ABC News reported that Barbara Walters passed away on Friday (Dec. 30) at the age of 93. A spokesperson for the broadcast legend confirmed she was surrounded by her loved ones when she transitioned.
“Barbara Walters passed away peacefully in her 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,” said Cindi Berger, a rep for Walters. According to Entertainment Weekly, the iconic news staple suffered from dementia in her later years and had not been seen publicly since 2016.
In 1974, Walters made history when she became the first female co-host of NBC’s “Today” show. She would again accomplish an industry feat when she joined ABC in 1976 and became the first woman to anchor an evening news program. For 50 years, she interviewed some of the world’s most notable figures, including every president from Richard Nixon to Barack Obama. In her final interview special, “Barbara Walters Presents: The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2015,” she also sat down with Donald Trump during his presidential campaign.
Walters is also behind the creation of “The View.” The round-table discussion talk show paved the way for other women-led programs such as “The Talk” and “The Real.” She co-hosted the show from its inception in 1997 until 2014. In her farewell, she said, “I do not want to appear on another program or climb another mountain. I want instead to sit on a sunny field and admire the very gifted women — and OK, some men too — who will be taking my place.”
Several of the prolific storyteller’s industry peers have expressed gratitude for the opportunities Walters helped create. In a tribute penned by Oprah Winfrey, she wrote, “Without Barbara Walters, there wouldn’t have been me — nor any other woman you see on evening, morning and daily news. She was indeed a trailblazer. I did my very first television audition with her in mind the whole time. Grateful that she was such a powerful and gracious role model. Grateful to have known her. Grateful to have followed in her Light.”
See Oprah’s tribute as well as others below.
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I’ve never seen this clip before, but this exemplifies why Barbara Walters is considered a journalistic icon. For journalists, it isn’t about your question ✌🏾sounding✌🏾tough. It’s about getting the subject to expose something about themselves — good or bad. https://t.co/RcIZGtbcOC
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) December 31, 2022
So sad to hear of the passing of Barbara Walters. What an honor to share the set @ABC with the inimitable trailblazer when I joined @abc2020. Will never forget the phone call when she asked me to join the groundbreaking program. pic.twitter.com/0zKgKxmayY
— Deborah Roberts (@DebRobertsABC) December 31, 2022
The Legend. The Blueprint. The Greatest. Rest in Peace Barbara Walters pic.twitter.com/RODzfKMAxw
— Tamron Hall (@tamronhall) December 31, 2022
If you’re GenX (or older) and you think of Barbara Walters, you probably also think of Gilda’s Baba Wawa. Reunited now. RIP pic.twitter.com/FxUDHMKdcG
— April (@ReignOfApril) December 31, 2022
Barbara Walters never flinched when questioning the world’s most powerful people. She held them accountable. She cared about the truth and she made us care too. Fortunately, she inspired many other journalists to be just as unrelenting. We are all better off because of her.
— Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (@kaj33) December 31, 2022
She was obviously amazing on television but I selfishly loved spending time with her in person. Sitting next to her at a dinner party was the best seat in the house. With love, respect and admiration – rest in peace Barbara Walters. #barbarawalters pic.twitter.com/AD4BQtHrUg
— Don Lemon (@donlemon) December 31, 2022
Rest in Peace precious Peace Barbara Walters!! https://t.co/QQYSPorL3a
— sheryl lee ralph (@thesherylralph) December 31, 2022
Women legends of television broadcast journalism say goodbye to the original legend, Barbara Walters, as she appears on “The View” for the last time. pic.twitter.com/KajlsOfsAz
— Mike Sington (@MikeSington) December 31, 2022
The world of journalism has lost a pillar of professionalism, courage, and integrity. Barbara Walters was a trailblazer and a true pro. She outworked, out-thought, and out-hustled her competitors. She left the world the better for it. She will be deeply missed. RIP
— Dan Rather (@DanRather) December 31, 2022
Barbara Walters was a true trailblazer. Forever grateful for her stellar example and for her friendship. Sending condolences to her daughter and family.🙏🏾 https://t.co/vKjvFJTU6u
— Robin Roberts (@RobinRoberts) December 31, 2022
A trailblazer. A master of the art of interviewing. A remarkable legacy.
Thank you, Barbara Walters pic.twitter.com/vsfKUL8HEk
— Janai Norman (@janai) December 31, 2022
I owe Barbara Walters more than I could ever repay. Rest well sister…mother…friend…colleague…mentor.
— Star Jones (@StarJonesEsq) December 31, 2022