Barbara Jill Walters, born September 25, 1929, was a retired American broadcast journalist, television personality, and author. She appeared as a host on numerous television programs, including Today, 20/20, The View, and ABC Evening News. She was best known for her interviewing abilities and popularity with viewers. She was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 1989 and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2007. The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences presented her with a ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ in 2000. Before her retirement, she made one last appearance on ABC in 2015. Celebrate her wonderful day with us.
Barbara Walters was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on September 25, 1929, to Dena and Louis Lou Walters. Her parents were Jewish and descended from Russian Empire immigrants. Her paternal grandfather, Abraham Isaac Warmwater, was born in ód, Poland, immigrated to the U.K. and changed his name to Abraham Walters from the Warmwasser family line. She earned a B.A. in English from Sarah Lawrence College in 1951. After working for a short time in an advertising firm, she was the publicity director’s assistant at an NBC-affiliated television station in New York City. Here, she developed her writing and producing skills for television. She was a producer and writer for news and public affairs for the CBS television network. In 1961, she started writing for the well-known NBC morning program Today.
Although Walters started on The Today Show, writing and producing segments of women’s interest stories, her popularity with viewers led to Walters getting more airtime. She joined the program as co-host in 1974, becoming the first woman to hold that position on an American news program. In 1976, Walters paved the path for other women in broadcasting by becoming the first female co-anchor of the ABC Evening News show. From 1979 through 2004, she was a producer and co-host of the ABC news magazine 20/20. She then gained fame for an annual ABC broadcast called Barbara Walters’ 10 Most Fascinating People. During that time, she interviewed every sitting U.S. president and first lady, from Richard Nixon to Barack Obama. The View was an ABC daytime chat show she developed, co-hosted, and produced. She appeared on the program from 1997 to 2014. She continued to present special reports for 20/20, Investigation Discovery, and in 2015, she made her final on-air appearance for ABC News.
In her lifetime, Walters has married three different men four times. Robert Henry Katz, her first husband, was a business executive and a former Navy captain. They wed at The Plaza Hotel in New York City on June 20, 1955, and their union was later annulled. On December 8, 1963, she married Lee Guber, a producer and theater owner. They divorced in 1976. Their only child, Jacqueline Dena Guber, was adopted in 1968, the year she was born. Merv Adelson, her third husband, was the head of Lorimar Television. They were wed in 1981, divorced in 1984 after three years, remarried in 1986, and divorced again in 1992.
Walters marries Robert Henry Katz. The pair stayed together until 1957.
Walters marries Lee Guber. The pair stayed married until 1976.
Walters becomes the first female to co-anchor “ABC World News Tonight” along with Harry Reasoner for an unprecedented salary of $1 million a year.
Walters marries Merv Adelson for the first time in 1981. They divorce in 1984, but remarry in 1986.
Walters co-hosts and produces ABC's "20/20."
Walters divorces Merv Adelson for the second time, and remains unmarried until her death.
On June 14, the American broadcaster obtains a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
On September 21, Walters receives a ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ at the Annual News and Documentary Emmy Awards.
She appears on ABC’s "Good Morning America,” which features journalism and news about the day's events.
Walters passes away in Manhattan.
Why We Love Barbara Walters
She’s an inspiration
Walters joined ABC News in 1976 as the network's first female co-host. She is also the show's creator and co-executive producer. Walters has gained national recognition for her work and countless noteworthy accolades and awards throughout the years, including 11 Emmy Awards and two ‘Lifetime Achievement Awards’ from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
She exposed the intimate relations between power and influence
She was the first female morning show co-host, female co-anchor of a network nightly news program, and the first female anchor to earn a million dollars. However, the vaster barrier she assisted in tearing down was that between hard news and feature reporting, exposing the close ties between power and influence, both personal and political.
She is a generous woman
We admire Walters for her charitable contributions. Walters has donated to organizations such as the American Foundation for AIDS Research, the American Heart Association, the American Stroke Association, the Cancer Research Institute, and many others.
5 Surprising Facts
Her interview with President Richard Nixon
Walters had to wait several years for an interview with former PresidentNixon, who resigned in 1974 and returned to speak with her in 1980.
“The Today Girl”
When Walters joined "The Today Show" in 1964, she was dubbed “The Today Girl,” maybe because she was the sole female on the show.
She had three miscarriages
Walters adopted her daughter Jacqueline Dena Guber in 1968 after years of trying and three losses.
She’s afraid of heights
Walters needed help getting down escalators for her Academy Awards appearances as she is afraid of heights.
The struggle of her daughter
Walters's daughter, Jacqueline Dena Guber, avoids public life on purpose; her D.U.I. in 2013 made international headlines, and she has fought drug addiction for years.
Barbara Walters FAQs
What disease does Barbara Walters have?
Walters had Alzheimer’s disease. Her friends claimed she was suffering for three years since she stopped sharing photos on social media and began spending most of her time at home. She passed away in 2022.
Did Barbara Walters and Clint Eastwood date?
Walters once said that she regrets turning down a date with Eastwood. Walter claims she rejected Eastwood’s invitation to dinner in the 1980s, even though she had a crush on him at the time.
Why do we not see Barbara Walters anymore?
A few years into her retirement, it became clear that Walters’ health was declining. Her dementia and mental state drove her close ones to drastic precautions. Walters passed away in 2022.
Barbara Walters’s birthday dates