Barbara Walter’s Biggest Interviews: Legend has interviewed everyone from Monica Lewinsky to Donald Trump
Barbara Walters’ legendary status in the world of American broadcast journalism was well established before her death on December 30 at the age of 93.
Walters once said in a speech at Harvard University in 2014 that the most important quality in a journalist is curiosity.
This quality showed throughout her career, especially when she interviewed the most famous newsmakers of the day.
Her 1999 interview with Monica Lewinsky broke TV ratings for a news special when she got Bill Clinton’s brief mistress to apologize to Hillary. Years earlier, she was one of the first journalists to confront Donald Trump over his false claims about real estate brilliance.
Not all of Walters’ interviews were conducted from the safety of air-conditioned studios, in 1977 she spent 10 days in the mountains of Cuba interviewing Fidel Castro and gained his trust to the extent that many thought they were having an affair – they weren’t .
Walters’ 1999 interview with Monica Lewinsky was one of the highest-rated shows in American history, garnering nearly 80 million viewers for ABC’s 20/20
In the interview, Lewinsky apologized to Hillary and Chelsea Clinton and spoke about her regrets at ever having involved with the then-President
In 1999, Walters interviewed what was then the world’s most talked-about woman, Monica Lewinsky, just a year after the former White House intern’s brief affair with Bill Clinton ended.
The Interview was one of the highest-rated shows in American history, garnering nearly 80 million viewers for ABC’s 20/20. Walters once said that network executives told her that no one would watch the proposed two-hour special.
In the interview, Lewinsky apologized to Hillary and Chelsea Clinton and spoke about her regrets at ever having involved with the then-President. Later, in 2018, Lewinsky said she was still waiting for an apology from the former Arkansas governor.
While the pair discussed Lewinsky showing off her thong to Clinton at an infamous moment, Walters appeared to chastise the former intern, saying: “Where did you get the courage? I mean who does that?’
Lewinsky shot back, “If you believe me, it was a small, subtle, flirtatious gesture. And thats me.’
Arguably the most famous moment of the interview came when Walters asked Lewinsky if she was still in love with Clinton.
Lewinsky replied: “No. Sometimes I have warm feelings, sometimes I’m still proud of him and sometimes I hate his guts. And, um, it makes me sick.”
Arguably the most famous moment of the interview came when Walters asked Lewinsky if she was still in love with Clinton
Walters followed that with, “What are you going to say to your kids when you have them?” She replied, ‘Mom made a big mistake.’
Lewinsky is known to keep her personal life very private, but it is believed that she is not married. In a 2015 interview with People magazine, she joked, “I promised Barbara Walters a dance at my wedding, so I hope to keep that promise one day!”
When Walters left The View that year, it was rumored that Lewinsky would take on a possible role on the show.
Walters first met Donald Trump in an interview in August 1990, when the 45th President was still a New York real estate magnate
Walters took him to task for his claims that his deal to buy the Plaza Hotel for $407.5 million in 1988 was a “great deal.”
Walters was proved right when Trump sold the hotel at a loss of nearly $80 million five years after the interview aired
Walters first met Donald Trump in an interview in August 1990, when the 45th President was still a New York real estate magnate.
Contrary to many members of the media, who reveled in Trump’s bombastic persona, Walters took him to task for his claims that his deal to buy the Plaza Hotel for $407.5 million in 1988 was a “great deal.”
Trump said: “Well, I don’t know what the bankers said. The Plaza is a very valuable property. Everyone told me, “You paid too much, you paid too much.” Now they’re all saying, “What a great deal he got.” Walters replied, “No, they’re not.”
She was proved right when Trump sold the hotel at a loss of nearly $80 million five years after the interview aired.
Walters once chastised Trump by saying, “On the brink of bankruptcy? Be rescued by the banks? Skating on thin ice and almost drowning? That’s a businessman to be admired?’
That same year, The New York Times reported that banks were threatening to foreclose on loans to Trump because of his many failed business ventures.
In 2015, Walters asked Trump what his political legacy should be, he replied: “Victory”
Walters met with Trump again in 2015 when she interviewed him around the time he was beginning his first presidential campaign.
After Trump’s comments at the time, Walters correctly asked him: “Are you a fanatic?”
He replied: “Not at all. Probably the fewest you’ve ever met.”
When Walters asked him to clarify his answer, he continued, “Because I’m not. I’m a common sense person. I’m a smart person. I know how to run things. I know how to make America great again. This is about making America great again.’
Towards the end of the interview, Walters asked Trump, “Let’s say you win the presidency. When you leave office – in a word – what would you like to have as a legacy?’ He replied: ‘Victory.’
One of Walters’ first groundbreaking interviews was with Cuban leader Fidel Castro in 1977
The apparent closeness that Walters was able to show towards Castro led to rumors that the couple had a romantic relationship
One of Walters’ first groundbreaking interviews was with Cuban leader Fidel Castro in 1977, less than 20 years after the communist took control of the Caribbean nation.
The apparent closeness that Walters was able to show towards Castro led to rumors that the couple had a romantic relationship. She said those rumors were false in an interview with People Magazine.
In the same interview, Walters said that she traveled with Castro through the mountains of Cuba for 10 days and at times held his gun for him. “People,” she said, “although he could be charming, he was also a dictator. People thought we were dating, but we never were.”
During their time together, Castro made Walters a grilled cheese sandwich and told her that if the US government lifted the trade embargo, he would shave off his famous beard.
In another famous statement in the interview, Castro stated that he did not believe in American-style democracy, although he promised free elections in Cuba within a year of taking power.
During the interview, Castro said he would shave off his famous beard if the US government lifted the trade embargo
Walters later became the first American to cross the Bay of Pigs in 20 years.
The dictator also told Walters that he believed the US and Cuba would formalize relations again during President Jimmy Carter’s second term. Carter never got a second term and was defeated by Ronald Reagan in one of the biggest electoral landslides in American history.
The two did another interview in 2002, Walters said the interview wasn’t that memorable because more was generally known about Castro and it wasn’t such a bombshell.
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