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Barbara Walters, a media icon, dies at 93


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According to CBS,

Barbara Walters, the iconic TV journalist known for her interviews with presidents, world leaders and Hollywood stars, has died at the age of 93, a representative for Walters confirmed to CBS News Friday night. 

“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,” representative Cindi Berger said in a statement. 

There was no immediate word on a cause of Walters’ death.

Walters was a familiar face on America’s television sets for more than 50 years, interviewing every president from Richard Nixon to Barack Obama and setting a standard few others could match.  

It was at NBC that Walters began to develop her signature interviewing technique: questions that seemed casual but turned out to be revealing. In a 2000 interview with the Television Academy reflecting on her career, she described her process for developing those questions.

“I write questions on cards, and I write hundreds…” she said. “I write everything I can think of. I go around and I say to people, ‘What would you ask if you could? What would you ask?’ And then I boil them down and boil them down and boil them down.” 

In 1974, Walters was named the first female co-host of “Today.” Two years later, she left for ABC, where she became the first woman to co-anchor a network evening news broadcast.  

She reached spectacular heights at ABC, including arranging and conducting the first-ever joint interview with Egypt’s President Anwar Sadat and Israel’s Prime Minister Menachem Begin in November 1977 as they led their countries to a history-making peace accord.

ABC's Barbara Walters - File Photos
 Barbara Walters interviews Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin on Nov. 20, 1977. ABC PHOTO ARCHIVES VIA GETTY IMAGES

Former CBS News anchor Dan Rather tweeted Friday that Walters was a “trailblazer and a true pro” who “outworked, out-thought, and out-hustled her competitors. She left the world the better for it. She will be deeply missed.”  

On ABC’s newsmagazine “20/20” and in her own specials, Walters continued adding to her list of big interviews. Her guests included Russian President Boris Yeltsin, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Cuban leader Fidel Castro, Libya’s Moammar Qadaffi and Iraq’s Sadaam Hussein. She also conducted the first interview with President George W. Bush after the September 11 terrorist attacks, and was the first American journalist to interview Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Along the way, she became one of the best-known and most admired women in America — famous enough to be spoofed on “Saturday Night Live.”

Walters also helped create the mid-morning talk show “The View,” which she said came to be in 1997 when the network asked if she had any ideas for daytime TV. She told the Television Academy that “The View” allowed her to show a side of her personality that didn’t come across in a typical interview. 

“People saw me as very authoritative and very serious because that’s what I did mostly. And on here, I can be myself — I have to be careful, because these other women can sort of go too far with me, you know, they’ll ask me about my sex life or who I was — you know, what I did, I don’t know, personal questions, what I did last Saturday night,” she said. “But it’s a chance for me to be much more myself, and to laugh, and to speak spontaneously, and it’s been very successful.”

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