Over the more than 50 years of her career in broadcast journalism, ABC News' Barbara Walters has asked a lot of questions.
Whether it was a world leader, convicted killer or a celebrity that sat across from her, Walters' interviews were eye-opening, sparked controversy and famously brought some to tears.
Walters, the first woman to co-anchor network morning and evening broadcasts, has interviewed every president and first lady since Richard Nixon.
As she prepared to step down as co-host of "The View," a daytime talk show she created, Walters reflected on the interviews that were memorable to her in a conversation with her longtime business partner, Bill Geddie, that will air on the upcoming ABC News special, “Barbara Walters: Her Story.”
From who she had a crush on to the most inspirational, click through to see what Barbara Walters has to say about these unforgettable moments from her career.
Watch the two-hour ABC News special, "Barbara Walters: Her Story," highlighting her life and career HERE.
|Robert and Michelle Smithdas|
One of the most amazing couples Walters has ever interviewed was Robert and Michelle Smithdas, a married couple, both blind and deaf.
“They are inspirational,” Walters said.
During the interview, Walters asked Robert Smithdas, who had never actually seen his wife, to describe what Michelle Smithdas looked like.
“First of all, she is petite and rather delicate, very delicate bone structure,” Robert Smithdas told Walters.
When Walters asked if Michelle Smithdas ever wondered if being deaf and blind happened to her for a reason, Michelle Smithdas said, “No, I do not question it. I should say that I am rather happy for what I am able to do and for what I have.”
One of the most moving interviews Walters said she’s ever done was with actor Christopher Reeve, who played Superman and was later paralyzed in a horseback riding accident.
“Before the surgery, when I first was first coming out of, you know, consciousness, and you had the thought maybe it's not worth everybody’s trouble, and I had that thought for maybe 10 minutes,” Reeve told Walters.
“That you wanted to die, pull the plug, whatever?” Walters asked Reeve.
“Yeah, I suggested, maybe I should just check out,” Reeve said. “And Dana, my wonderful, wonderful, wife, said, ‘You're still you, and I love you.’”
Three months before he died, Walters interviewed actor John Wayne.
“He was so masculine and straightforward,” Walters recalled. “And also, when I was having such trouble on television, he sent me a telegram that said, ‘Don’t let the bastards get you down.' Signed, John Wayne.”
During her interview with Wayne, Walters asked him about statements he previously made regarding men being the dominant figure in a relationship.
“Well, if this country had stayed the way it was, and if we hadn’t made it so tough for a family to keep up their type of living [that] their wives had to go to work, I would think it would be more pleasant. I think it’d be more pleasant for the lady, as well,” Wayne responded.
Wayne, who was battling cancer at the time, said he didn’t think the illness had changed him.
“I spoke to the man up there on many occasions, and I have -- but I’ve always had deep faith that there is a supreme being. There has to be,” said Wayne.
"The fact that he’s let me stick around a little longer -- or she’s let me stick around a little longer -- certainly goes great with me. And I want to hang around as long as I’m healthy and not in anybody’s way.”
|Robin Givens and Mike Tyson|
If a person had never seen her work before, Walters said she’d want them to see her interview with Robin Givens and her then-husband, Mike Tyson.
“Everywhere I went the next day, people asked me about it,” Walters said.
Walters asked Givens and Tyson about their lack of a prenuptial agreement.
“We got married to be together forever, not to plan for a divorce,” Givens said.
“For this stage of my life, I do have many a millions. My wife just has to ask for it, and she has every penny I have,” Tyson said. “She has the right to do that. She's still here, she tolerates my s*** and I love my wife.”
Givens also addressed reports that Tyson was abusive, when Walters asked her, "Did he hit you?"
“He shakes. He pushes, he swings. Sometimes I think he's trying to scare me,” Givens told Walters. “There were times when it happened when I thought I could, after, handle it, you know. And just recently I've become afraid, I mean very, very much afraid.”
“One week later, Robin Givens filed for divorce,” Walters said.
“I would also choose Monica Lewinsky, the most famous intern of all time, and I think still the highest rated news interview of all time,” Walters said, naming an interview she’d suggest to a person who’d never seen her work. “And no wonder, the relationship between her and Bill Clinton is discussed almost to this day.”
During the interview, Walters asked Lewinsky about Nov. 15, 1995, the day she showed President Clinton her underwear in the Chief of Staff’s office.
“Well, when I first found myself alone with him, I was very nervous and we were having small talk,” Lewinsky told Walters. “And I remember thinking to myself, 'OK. Well, this is it. If this is going to happen, maybe you should let him know you're interested.' So I blurted out, you know, ‘I have a crush on you.’”
When she was a young woman, Walters said she wanted to look like Audrey Hepburn.
“I had short hair and bangs. I just thought that she was the most beautiful,” Walters said. “And I interviewed her, at one point, and she was simply lovely.”
“I don’t think, and I never thought I looked like anything much,” Hepburn told Walters in the 1989 interview. "I did make an effort. But my looks are, therefore, attainable ... because they can look like Audrey Hepburn if they want to ... by cutting off their hair, by buying the large glasses, by having the little sleeveless dresses.”
Of all the handsome men that she ever interviewed, Walters admitted that she had the biggest crush on Clint Eastwood.
“We did an interview, and he began to flirt,” Walters said. “And I fell apart.”
During the 1980 interview, Walters told Eastwood, “You would drive me nuts and I would drive you crazy because I would be saying, ‘But didn't you, or haven't you, or haven't you...?’”
“Well, we could try it and see if it worked out,” Eastwood said.
“We'll start with this interview,” Walters said. “If this is OK, and we get somewhere, well, maybe we’ll do another interview. ... I think we'll stop and reload.”