American journalist Barbara Walters, the first woman to host an evening newscast in the United States, has died at the age of 93, her longtime employer, ABC, announced on Friday. This legend of the American audiovisual landscape had said goodbye in 2014 with a “see you soon” in French after more than 50 years of television. She was then 84 years old. The American chain did not disclose the cause of death, nor did it specify where Barbara Walters died.
In 1976, Barbara Walter had been the first woman to anchor the “ABC Evening News,” earning a then-unprecedented salary of $1 million a year. Two years earlier, she co-hosted a morning show on NBC. But it had been a “flop”, Barbara Walters recalled 40 years later. “My male co-presenter didn’t want a (female) partner and neither did the audience.”
The journalist had interviewed all the American presidents from Richard Nixon to Barack Obama, foreign leaders such as Saddam Hussein, Anouar el-Sadat and Fidel Castro, the Dalai Lama and other celebrities such as Bette Davis and Angelina Jolie. She herself became a celebrity in the American news world, especially thanks to the daily program “The View”, which she had created in 1997 on ABC. The journalist had won twelve Emmy awards.
When she left in 2014, she said she was happy to have been a pioneer in a profession long reserved for men. Hillary Clinton had come to pay her respects, as well as television host and producer Oprah Winfrey and about twenty female television journalists.