Washington, Dec 31 (EFE).- Trailblazing American TV broadcaster Barbara Walters died on Friday in New York City at the age of 93.
She was the first US female evening news co-anchor when she joined ABC News in the 1970s and became known for her probing interviews with world leaders and celebrities.
Robert Iger, chief executive of ABC’s parent Walt Disney Company, said in a statement that Walters died at home on Friday night. He did not specify a cause of death.
“Barbara was a true legend, a pioneer not just for women in journalism but for journalism itself. She was a one-of-a-kind reporter who landed many of the most important interviews of our time, from heads of state to the biggest celebrities and sports icons,” Iger added in a statement.
Her publicist, Cindi Berger, said Walters passed away peacefully at home surrounded by loved ones.
“She lived her life with no regrets. She was a trailblazer not only for female journalists, but for all women,” she added.
Born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1929, Walters graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York, in 1951 and began her career at an NBC affiliate doing publicity and writing press releases. In 1961 she joined NBC’s The Today Show as a writer and researcher, becoming the program’s first female co-host in 1974.
In 1976, Walters moved to ABC, making history as the first female co-anchor on an evening news program, and later became known for The Barbara Walters Specials and her interviews with famous people from pop stars to dictators, including every US president and first lady from the Nixons to the Obamas.
Those she spoke to ranged from Fidel Castro (“I told him that what we most profoundly disagreed on was the meaning of freedom,” she said), Margaret Thatcher, Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi and Vladimir Putin to Michael Jackson, Elton John, Katharine Hepburn and Monica Lewinsky, the latter attracting an estimated 74 million viewers, according to ABC.
Walters also created, hosted and co-produced the hugely successful talk show The View, in which a wide range of women with various backgrounds and views discussed hot news topics.
She was married four times to three different men: businessman Robert Henry Katz, theater producer and owner Lee Guber, and television producer Merv Adelson, who she wed twice.
She is survived by her daughter Jacqueline Danforth, who she adopted with Guber. EFE