Barbara Walters was, as “Wonder Woman” star Lynda Carter correctly described her, “an American institution.” It’s difficult to imagine what the landscape of media, entertainment, and journalism would look like if it weren’t for the doors kicked down by Walters and her undeniable gifts. Barbara Walters wasn’t just a trailblazer for women in journalism, she completely reshaped the way the industry would approach interviewing. Walters was unafraid to tackle difficult subjects and even more difficult people, interviewing everyone from polarizing political figures to eccentric musicians. She met everyone she spoke to with a baseline level of humanity and respect that everyone with a heart and soul has been trying to emulate from beneath her inimitable shadow.
She was emulated and parodied throughout entertainment for decades, like Gilda Radner’s iconic “Baba Wawa” on “Saturday Night Live,” or her fictionalized version on “Tiny Toon Adventures.” Regardless of the target demo, Barbara Walters was a cultural mainstay. Walters was tough but fair and responsible for some of the most memorable moments in pop culture history. Whether it was her groundbreaking interview with Monica Lewinsky in the wake of the Bill Clinton impeachment trial or her unintentionally hilarious read of the Kardashian family, anybody who’s anybody sat opposite Barbara Walters.
But most importantly, Barbara Walters genuinely cared about the work. She was unrelenting in her quest to hold the most powerful people accountable, and never backed down when she knew she was in the right … which she almost always was. She was a brilliant journalist, a heartfelt human, and an inspiration to generations.
Thank you, Barbara. The world is better because of you.