Bob Iger—the CEO of the Walt Disney Company, which owns ABC, Walters’ longtime employer—said she died Dec. 30 at her home in New York.
“Barbara was a true legend, a pioneer not just for women in journalism but for journalism itself,” Iger tweeted. “She was a one-of-a-kind reporter who landed many of the most important interviews of our time, from heads of state and leaders of regimes to the biggest celebrities and sports icons.”
He added, “I had the pleasure of calling Barbara a colleague for more than three decades, but more importantly, I was able to call her a dear friend.”
Although her literary career, which included writing for Redbook Magazine, began early as the 1950s, Walters’ first television appearance was as a “Today Girl” on the Today show, where she ascended to reporter-at-large within just a year. In 1974, as co-host of the morning program, Walters became the first woman to hold that particular title for an American news show.