Barbara Walters Biography, Career, Net Worth, And Other Interesting Facts

Barbara Walters was a famous American journalist and TV personality born on September 25, 1929, She was well-known for her interviewing skills and was loved by many viewers. She hosted several TV shows like Today, ABC Evening News, 20/20, and The View. Walters worked in journalism from 1951 until she retired in 2015. She received many honors during her career, including induction into the Television Hall of Fame in 1989, a Lifetime Achievement Award from NATAS in 2000, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2007.

Walters began her career at WNBT-TV in New York in 1953, where she worked on a show called Ask the Camera. She then joined NBC’s Today Show in the 1960s as a writer and producer. Over time, she became more popular and eventually became the co-host of the show in 1974, making her the first woman to hold such a position on a major news program in the US. In 1976, she made history again by becoming the first female co-anchor of a network evening news program on the ABC Evening News.

Throughout her career, Barbara Walters interviewed many famous people, including US presidents and first ladies, like Richard and Pat Nixon, and Barack and Michelle Obama. She also interviewed other notable figures like Donald Trump, Joe Biden, Fidel Castro, and Katharine Hepburn.

Walters also created and co-hosted The View, a daytime talk show, from 1997 until her retirement in 2014. Even after retiring, she continued to work on special reports for 20/20 and documentary series. Her last appearance on ABC News was in 2015, and she was last seen publicly in 2016.

Full NameBarbara Jill Walters
Date of BirthSeptember 25, 1929
Place of BirthBoston, Massachusetts
OccupationTelevision Journalist
Height5 ft 4 in (1.68 m)
SpouseMerv Adelson
ChildrenJacqueline Dena Guber
Net Worth$170 million

Barbara Walters Early Life and Education

Barbara Walters Early Life

Barbara Walters was Born on September 25, 1929, in Boston, Barbara Jill Walters made her mark on the world of television journalism. Her parents, Dena and Lou Walters, both came from families of Russian-Jewish immigrants. Lou’s father, Abraham Isaac Waremwasser, originally from Łódź, Poland, moved to England and changed his last name to Warmwater. Lou was born in London in 1898 and later moved to New York City with his family.

Growing up, Barbara’s dad ran a nightclub called the Latin Quarter in Boston, which he co-owned with E. M. Loew. In 1942, he opened a famous location of the club in New York City. He also worked as a Broadway producer and organized big shows like the Ziegfeld Follies of 1943. Barbara had an older brother, Burton, who sadly passed away as a baby, and an older sister, Jacqueline, who had special needs and later died of ovarian cancer.

Barbara’s dad had ups and downs in his career, sometimes making lots of money and other times losing it all. She remembered how during the good times, he’d take her to watch rehearsals for the nightclub shows, and the performers would fuss over her. But when things got tough, her family lost their fancy home in New York and had to start over. Barbara’s mom wished she had married someone with a steadier job, like a doctor.

Barbara Walters went to different schools as her family moved around. She started at Lawrence School in Massachusetts but moved to Miami Beach in fifth grade. After a brief return to New York for eighth grade, she went back to Miami, then back to New York again for high school. Finally, she graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in 1951 with a degree in English.


Early Career Highlights & TV Ventures

Barbara Walters worked at a small ad agency in NYC for about a year. Then, she joined WNBT-TV (now WNBC), where she did publicity and wrote press releases. In 1953, she made a kids’ show called Ask the Camera, directed by Roone Arledge. She also produced for TV host Igor Cassini (Cholly Knickerbocker) but quit when he pushed her to marry him and got into a fight with another guy she liked. After that, she went to WPIX to make the Eloise McElhone Show, but it got canceled in 1954. Finally, she became a writer for The Morning Show on CBS in 1955.

Pioneering Female Co-Host on The Today Show and Beyond

Barbara Walters Biography, Career, Net Worth, And Other Interesting Facts

After working at Tex McCrary Inc. and Redbook magazine, Barbara Walters joined NBC’s The Today Show in 1961. At first, she handled lighter tasks like weather reports. But back then, it was rare for women to report on serious news. Walters changed that, becoming a reporter within a year. She even did her own stories, like one about nuns and another about Playboy Bunnies.

