According to ABC, she passed away quietly at her New York City residence on Friday (December 30).
Barbara Walters, trailblazing journalist and television icon, has reportedly died at 93. According to ABC, she passed away quietly at her New York City residence on Friday (December 30). Walters was famous for her in-depth interviews with important cultural figures, celebrities, musicians, residents and sports legends. She also never shied away from interviewing Hip Hop artists—no matter how controversial. From JAY-Z and Kanye West to Will Smith and Diddy, Walters had a way of getting even the most hardened rappers to open up.
In 2005, Walters included Kanye West on her list of the “10 Most Fascinating People of 2005,” while JAY-Z made the list the following year. West popped up on the same list again in 2013. Years later, she got Diddy to admit he envied JAY-Z’s and Beyoncé’s relationship during an appearance on The View, the daytime talkshow Walters founded.
I’d love to have what Jay and Beyonce have,” Diddy said at the time. “My ideal woman has to have intellect and soul. I don’t woo them with flowers, I need to know they like me for real.”
Walters also sat down with Will Smith multiple times over the years for extensive interviews, one of which went slightly left when the blockbuster movie star suggested the AIDS virus was created by the government.
Although Walters officially retired from journalism in 2014, her legacy lives on through her provocative conversations with hundreds of subjects. Her 1999 interview with Monica Lewinsky, former president Bill Clinton’s infamous mistress, netted the biggest audience ever for a journalist.
Beyond Walters’ interviews, the Emmy Award-winner’s moxie helped blaze a trail for other women to follow beginning in the 1960s. After putting in 12 years at NBC, she became the highest-paid television journalist when she accepted a $1 million contract from ABC. At one point, she was earning as much as $12 million per year at the company, where she worked from 1976 until her retirement.
Naturally, Twitter has blown up with reactions to Barbara Walters’ death. Fellow anchor Dan Rather, actress Alyssa Milano, NBA superstar Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and co-worker David Muir were among the hundreds mourning on social media. Check out some of the reactions below