Barbara Walters began her career as a receptionist in an ad agency, then became a newswriter for a series of local stations, eventually working as a gopher and occasional writer for CBS News. She worked as an assistant to the producer at New York’s WRCA-TV, and as a publicist for long-time talk show host and Republican activist Tex McCrary, before joining Today as a researcher and writer in 1961.
After a few months with Today she was promoted to an on-camera position as a reporter, but assigned to cover only the fluffiest of topics. At her own urging she was gradually allowed to report on more serious topics, and by the mid-1960s she seemed to be the show’s co-host alongside Hugh Downs — a position that had previously been held only by men and a chimp named J Fred Muggs. But despite sitting across from Downs and…
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