In 1971, Walters started her show called Not for Women Only, which aired after The Today Show. She had a good working relationship with Hugh Downs. But when Frank McGee became the host, he didn’t want to share interviews with Walters unless he got to ask the first three questions. It wasn’t until McGee passed away in 1974 that Walters was officially named the show’s first female co-host. This made her the first woman to co-host a news program in the U.S.

Pioneering Anchor & $5M ABC Deal Maker

Barbara Walters landed a big $5 million deal with ABC for five years, making her the highest-paid news anchor, male or female. She teamed up with Harry Reasoner to co-anchor the ABC Evening News from 1976 to 1978, becoming the first woman in the U.S. to anchor a network news show. But it wasn’t all smooth sailing. Reasoner wasn’t keen on having a co-anchor and was generally unhappy at ABC. This caused some tension between them, though Walters insists it wasn’t personal.

In 1979, Walters joined the ABC newsmagazine 20/20, where she worked with former The Today Show host Downs again. They became co-hosts in 1984 until Walters retired from the role in 2004. During her time at ABC, Walters also appeared on special news events like presidential inaugurations and coverage of 9/11. She even moderated debates between presidential candidates, like one in 1976 between Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford and another in 1984 at Saint Anselm College.

Master of Celebrity Conversations and Controversial Questions

Barbara Walters Biography, Career, Net Worth, And Other Interesting Facts

Barbara Walters was good at talking to famous people and getting them to open up. In 1976, she started a show where she interviewed big names, like Jimmy Carter and Barbra Streisand. One time, she even got the Egyptian President and the Israeli Prime Minister to talk together while they were making peace.

She interviewed lots of other important people too, like the Shah of Iran, Boris Yeltsin, Margaret Thatcher, and Fidel Castro. But she didn’t just talk to politicians; she also interviewed celebrities like Michael Jackson and Katharine Hepburn.

There’s this famous moment when she asked Katharine Hepburn what kind of tree she would be. Hepburn said an oak because they don’t get sick like other trees. Walters and Hepburn had a funny relationship; Hepburn would tease Walters about being late and demand chocolates when they met.

Walters once interviewed Fidel Castro and asked him about freedom of the press in Cuba. He said they didn’t have the same kind of freedom as in the U.S., and Walters disagreed with him.

In 1999, Barbara Walters had a really big interview with Monica Lewinsky that a lot of people watched. She asked Lewinsky what she would tell her kids about the mistakes she made, and Lewinsky said she messed up. Walters ended the interview with a dramatic statement.

She also did this show every year where she talked about the most interesting people, and sometimes she asked questions that made people uncomfortable. Like when she asked Ricky Martin about his sexuality before he was ready to talk about it publicly. Later, he said he felt like she invaded his privacy, and Walters said she wished she hadn’t pushed him on it.

Iconic Host and Co-Creator of The View

Barbara Walters was one of the main hosts of the daytime talk show The View. She also worked as a co-executive producer for a company called BarWall Productions for 25 years, along with her partner, Bill Geddie. Together, they started the company. The View first aired on August 11, 1997. In the beginning, Walters described the show as a place where women from different backgrounds and ages could share their opinions. In the second season, the opening credits included the phrase “Be careful what you wish for…” During her time on The View, Walters and her co-hosts won the Daytime Emmy Awards for Best Talk Show in 2003 and Best Talk Show Host in 2009.

Walters stopped being a regular co-host on May 15, 2014, but she made occasional appearances as a guest co-host in 2014 and 2015, even after officially retiring.

A Legacy of Interviews and Specials Even After Retirement

Barbara Walters Biography, Career, Net Worth, And Other Interesting Facts

After Barbara Walters stopped co-hosting 20/20 in 2004, she didn’t completely leave ABC News. She still did some special shows and interviews until 2016. In 2010, she said she wouldn’t do Oscar interviews anymore but would still work at ABC and on The View.

