Barbara Walters has arguably interviewed more statesmen and stars than any other journalist in history. She is so well known that her name and a brief biography is listed in the American Heritage Dictionary.
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Ms. Walters' numerous and timely interviews -- which appear regularly on the weekly newsmagazine 20/20 and on The Barbara Walters Specials -- read like a "Who's Who" of newsmakers. This past season, she did the first interview for American television with Russia's President Vladimir Putin and the first interview with President and Mrs. Bush following September 11th. She also did a one-hour special on Saudi Arabia following her visit there.
Through the years she has interviewed such world figures as Russia's Boris Yeltsin, China's Premier Jiang Zemin, Great Britain's former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Libya's Moammar Quadaffi and Iraq's President Sadaam Hussein.
At the other extreme, in 1999 Ms. Walters conducted the first interview with Monica Lewinsky, which became the highest-rated news program ever broadcast by a single network.
She has interviewed every American President and First Lady since Richard Nixon. She made journalism history by arranging the first joint interview with Egypt's President Anwar Sadat and Israel's Prime Minister Menachem Begin in November, 1977. Another of her "firsts" was an hour-long primetime conversation with Cuban President Fidel Castro -- an interview which has been printed in half a dozen languages and shown all over the world.
The Barbara Walters Specials are continuously the top-rated specials of the year and have included such legends as Sir Laurence Olivier, Bing Crosby, John Wayne, Bette Davis and Audrey Hepburn. More recent interviews of superstars have included Tom Cruise, Halle Berry, Harrison Ford, Julia Roberts, Tom Hanks, John Travolta, Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Ms. Walters' The Ten Most Fascinating People special broadcast, launched in 1993, offers a year-end review of the most prominent newsmakers of the year as well as the selection of the "most fascinating" individual.
Ms. Walters' is co-owner, co-executive producer and co-host of The View, the original forum where real women discuss relevant, everyday issues and share their daily, no-holds-barred opinions and lively, colorful conversations. It consists of hot topics in the news, the best experts in their field, celebrity interviews and general entertainment. The View premiered in August 1997 and is broadcast live from New York City.
Ms. Walters joined ABC News in 1976 as the first woman to co-host the network news. In 1984, she became co-host of the ABC newsmagazine 20/20, which is currently in its 24th season on the network.
Prior to joining ABC, she appeared on NBC's Today Show for 15 years. She began as a writer on the Today Show, and within a year became a reporter-at-large, developing, writing and editing her own reports and interviews. In 1963 she became a co-host of the program without the official title, but in 1974 NBC officially designated her as the program's first female co-host.
Ms. Walters was a member of the NBC News team that went to the People's Republic of China to cover the visits of President Richard Nixon in 1972 and President Gerald Ford in 1975. In addition to the Today Show, Ms. Walters hosted her own highly popular syndicated series, Not for Women Only. The program went off the air when she left for ABC. Early in her career she was a writer for CBS News and, before that, she was the youngest producer with NBC-TV's New York station (WNBC-TV).
Over the years, Ms. Walters has received national recognition for her work and has been the recipient of numerous prestigious honors and awards. Among these are:
· Induction into the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences' Hall of Fame "for being acknowledged worldwide as one of television's most respected interviewers and journalists," 1990
· The Lowell Thomas Award for a career in journalism excellence by Marist College, 1990
· The Overseas Press Club's highest award, the President's Award, 1988
· Salute by the American Museum of the Moving Image, March 19, 1992
· Lifetime Achievement Award, International Women's Media Foundation, 1991
· Lifetime Achievement Award, Women's Project and Productions, 1993
· Honored by the Museum of Television & Radio for her contributions to broadcast journalism, 1996
· The Muse Award from NY Women in Film and Television, 1997
· Lifetime Achievement Award, National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, 2000
Ms. Walters is the recipient of honorary doctoral degrees from Sarah Lawrence, her alma mater, as well as Ohio State University, Temple University, Marymount College, Wheaton College, Hofstra University and Ben-Gurion University in Jerusalem.
A native of Boston, Ms. Walters is the daughter of the famed entertainment impresario Lou Walters and has one daughter.
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