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Thursday, September 12, 2024

Pride in Aging: Barbara Walters

Introducing our new series, Pride in Aging!
Each month, we’ll explore the incredible courage, resilience and grace of some of our world’s most inspiring senior citizens. 

Vladimir _Putin _with _Barbara _Walters -2

Broadcast journalist, author and television personality Barbara Walters has been making her mark since 1962, when she first appeared on television. Since then, she has hosted a variety of television shows, produced news programs and successfully changed what it means to be a female journalist. Today, Walters is 84 years old, and despite her decision to retire from morning talk show The View, she continues to be a prominent figure in the world of media. 

Walters was born in 1929 in Boston, at a time when women were not given as many career opportunities as men. She attended Sarah Lawrence College, where she received her B.A. in English. After graduation, she moved to New York City and began to produce a number of small-budget television shows. Soon after, Walters landed the job as a writer on The Morning Show.

Things didn’t come easy for Ms. Walters. Despite finding success early on in her career, she was faced with a number of obstacles, stemming mostly from gender inequality. In 1962, she began working on The Today Show with co-host Hugh Downs. Due to her innate ability to connect with the audience, Walters was given more and more airtime as years passed. When Downs left the program, she was not given a voice in who would take his place. In 1971, Frank McGee was hired and given a salary that was twice the amount of Walter’s. After his death, she was finally named a “co-host,” making her the first woman to hold that title for any news program or network.

In 1997, Walters began work as co-host and producer on ABC’s 20/20 at the same time she was creating and appearing on The View. Her natural way of interviewing and addressing the public has inspired young journalists all over the world. Remarkably, she accomplished so much at a young age, but never stopped working. Walters could have easily given up on her dreams at a time when women weren’t being taken seriously as journalists. She could have retired years ago, feeling content with everything she’s accomplished. But Walters has never stopped doing what she loves. She’s made it possible for women to exist on news programs, while cluing the world in on what it means to be successful. Despite being 84 years old and retiring from The View, I can’t image that Walters will disappear from television. She is living proof that with age comes knowledge, and with knowledge comes lifelong triumph.

Melanie Marzillo
Research & Community Education
Chicago Skilled Nursing
Chicago Senior Living

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