katz. The marriage was reportedly annulled in 1958.
Walters’ second marital union was with showbiz magnate Lee Guber. The duo got married on December 8, 1963. They had one child together, a daughter named Jacqueline Dena Guber whom they adopted in 1968, the same year she was born. The union however ended in a divorce which was finalized on March 22, 1976.
Barbara Walters had an on-and-off marriage with her third husband Merv Adelson, a real estate developer and TV producer. The couple first got married in 1981 and after 3 years, they got divorced in 1984. After a 2-year hiatus, they got back together and remarried on May 10, 1986. Their second stint definitely outlasted the first, however, it ended in a divorce which was concluded on August 17, 1992.
Over the years, Barbara Walters’ relationship with her only daughter Jacqueline Danforth (née Guber) became strained. However, the mother-daughter duo has managed to fix their relationship. According to Walters herself, not having more children is her biggest regret in life.
In addition to its well-celebrated longevity, Barbara Walters’ career in the media was equally well-rewarded. She made history as the first anchorperson to reach the $1 million annual salary mark. From June 2006 to June 2007, Walters hauled in a whopping $12 million which earned her a spot on Forbes list of TV’s Top 20 Earners. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the veteran journalist has a net worth of $170 million.
In the years leading up to her retirement, Barbara Walters experienced a number of health challenges the most notable of which was an aortic valve stenosis for which she successfully underwent a heart surgery. Unfortunately, her health continued to deteriorate even after she retired.
Once an avid socialite, Walters has not made any public appearances since mid-2016 and insider reports have it that the octogenarian mainly shares time between her bed and a wheelchair as she finds it difficult to get around. It has also been reported that the iconic anchorwoman exhibits signs of dementia and Alzheimer’s though there has been no confirmation from her representatives.
Height and Weight
Barbara Walters is 5 feet 5 inches (165 cm) in height and maintains a body weight of 57 kg (126 lbs).