Cause of Choice: AHRC New York City
College Career Ambitions: Teacher
Top Talent: “I'm a good editor, that's what I do best.”
Secret Talent: She took a speedwriting course after college and finished first in her class.
Barbara Walters is easily America’s most celebrated interviewer who, in May 2013, announced she would retire from TV journalism in 2014. She has spoken with more statesmen and stars than any other journalist in history and earned more accolades and acclaim than virtually anyone appearing on one of her famous "Barbara Walters Specials." Walters began her career more than five decades ago as a writer on NBC’sToday show and within a year was developing, writing, and editing her own reports and interviews. She became the show’s co-host—unprecedented for a woman—in 1963, but waited almost eleven years for the network to name her officially as such. Walters was among the NBC News team that went to the People’s Republic of China to cover the visits of Presidents Nixon in 1972 and Ford in 1975.
The following year, ABC caused a "battle of the sexes" sensation by hiring her away for ABC Evening News and making her, at once, the first woman to co-anchor an evening network newscast and the highest-paid figure in TV journalism. She served as co-host of 20/20 for 25 years and has interviewed every American president and First Lady since Richard Nixon. In 1977, Walters’ massive visibility and stature helped her make journalistic—and world—history by arranging the first joint interview with Egyptian President Anwar Al Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin. Another “first” she accomplished was an hour-long primetime conversation with Cuban President Fidel Castro. She is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and she hasn’t stopped yet. Walters remains an ABC News correspondent and is co-host and executive producer of ABC Daytime's The View, a program she created.