In 2013, news came out that Walters would retire in 2014. She didn’t confirm or deny it at first, but later on, she said she would indeed retire from hosting and interviewing on TV. She made the official announcement on The View in May 2013. She said she’d keep working behind the scenes as long as The View was on.

In 2014, Barbara Walters said she was “coming out of retirement” for a special 20/20 interview with someone involved in the Isla Vista killings. She also did some other special interviews in 2015 and hosted a documentary series.

She hosted 10 Most Fascinating People on ABC in 2014 and 2015. Her last TV interview was with Donald Trump in 2015, and she made her final public appearance in 2016.

In 2023, ABC did a special about her, and they mentioned that they kept her office the same even after she stopped working in 2016. They said her papers still came every day, and her office extension was still active.

What Is Barbara Walters’s Net Worth?

Barbara Walters’s Net Worth is estimated to be $170 Million as of 2024, according to Celebrity Net Worth.

Personal life

Intriguing Love Life: Four Marriages, Notable Affairs, and Famous Friends

Barbara Walters Biography, Career, Net Worth, And Other Interesting Facts

Barbara Walters had quite a journey when it came to love and relationships. She was married four times to three different men. Her first husband was Robert Henry Katz, who worked in business and used to be in the Navy. They got married in 1955 but the marriage didn’t last long, only about eleven months.

Her second husband was Lee Guber, who was involved in theater. They got married in 1963 but ended up divorcing in 1976. Walters had some tough times with miscarriages, so they adopted a baby girl named Jacqueline Dena Guber in 1968.

Her third husband was Merv Adelson, who was a big shot at Lorimar Television. They first got married in 1981 but divorced in 1984. Then, they remarried in 1986 but split up again in 1992.

Before all this, in college, Walters had a thing with a lawyer named Roy Cohn. There’s a bit of a rumor that he wanted to marry her before she got hitched to Lee Guber, but Walters denies it. She felt thankful to Cohn for helping her adopt her daughter, Jacqueline, and for assisting her dad with some legal trouble.

Walters also dated some other notable people. There was Alan Greenspan, who later became a big shot at the Federal Reserve. Then, there was John Warner, a U.S. Senator, in the 1990s.

In her autobiography, she mentioned having an affair with Edward Brooke, who was also a married U.S. Senator at the time. It’s not entirely clear if Walters was married herself then. They decided to end things to avoid causing a scandal.

Later on, she dated Robert Neil Butler, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his work on aging. Walters had some famous friends too, like Tom Brokaw, Woody Allen, Joan Rivers, and Roger Ailes from Fox News. In 2013, Walters mentioned that she wished she had more children.

Heart Surgery, Triumphant Return, and Lasting Legacy

In May 2010, Barbara Walters announced that she needed surgery to replace a faulty valve in her heart. She had a condition called aortic stenosis, but she didn’t have any symptoms. Four days after the surgery, her spokesperson said that the operation went well and the doctors were happy with how it went. Walters went back to hosting her shows, “The View” and “Here’s Barbara,” in September 2010.

After four years, Walters retired from both shows. Sadly, she passed away at her home in Manhattan on December 30, 2022, at the age of 93. In her later years, she suffered from dementia. Her final words were, “No regrets – I had a great life.” These words are now written on her gravestone at Lakeside Memorial Park in Doral, Florida.

Legacy in TV Journalism and Pop Culture

Barbara Walters Legacy in TV Journalism and Pop Culture

Barbara Walters started her career when many TV bosses didn’t think women could be taken seriously reporting on important topics like wars and politics. But she proved them wrong and opened doors for future female anchors like Jane Pauley, Katie Couric, and Diane Sawyer. She was good at getting people to talk about their thoughts and share stories.

She got lots of awards for her work, like Emmys and a Hollywood Walk of Fame star. Disney even gave her a special award for helping their company, since ABC, the network she worked for, is owned by Disney. In 2009, she got a big Lifetime Achievement Award at a fancy event in New York.

Walters was so well-known that she was even parodied on Saturday Night Live, where they made fun of how she talked with her unique style. And she made it into a crossword puzzle in the New York Times!