Barbara Walters – 84
(September 25, 1929)
“Relentless,” “fearless,” “trailblazer,” “aggressive,” “gifted,” “gutsy”- all words used to describe Barbara Walters, 84, retiring (to some extent) at the end of 2014. Whatever you think about this pioneer of Women-In-The-Media, one thing is for certain: her boldness made her a household name. She broke the glass ceiling more than once and opened the door for other women to compete competitively in the media.
- First woman anchor on The Today Show in 1963
- First woman to co-anchor the Evening News with Harry Reasoner in 1976
- First woman news anchor to make one million dollars a year
- Only reporter to land a joint interview with Egypt’s president Anwar Sadat and Israel’s Menachem Begin in 1977
- First US reporter to interview Fidel Castro, 19
Perhaps her most famous interview was with Monica Lewinsky in 1999; a record 74 million viewers watched it. When she asked Ms. Lewinsky what she would tell her children about the scandal Ms. Lewinsky replied, “Mommy did a bad thing.” Ms. Walters ended the interview by turning to the camera and announcing, “That’s an understatement.”
Although she was well educated, driven, and articulate, she has been forever mocked for her slight speech impediment; that never stopped her determination to get the story. Additionally, she’s had her share of stress at the height of her career she was: a single Mom, supporting her parents, caring for a disabled sister, and raising her daughter.
What’s her dream ‘get’ (interview)? The Pope. Unfortunately, he doesn’t do TV talk shows! Nonetheless, we can only imagine what this driven woman could get him to discuss.
Hats off to Barbara Walters for opening up opportunities for women in the media that we take for granted today. Retirement will be re-defined by this tenacious woman! You can expect to see her back on camera any time a good story looms.