Barbara Walters Net Worth 2022 – Salary, Income, Earnings

Barbara Walters Net Worth

Barbara Walters has an estimated net worth of $170 million. Famed television journalist Barbara Walters is best known as the 11-year star of the ‘Today’ show, and for being the first female co-anchor of a network evening news program. She earns most of her income from her career as a television personality. 

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, journalist Barbara Walters honed her signature interviewing style while working on NBC’s Today show and ABC’s 20/20. Walters debuted The View, a now-famous talk show, in 1997.

To calculate the net worth of Barbara Walters, subtract all her liabilities from her total assets. Investments, savings, cash deposits, and any equity she has in a house, car, or other similar asset are included in the total assets. All debts, such as personal loans and mortgages, are included in total liabilities.

Here’s the breakdown of her net worth:

Name: Barbara Walters
Net Worth: $170 Million
Monthly Salary: $2 Million
Annual Income: $30 Million
Source of Wealth: Journalist, Television producer, Author, Presenter, Screenwriter, Actor, Talk show host

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Early Life

Barbara Jill Walters, a journalist and writer, was born on September 25, 1929, in Boston, Massachusetts, to Dena Seletsky Walters and nightclub impresario Lou Walters. She had two siblings: Jacqueline, who was born with developmental disabilities and died in 1985, and Burton, who died of pneumonia in 1932. Walters was born Jewish, despite the fact that her parents were not practicing Jews.

Lou established a nightclub chain in 1937, expanding his business from Boston, Massachusetts, to Miami Beach, Florida. As a result, Walteres attended private schools in New York City, including Fieldston and Birch Wathen, and graduated from Miami Beach High School in 1947. Walters grew up in a celebrity-filled environment, which has been attributed to her relaxed demeanor when interviewing celebrities.

Walters earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York, in 1953. After working as a secretary for a short time, she landed her first job in journalism as the assistant to WRCA-TV publicity director and Republican activist Tex McCary. Walters moved to CBS after honing her writing and producing skills at the NBC affiliate. She wrote for the network’s Morning Show.

Working For the ‘Today’ Show

NBC hired Walters as a researcher and writer for its popular Today show in 1961. Her first assignments were stories geared toward female audiences. Within a few months, however, she successfully lobbied for a groundbreaking assignment to accompany First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy on a trip to India and Pakistan. Walters was given more responsibility at the network as a result of the report.

By 1964, Walters had become a fixture on the Today show, co-starring with Hugh Downs and, later, Frank McGee, and had earned the moniker “Today girl.” Though she was a co-host, she wasn’t given official billing until 1974, and she wasn’t allowed to ask questions of the show’s “serious” guests until the male co-host finished his.

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Becoming a Household Name

Walters stayed on the show for 11 years, perfecting her trademark probing-yet-casual interviewing style. By 1972, she had established herself as a capable journalist, and she was selected to be a member of the press corps that accompanied President Richard Nixon on his historic trip to China. She won her first Daytime Entertainment Emmy Award for best host of a talk show in 1975.

Walters accepted a job at ABC in 1976 as the first woman co-anchor of a network evening news program, enticed by an unprecedented $1 million annual salary. That same year, she was chosen to moderate the third and final presidential debate between incumbent President Gerald Ford and challenger Jimmy Carter. In 1976, Walters also debuted the first of a series of Barbara Walters Specials. President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalynn Carter were featured in the first interview program. The following year, she arranged the first joint interview between Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.

During this time, Walters honed her reporting skills and developed her probing interview style. She became known for her deftly crafted questions, which frequently caught her subjects off guard and revealed uncommon candor. Her success has been attributed to her relentless pursuit of the “first interview” from a diverse range of people, an uncanny ability to ask the questions the public wants to hear, and her ability to avoid alienating the people she interviews.

Many of Walters’ male coworkers were outraged and openly critical of her sudden success. Among the most vocal was her ABC co-anchor, Harry Reasoner, whose patronizing demeanor could be seen on camera. Critics questioned Walters’ credentials as a credible journalist and questioned the move as a publicity stunt by ABC News to capitalize on Walters’ “star status.” Walters’ credibility issues were exacerbated by Gilda Radner’s famous Saturday Night Live parody of “Baba Wawa,” in which Radner exaggerated Walters’ minor speech impediment. Despite the fact that ABC’s market research showed that male news anchors were not exclusively preferred by the audience, the ratings for the evening news program were disastrous, and Walters was fired within two years.

