Barbara Jill Walters was born on September 25, 1929 in Boston, Massachusetts. Her father, Lou Walters, owned a chain of nightclubs, and her mother’s name is Dena. She had an older brother, Burton, and a younger sister, Jacqueline, but both have passed away. She attended private schools, Fieldston and Birch Wathen, in New York City, and then graduated from Miami Beach High School in 1949. She went on to Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York, where she earned a degree in English.
After graduation, Walters worked for a publicity director, then as a writer for CBS News, and then in 1961 was hired on The Today Show
as a writer and researcher. She became the show’s first woman co-host in 1974. She later worked for the ABC news magazine 20/20
, co-hosting with Hugh Downs
and was the show’s only host from 1999 to 2002. Walters is especially known for her interviews of the famous and powerful. She has interviewed Anwar Sadat, Menachem Begin, Boris Yeltsin, Margaret Thatcher, Fidel Castro, King Hussein of Jordan, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, Michael Jackson, and Monica Lewinsky, to name just a few. Currently, Walters also co-hosts the morning women's talk show, The View
. She is a co-creator and co-executive producer for the show as well.
Walters has been married and divorced three times. Her first marriage to Robert Henry Katz, was annulled in 1958. Her second, to Lee Guber, lasted thirteen years, and the couple adopted a daughter together, named Jacqueline Dena Guber. Her final husband was Merv Adelson, who was the CEO of Lorimar Television, whom Walters married in 1986, but divorced in 1992. She is a vegetarian who especially loves dogs, and currently has a pet Havanese dog named Cha-Cha.