By Marie Pfeifer
Walters, who has announced her retirement, reflected on a television career that started in 1953 as the producer of a children’s program. By the mid ’70s, at ABC, she was the first woman anchor of a network newscast. Described by Drew President Vivian Bull as “the most prolific interviewer in TV history,” Walters has had sit-downs with every president since Richard Nixon. She even has her own entry in the American Heritage Dictionary.
“As we go through life, we learn that life is a gift. As difficulties arise, we learn what is important to us,” said Walters in her usual style, confident and direct.
Christopher Reeve ranks among her favorite celebrity interviews, she told the packed house at her Thomas H. Kean Visiting Lectureship.
After a 1995 equestrian accident left the Superman star paralyzed from the neck down, Reeve’s wife, Dana, offered to “pull the plug” if that was what he wanted. “Think about it,” she told her husband, “but remember you are still you.” Later, the Man of Steel wrote a memoir entitled Still Me and became the face of spinal injury research.
Walters also remembered meeting a young Bill and Hillary Clinton and wondering what they saw in each other. Bill was a handsome, charming, dazzling man; Hillary was smart, with unkempt hair and not very fashionably dressed.
Years later, Hillary would say that her biggest decision was whether to stay married to Bill. She did so, she told the interviewer, because “no one can make me laugh the way Bill does.”
- The ability to love someone and to receive love
- Strength of purpose
- A desire to “be the great oak whose branches go right through the garden wall.”
“I have always worked since completing college,” said the Sarah Lawrence graduate. “I plan to continue to be executive producer of The View.”