TV journalist Barbara Walters bids farewell after 53-year career
Send a link to a friend
[May 17, 2014]
By Patricia Reaney
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Pioneering U.S.
journalist Barbara Walters, who paved the way for women in
television news and was the first female to co-anchor a network
evening news program, retired on Friday after an illustrious 53-year
The 84-year-old TV newswoman bid farewell on "The View," the
morning talk show she created in 1997 during a career that
spanned events ranging from President Richard Nixon's historic
journey to China in 1972 to interviews with several generations
of celebrities and world leaders including U.S. President Barack
Walters, whose work won several Emmy awards, joked that she
would now have time to have Botox and may be available for
supermarket openings. On a serious note, she added that she was
proudest of how more women are now reporting the news.
"If I did anything to help that happen that is my legacy," she
said. "Who knows what the future brings? Maybe instead of
goodbye, I should say a bientot, which in French means see you
A roster of women journalists joined Walters on the show to
praise her achievements. Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton also appeared, as did actor Michael Douglas and TV host
and media company owner Oprah Winfrey.
"Like everyone else I want to thank you for being a pioneer, in
everything that word means," Winfrey told Walters. "It means
being the first ... to knock down the door, to break down the
barrier, to pave the road that we all walk on."
The show culminated a week of events including a get-together in
New York that included former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, director
Woody Allen and Vogue editor Anna Wintour.
The news building of the ABC television network, a unit of Walt
Disney Co., was named in her honor. Present and past co-hosts of
"The View" reunited to toast her on Thursday. ABC will also air
a news special about her story on Friday evening.
Walters revealed her plans to retire a year earlier saying it
was her decision. The announcement followed some health
problems, including a concussion after fainting and hitting her
head, chickenpox and open heart surgery in 2010.
[to top of second column]
Walters has interviewed every U.S. president since Richard Nixon and
world leaders including Cuba's Fidel Castro, Britain's Margaret
Thatcher and Iraq's Saddam Hussein. She was famous for her probing
style, getting that important first interview with newsmakers.
She was also known for a lisp that prompted the famous "Baba Wawa"
parody by the late comedian Gilda Radner on the "Saturday Night
Live," comedy show.
Walters was hired as a researcher and writer on NBC's "Today" show
in 1961 before becoming a co-host in 1974. She moved to ABC in 1976
and was a also correspondent on the network's news magazine show
"20/20." Walters also hosted specials and a yearly show about her 10
most fascinating people.
(Reporting by Patricia Reaney; Editing by David Gregorio)
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.