Women journalists paid tribute to the late 93-year-old and hailed her as a pioneer in the field.
Women journalists across the world are mourning Barbara Walters after she died on December 30, 2022, at the age of 93. The first female anchor of a network evening news program, Walters spent more than 50 years breaking barriers in a male-dominated industry. "She lived her life with no regrets. She was a trailblazer not only for female journalists but for all women," her publicist Cindi Berger said in a statement, adding that the legendary news anchor died peacefully in her New York home.
Walters began her career in 1961 as a reporter, writer and panel member for NBC's Today show. She was later promoted in 1976 to become the first female anchor on an evening news program, reports CNN. The longtime anchor was also the creator of the talk show The View. She was best known for one-on-one interviews with world leaders, movie stars and other high-profile subjects. Since her death, one of the most talked about interviews of hers has been the one where she grilled Sean Connery over his infamous comments about hitting women. Her strong stance against Connery's sexist remarks has won the Emmy-winning broadcaster much praise from fans.
When Barbara Walters put Sean Connery on blast. Legend. R.I.P. pic.twitter.com/KVmLDHv2eU— Don Lewis (@DonLew87) December 31, 2022
Many women journalists also praised Walters for inspiring other women in broadcast journalism. "Barbara was a trailblazer, a singular force who opened the door for every woman in television news," ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer said in a statement, according to NBC News. "Sadness. Gratitude. And a salute from all of us who know what we owe her," added Sawyer, who co-hosted 20/20 with Walters on Sundays from 1998 to 2000.
Katie Couric who co-anchored TODAY from 1991 to 2006 also paid tribute to Walters. "Barbara Walters was the OG of female broadcasters," the 65-year-old posted on Instagram. "She was just as comfortable interviewing world leaders as she was Oscar winners and her body of work is unparalleled."
Pointing out that she was "a lucky recipient of her kindness and encouragement," Couric continued: "When I landed a big (impromptu) interview with President Bush, she wrote me a note that I still have framed in my office: Dear Katie, You were terrific with Mrs. Bush (you knew far more than she did) and nabbing the President was a real coup. You are so darn good! Bravo! Barbara. As I wrote in my book, she liked to say we were similar — that neither of us was particularly glamorous. I never quite knew how to take that! But the fact that Barbara saw some of her on me was nothing but a compliment. Thank you for everything, Barbara. #RIP."
Speaking to CNN's Chris Cuomo when leaving The View in 2014, Walters said: "I knew it was time. I like all the celebration, that's great, but in my heart, I thought, 'I want to walk away while I'm still doing good work.' So I will."
She also referred to the women who looked up to her throughout her career as her legacy. "How do you say goodbye to something like 50 years in television?" she asked. "How proud when I see all the young women who are making and reporting the news. If I did anything to help make that happen, that is my legacy. From the bottom of my heart, to all of you with whom I have worked and who have watched and been by my side, I can say: 'Thank you.'"