UPDATED: Walter Cronkite, David Brinkley and Edward R. Murrow helped shape TV news. Barbara Walters ranks with those TV giants because of her drive, influence and savvy.
She also broke ground for women, which makes her a seminal figure in TV history and U.S. culture. She may be spoofed as Baba Wawa, who made her guests cry. Yet Walters gets the last laugh, and she knows it. She showed up on "Saturday Night Live" to mock herself.
Ultimately, she leaves a profound and lasting mark on TV news for excelling at both hard and pop-culture news.
She steps away from daily television this week. All the hosts of “The View,” past and present, join her at 11 a.m. Thursday. Walters exits the chatfest she created on Friday. The guests for Walters' last week at "The View" include David Letterman, Goldie Hawn, Jane Fonda, Michael Douglas and Michael J. Fox.
ABC will salute Walters with a two-hour special, “Her Story,” at 9 p.m. Friday. That program will replay famous clips and chart Walters’ path.
She won acclaim and broke ground at NBC’s “Today,” but her stint as an ABC evening news co-anchor flopped. The indefatigable Walters remade herself, kept plugging away and endured through her anchoring of "20/20," her prime-time specials and her major interviews.
In one of the best-remembered interviews, Katharine Hepburn described herself as a tree. Walters followed that up by asking what kind of tree. Hepburn said she'd like to be an oak, and Walters never heard the end of the ribbing.
Let them all laugh. In the forest of TV journalism, Walters is a redwood, standing tall.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times