Barbara Walters, a trailblazing journalist and television host who made history as the first female anchor on an American evening news program, has died at the age of 93. Walters, who was best known for her work at ABC News and for creating the popular talk show The View, passed away at her home in New York, according to Robert Iger, CEO of ABC's parent company, The Walt Disney Co. No further information was given about the circumstances of her death.
Throughout her five-decade career, Walters conducted interviews with numerous world leaders and celebrities, including Fidel Castro, Margaret Thatcher, Moammar Gadhafi, Saddam Hussein, Boris Yeltsin, Vladimir Putin, and every U.S. president and first lady since Richard and Pat Nixon. She also hosted a pre-Oscars interview program featuring Academy Award nominees for 29 years and had an annual "most fascinating people" show, although she eventually stopped doing celebrity interviews due to fatigue.
Although Walters was known for asking softball questions, she also had a reputation for being able to ask tough questions when necessary. In a 2013 interview with The New York Times, she cited examples of asking Russian presidents Yeltsin and Putin if they drank too much and killed anyone, respectively.
Walters began her career in public relations after graduating from Sarah Lawrence College, but eventually joined NBC's Today show as a writer and segment producer in 1961. She became a regular on the program through her feature stories and eventually moved to ABC in 1976, where she made history as the first woman co-anchor on an evening newscast. Despite facing resistance and hostility from her co-anchors, Walters persevered and went on to establish herself as a respected journalist and television host on ABC's prime-time news magazine show 20/20, where being interviewed by Walters became a coveted distinction for her subjects.