Barbara Walters, Pioneering US Television Broadcaster, Dies at 93

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Barbara Walters, Pioneering US Television Broadcaster, Dies at 93

Barbara Walters, the pioneering US television broadcaster, has died at the age of 93. Over a career spanning half a century, she became the first female network news anchor in the US when she joined ABC News in 1976, and won 12 Emmy awards.

Born in Boston in 1929, the daughter of a showbusiness booking agent, Walters began her journalism career in 1961 with NBC, where she became a segment producer of women's interest stories. She rose through the ranks of the male-dominated industry, making history in 1974 by becoming the first female co-host of a US news programme, on NBC's Today Show.

When she broke the glass ceiling again by becoming the first female network news anchor on ABC's evening bulletin, her unprecedented $1m salary made her a media superstar. Throughout her career, Walters interviewed every US president from Richard Nixon to Donald Trump, as well as a host of music and pop culture stars.

She also interviewed world leaders including UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Cuban President Fidel Castro, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin. In 2011, she interviewed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad a few months after a public uprising that would eventually turn into the country's civil war.

Walters retired from her 52-year career in 2014, with a final appearance on her daytime show, The View. She was joined on the programme by Hillary Clinton and media mogul Oprah Winfrey, both frequent interview subjects.

Tributes flooding in for Walters.

Journalist Dan Rather said that "journalism has lost a pillar of professionalism, courage, and integrity".

News anchor Don Lemon tweeted: "She was obviously amazing on television but I selfishly loved spending time with her in person. Sitting next to her at a dinner party was the best seat in the house. "With love, respect and admiration - rest in peace Barbara Walters."

Oprah Winfrey described Walters as "such a powerful and gracious role model".