How much is Barbara Walters worth?
|Net Worth:||$175 Million|
|Profession:||Professional TV Journalist|
|Date of Birth:||September 25, 1929|
|Country:||United States of America|
Who Is Barbara Walters
It’s hard not to know who Barbara Walters is, especially if you’re a fan of daytime talk shows. She is the creator of The View and longtime co-host. And she’s arguably one of the most powerful broadcast journalists of her time.
Walters was born on September 25, 1929, in Boston. Her father was an immigrant from London, England, and worked in the theater as a booking agent and Broadway producer. Those times were tough for Walters. Her father fell on hard luck time an again, amassing fortunes and then losing it all because of his feast or famine profession. The family lost much during that time, but Walters’ says her mother’s strong will kept the family together.
When she was growing up, Walters was always surrounded by celebrities, due to her father’s show business career. This closeness is why she lost her ability to be “star struck” early on, which Walters attributes to her ability to interview A-list celebrities and powerful political figures in a calm, collected and controlled manner.
She attended Fieldston and Birch Wathen private schools in New York before graduating from Miami Beach High School. She attended Sarah Lawrence College in New York and graduated with a degree in English.
Walters was a publicist before her news career took off. When it did, it took off like a rocket.
Her first broadcast job was with CBS News as a writer, which led to success with The Today Show
. Because of her news background, Walters is sometimes attributed with changing the morning program from one that churned out fluff pieces delivered by celebrities and ex-sports stars, to one of solid journalism and gripping news coverage.
Walters was the first female co-host of The Today Show, in no small part because of her excellent journalism skills. This led to her well-known stint on ABC’s 20/20, which she co-hosted with Hugh Downs for many years.
She quickly became famous for her celebrity interviews, often sitting down with some of the biggest names in show business and pop culture. Her most-watched interview to date is with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky after her affair with then-President William Clinton. She has also interviewed Boris Yeltsin, former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Fidel Castro, and many more.
Creating The View
In 1997, Barbara co-created The View with Bill Geddie and Jessica Guff, as a program for women from different backgrounds and perspectives. The concept of the show was captured in a voice over provided by Walters that introduced the program:
“I’ve always wanted to do a show with women of different generations, backgrounds and views: a working mother; a professional in her 30s ; a young woman just starting out; and then somebody who’s done almost everything and will say almost anything. And in a perfect world, I’d get to join the group whenever I wanted.”
And Walters did just that. Before her retirement in 2014, she often co-hosted the program. When she retired many of the program’s 11 previous hosts joined Walters on the set to send her off with accolades and cheers.
- Was the first female co-host of The Today Show.
- Overcame a slight speech impediment, which is often mimicked for comedic effect, perhaps most famously by Gilda Radner’s “Babwa Wawa”.
- Infamously known for this question, posed to Katherine Hepburn: “If you were a tree, what kind would you be?” But the question was never posed – exactly. Hepburn said during an interview that she wanted to be a tree, to which Barbara asked, “What kind?”
- Barbara has been married three times.
- In 1977, conducted the first joint interview of Egypt’s President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Bagin.
- She was the first female news anchor on national U.S. television, and possibly the first news anchor to make more than $1 million a year.
- Was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 1989.
- Will come out of retirement in 2014 for a special episode of 20/20.
Barbara Walters, whose career as a journalist has spanned over 50 years, finally retired. Well, sort of. The pioneering 90-year-old female interviewer and reporter is stepping down from her position as co-host of the popular morning talk show, The View, but will stay on as executive producer.
Walters has had an impressive career that has opened the doors for other women in television journalism. She was
born Barbara Jill Walters in Boston, Massachusetts in 1929. She graduated from Sarah Lawrence College with a degree in English in 1953 and soon after began work in the broadcasting industry. Walters first came to prominence as an anchor on NBC’s Today Show in the 1960s, and stayed with the program for over a decade, building up a career as a respected journalist. Walters later accepted a job at ABC in 1976, becoming the first woman co-anchor of a network evening news program. She also moderated a presidential debate between Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford that same year. Walters began working at ABC’s news magazine show 20/20 in 1979, first as a correspondent and later as a co-anchor. During this time Walters became famous for her one-on-one interviews that often aired in television specials.
Barbara Walters scored dozens of interviews with prominent leaders and celebrities that would mark her as a “go to” interviewer. For example, one of her earliest and most historic interviews was between
the president of Egypt and the prime minister of Israel in 1977, just as the two leaders were brokering a tenuous peace deal. That same year Walters also made history by interviewing controversial Cuban leader Fidel Castro, his first interview with an American journalist. She also landed an interview with President Richard Nixon–the first television interview the disgraced former leader had since his 1974 resignation. Her most watched interview was with Monica Lewinsky in the wake of the exposé of the latter’s affair with former President Bill Clinton. That program had 74 million viewers and remains the single most watched television interview ever.
Despite her success, Walters has faced her fair share of criticism throughout the years. Early on in her career she faced sexism for male colleagues who thought she was unqualified. She has also been accused of forwarding “personality journalism” rather than hard hitting journalism and of approaching world leaders and celebrities with the same tone and scope of questioning. She was also famously lampooned on Saturday Night Live by Gilda Radner. The “Baba Wawa” sketches parodied Walters’ speech impediment and mannerisms and at times chipped away at her credibility. Nevertheless, despite this challenges Walters’ legacy has emerged largely untouched and she has enjoyed prominence and acclaim far longer than many of her contemporaries.
The final episode of The View with Walters at the helm featured the return of all of the former co-hosts, including Meredith Vieira, Star Jones, Debbie Matenopoulos, Joy Behar, Lisa Ling, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, and Rosie O’Donnell. They joined current co-hosts Whoopi Goldberg, Sherri Shepherd, and Jenny McCarthy at a huge table to celebrate Walters’ life and career. The View, which has been on the air for 17 years, has changed the face of daytime television by featuring a roundtable of women of a variety of backgrounds debating, often passionately, everything from pop culture to politics, and sparked copycat programming such The Talk and The Real.
However, not only did her former co-hosts return to salute Walters, so did a plethora of women journalists, including Diane Sawyer, Robin Roberts, Lara Spencer, Elizabeth Vargas, Amy Robach, Juju Chang, Deborah Roberts, Katie Couric, Savannah Guthrie, Natalie Morales, Tamron Hall, Maria Shriver, Cynthia McFadden, Kathy Lee Gifford, Hoda Kotb, Jane Pauley, Gayle King, Gretchen Carlson, Deborah Norville, Paula Zahn, Connie Chung, and Joan Lunden. Oprah Winfrey was also a guest and revealed, “You’re the reason I wanted to be in television.” Likewise, guests Hillary Rodham Clinton and Michael Douglas praised Walters as well.
Pop culture critic Mary McNamara notes that Walter’s “legacy is certainly most easily defined as that of being a pioneer — she was the first female morning show co-host, the first female co-anchor of a network nightly news show, the first female anchor to make a million dollars — but the bigger, wider wall she helped tear down was the one between hard news and feature reporting, exposing the intimate relations between power and influence, personal and political.”
During her final taping of The View, Barbara Walters summed up her legacy similarly, noting her pride at seeing “all the young women making and reporting the news…If I did anything to make that happen, that’s my legacy.” No small legacy indeed.