Barbara Walters and Tricia Nixon speak before an interview in 1972. Walters and her NBC “Today Show” colleague Ed Newman also covered her wedding in 1971.
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1976 ABC Evening News
Barbara Walters joined ABC as an anchor for the Evening News with Harry Reasoner. She became the first evening news female anchor and received a record $1 million contract.
1977 Sen. John Warner and Elizabeth Taylor
Barbara Walters interviewed Sen. John Warner and Elizabeth Taylor at their Virginia home in 1977 for a Barbara Walters Special.
Barbara Walters arranged a historic joint interview with Egypt’s President Anwar Sadat and Israel’s Prime Minister Menachem Begin for ABC News in 1977. After interviewing them separately, Begin approached Sadat saying, “For the sake of our friend Barbara, will you do the interview together?”
1976 Barbra Streisand
Barbara Walters interviewed Barbra Streisand for the first Barbara Walters Special in 1976
1977 Fidel Castro
It took two years for Barbara Walters to land a coveted interview with Cuban leader Fidel Castro. “My concept of freedom of the press is not yours,” Castro told her. The interview was also shown on Cuban television. She interviewed him again in 2002.
1977 Shah of Iran
Barbara Walters interviewed the Shah of Iran in his palace in 1977, two years before he was overthrown in a popular revolution. Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi talked bluntly about his feelings about women and even his wife. “So you don’t feel that women are in that sense equal, if they have the same intelligence or ability?” Walters asked. “Not so far,” said the Shah. “Maybe you will become in the future. We can always have some exceptions.”
1978 Muhammad Ali and family
Muhammad Ali and his wife, Veronica Porche Ali, introduced Barbara Walters to their daughters Hana and Laila in a 1978 special.
1981 Katharine Hepburn
Barbara Walters recalled her 1981 “20/20” interview with Katharine Hepburn as one of her biggest gaffes. “What kind of a tree are you, if you think you’re a tree?” Walters asked. Hepburn, ever classy, replied, “I would like to be an oak tree. It’s very strong and pretty.”
1983 Johnny Carson
Speaking of the tree question, in an interview with Johnny Carson in 1983, Carson mocked Barbara Walters. “What kind of a question is that? I’d be a tumbleweed.”
The “20/20” news team in 1983: Co-anchors Hugh Downs and Barbara Walters, with correspondents Bob Brown, Tom Jarriel, Sylvia Chase, Geraldo Rivera and John Stossel
1995 Christopher Reeve
Christopher Reeve did his first interview after he was paralyzed with Barbara Walters on “20/20.”
1997 Michael Jackson
Barbara Walters’ exclusive interview with the King of Pop covered the paparazzi, Princess Diana and the tabloids. “I don’t want this to sound insulting, I’m going to be straight with you. You are somewhat eccentric, to say the least. The way you look, the way you dress, it invites attention,” she said. “You don’t think that draws the paparazzi to you?”
1995 Yasser Arafat
Barbara Walters’ wide-ranging interview subjects included the PLO’s Yasser Arafat (pictured), the Kardashians (naming them to her list of Most Fascinating People). Her latest get: an interview with Donald Sterling’s girlfriend V. Stiviano.
1997 “The View”
Barbara Walters created “The View” (with producer Bill Geddie), a daytime talk show aimed at women. The show’s first co-hosts were Meredith Vieira, Joy Behar, Star Jones, Debbie Matenopoulos and Barbara Walters. The show is now in its 17th season.
1999 Monica Lewinsky
A record 74 million people saw Barbara Walters’ interview with Monica Lewinsky. “What will you tell your children, when you have them?” Walters asked. “Mommy made a big mistake,” Lewinsky replied. “You can say that again,” Walters said.
In an interview with Variety‘s Ramin Setoodeh, Walters noted the importance of the Lewinsky interview. “It’s the biggest interview I’ve ever done,” Walters said. “I’d like to interview Monica again. I think Monica’s story is very interesting, because everybody else has been able to move on. I’m touched by the fact that she hasn’t been able to.”
2001 The cast of “Ocean’s Eleven”
Barbara Walters did an interview with the cast of “Ocean’s Eleven” in 2001.
2001 Vladmir Putin
Barbara Walters interviewed Russian president Vladimir Putin in 2001. She grilled him about his past career as a KGB spy. “I think there is no point arguing with a woman,” he said, about a quote Walters brought up from his wife describing him as “intense.”
2007 Hugo Chavez
It was the first time an American journalist had interviewed Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez since he had called President Bush “the devil” a year before. “When you meet him, he’s passionate about his dislike for George Bush. He does like this country, with a new president he feels like we could be friends,” Walters said. “This is not the crazy man that we’ve heard.”
Oprah Winfrey will make an appearance on Friday’s “The View” to honor Barbara Walters’ retirement. Joining Winfrey will be 25 women journalists who were influenced by Walters including Jane Pauley, Katie Couric, Connie Chung, Maria Shriver and Robin Roberts.