Barbara Walters, iconic 'The View' anchor-interviewer, dies at 93
From Fidel Castro to Indira Gandhi and from Yasir Arafat to Barak Obama, Barbara Walters broke the news points with her ability to enhance the comfort level of the interviewee to the point that personal revelations came about without much effort.
Journalist Barbara Walters, the pathbreaking newswoman who heralded an era of TV news that humanised stories, people and personalities alike, died at 93 in New York on Friday.
Her death was reported by ABC News, where she was a long-time anchor and created 'The View', in which she continued to appear till 2014.
Barbara Walters began at NBC News as a writer in 1961. She was to make her mark on the 'Today' show, where she began appearing regularly starting 1964. When she left NBC to join ABC News in 1976, she was widely cited as a "million-dollar baby" because of her five-year, $5 million contract.
As an interviewer of celebrities, Walters became one herself, with 'The View' and 'Today' shows blending editorialised beliefs and on-ground information that shaped public opinions worldwide. At the peak of her career, Barbara was provokingly rewarded and extensively criticised for blending showbiz elements into conventional news programs.
In the male-dominated world of news in the twentieth century, Walters' claim to fame was her unique interviewing skills.
From Fidel Castro to Indira Gandhi and from Yasir Arafat to Barak Obama, throughout her 50-year-long career, Barbara broke the news points with her ability to execute a visibly sublime humanisation of the interviewee.
Walters had the ability to enhance the comfort level of the interviewee to a point that personal revelations came about without much effort.
In one-on-one interviews, she was best known for delving, with subtle insistence, into the emotional states of movie stars, heads of state and celebrities. Her 1999 interview with Monica Lewinsky, an activist-writer with personal history with President Bill Clinton, attracted 74 million viewers, a milestone in TV news yet to be crossed.
Walters while referring to what was reported to be Bill Clinton's 'scandelous' love affair with Lewinsky, asked her, "What will you tell your children about this matter?" and Lewinsky replied, "I guess Mommy made some mistakes." At that point, Walters turned to the camera and declared, "And that is the understatement of the century," bringing the program to a conclusion akin to the drafting of history.
Walters was the highest-paid television journalist at one time, earning as much as $12 million per year at ABC News until her retirement from her show 'The View' in May 2014.
Walters was married three times: to Bob Katz in 1955; to Lee Gubers, with whom she adopted a daughter, Jacqueline; and to TV producer Merv Adelson, whom she divorced for the second time in 1992.
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