A television icon. Barbara Walters spent six decades as a hard-hitting journalist — interviewing everyone from controversial political leaders to some of the world’s most high-profile stars — prior to her retirement in 2014.
Walters kicked off her career in the 1960s on the Today show, where she went from working behind the scenes as a producer and writer to making her way in front of the camera as a popular cohost.
Her reach only expanded in the following decade when she landed a different cohost position, this time at ABC Evening News — the network that she would call home for the next five decades. The Massachusetts native’s tenure on the news program, coupled with her own Barbara Walters Special, gave her access to (and insight into) public figures ranging from President Richard Nixon and Fidel Castro to Lucille Ball and Fred Astaire.
In 1979, Walters landed another career-defining role as the host of ABC’s 20/20, a position she held until 2004. As the television anchor continued to lead the industry with countless celebrity interviews, her own fame grew as well. Her enduring catchphrase — “I’m Barbara Walters, and this is 20/20” — held up so well through the decades that she briefly came out of retirement in order to utter the words on New Year’s Eve 2019.
Walters not only carved out a path for herself during her many years in the television industry, but also amplified the voices of her fellow female stars with the creation of The View in 1997. After the broadcast journalist founded the Emmy-winning daytime talk show, she cohosted the popular series for close to 20 years, sparring and discussing current events with various iterations of fellow hosts, including Rosie O’Donnell and Whoopi Goldberg.
In May 2013, Walters announced she would be retiring the following year.
“I’ve been thinking about it for a long time and this is what I want to do. … I’m not walking into the sunset. I don’t want to appear on another program,” she told viewers at the time. “I want instead to sit in a sunny field and admire the gifted women and OK, some men, too, who will be taking my place. I’ve had an amazing career beyond anything I could ever have imagined.”
Keep scrolling to see Walters’ most memorable moments — including her multiple marriages and her incredible career success — through the years:
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