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Pioneering journalist Barbara Walters dies at 93

Barbara Walters arrives on the red carpet at the TIME 100 Gala at Frederick P. Rose Hall, Home of Jazz at Lincoln Center, in New York City on April 21, 2015. TIME 100 celebrates TIME's list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
1 of 5 | Barbara Walters arrives on the red carpet at the TIME 100 Gala at Frederick P. Rose Hall, Home of Jazz at Lincoln Center, in New York City on April 21, 2015. TIME 100 celebrates TIME's list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 30 (UPI) -- Barbara Walters, the pioneering broadcast journalist who was the first female anchor on an evening news program, died Friday at her home in New York. She was 93.

The ABC network, where Walters long worked, interrupted its schedule Friday night to announce the news of her death.

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Walters' storied career began in the early 1960s when she served as a writer and segment producer for NBC's "The Today Show."

Her career took off after she was assigned to travel with Jacqueline Kennedy on her trip to India in 1962, leading to her working on more newsy pieces from human-interest stories.

Walters joined ABC News in 1976 as a co-host alongside Harry Reasoner on "ABC Evening News," shattering the glass ceiling in the male-dominated news industry.

In her first broadcast on that program, Walters led an exclusive interview with Earl Butz -- who had just resigned as the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture under President Gerald Ford for having told a racist joke.

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Walters became a co-host of "20/20" in 1979, which she led through 2004 and again from 2013 to 2014.

She was most recently known for creating, producing and co-hosting the ABC daytime talk show "The View" from 1994 until her retirement.

Walters' career was built on her ability to score interviews with public figures such as Fidel Castro and Vladimir Putin, as noted by ABC News.

"I asked Vladimir Putin if he ever ordered anyone to be killed," she once recalled. "For the record, he said 'no.'"

Her list of interview subjects also includes world leaders such as the Shah of Iran, Russia's former President Boris Yeltsin, Margaret Thatcher of Britain, Muammar al-Gaddafi of Libya and Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez.

Walters also interviewed Monica Lewinsky about her affair with former President Bill Clinton in 1999 and has interviewed every U.S. president and first lady from the Nixons to the Obamas.

She won 12 Emmy awards in her five-decade career, as well as a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and a lifetime achievement award from the NAtional Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

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Her death sparked tributes across the internet, from political figures to fellow journalists and celebrities.

Bob Iger, CEO of the Walt Disney Company which owns ABC, called Walters a "true legend" and a pioneer "not just for women in journalism but for journalism itself."

"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," Iger said.

Robin Roberts, who anchors "Good Morning America," said in a statement that she is "forever grateful" for Walters' example and friendship.

David Muir, the host of ABC's "World News Tonight," said that Walters was brave "above all else."

"She paved the way for so many -- we learned from her -- and remain in awe of her to this day," Muir said in a tweet.

Oprah Winfrey said in a statement reported by Huffington Post that she owed her own storied career to Walters.

"Without Barbara Walters, there wouldn't have been me -- nor any other woman you see on evening, morning and daily news," Oprah said.

"I did my very first television audition with her in mind the whole time."

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Anita Pointer of the Grammy-winning Pointer Sisters stands with Andy Madadian (C) and La Toya Jackson (L) as Madadian is honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2020. Pointer, who performed alongside her sisters June and Ruth, died at the age of 74 on December 31 following a battle with cancer. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

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