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Working for ABC’s ’20/20′

Walters began working as a part-time correspondent for the ABC news show 20/20 in 1979. In 1980, she landed an exclusive interview with former President Richard Nixon, his first television interview since his resignation in 1974. She was a regular contributor to the program by the fall of 1981. In 1984, she and former Today show co-host Hugh Downs were promoted to co-host. Downs left the show in 1999, but Walters continued to co-host it with John Miller and, later, John Stossel. Walters’ contract with ABC News was extended for another five years in September 2000. Her reported annual salary of $12 million made her the highest-paid news host in history. Walters stepped down as co-host of 20/20 in September 2004, at the age of 73.

‘The View’

Walters debuted The View, a mid-morning talk show for which she is co-executive producer and co-host, in August 1997. The program features five women’s distinct perspectives on politics, family, careers, and general public-interest issues. The panel of women has included reporter Lisa Ling, attorney Star Jones, journalist and working mother Meredith Vieira, and comedian Joy Behar at various times. Several other notable women, including Whoopi Goldberg, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Sherri Shepherd, Rosie O’Donnell, and Debbie Matenopoulos, have served on the show’s panel over the years.

Walters made headlines in 2006 when she appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show and revealed several “secrets” from her memoir, Audition, including her affair with then-U.S. Senator Edward Brooke in the 1970s. Walters also discussed her resentment of former View co-host Jones in the book, citing Jones’ weight loss and departure from the talk show.

Famous Interviews

Walters has honed the art of “personality journalism” and “first” interviews over the years. She has been chastised for using personal emotion to boost ratings and for relying on “softball questions.” However, Walters’ extensive and diverse range of interviews provides a detailed chronicle of the personalities who influenced the latter half of the twentieth century.

Walters conducted the first interview with Christopher Reeve following his paralysis in a horseback riding accident in 1995. The broadcast received the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award the following April. Walters’ two-hour exclusive with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky in 1999 was the highest-rated news program ever broadcast on a single network.

Walters has conducted timely interviews with world leaders, giving viewers a more three-dimensional perspective on these larger-than-life figures. They include Iran’s Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi; Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s first female prime minister; the Dalai Lama; Boris Yeltsin, Russia’s first post-communist president; and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Walters confronted Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi during an interview “We read in America that you are unstable. We’ve heard you’re crazy.” She pressed Fidel Castro on the lack of press freedom in Cuba, and he agreed. She traveled to Saudi Arabia shortly after the 9/11 attacks to interview Osama bin Laden’s brother, as well as Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud and several Saudi middle-class men and women. Overall, the interviews painted a different picture of the Saudi people and their worldview at a time when most Americans were troubled by the fact that 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis.

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Throughout her distinguished career, Walters has received numerous awards, including the Overseas Press Club’s highest honor, the President’s Award, in 1988; induction into the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame in 1990; the Lowell Thomas Award for a career in journalism excellence in 1990; the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Women’s Media Foundation in 1991; the Muse Award from New York Women in Film and Television in 1997; and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Women’s Media Foundation Honorary doctorates have also been bestowed upon Walters by Ben-Gurion University in Jerusalem, Hofstra University, Marymount College, Ohio State University, Sarah Lawrence College, Temple University, and Wheaton College.


Walters announced her retirement from television journalism in May 2013. She has stated that she will leave the air in 2014, but she will continue to serve as an executive producer on her popular talk show The View. Walters explained to the Los Angeles Times that “I don’t want to go on another show or climb another mountain. Instead, I’d like to sit in a sunny field and admire the very talented women — and, yes, some men — who will be taking my place.”

Personal Life

She married businessman Robert Henry Katz in 1955. In 1958, they divorced.

She married theatrical producer Lee Guber in 1963. They named their daughter Jacqueline Dena after Walters’ sister and mother. In 1976, Walters and Guber divorced.

Further Reading

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