Being Barbara Walters in a Man's World

Act 2: ABC's Barbara Walters describes her struggle as a woman to become a television personality.
7:22 | 05/16/14

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Transcript for Being Barbara Walters in a Man's World
With a mortgage that's engineered to amaze! Ready spray dry deodorant, the antiperspirant deodorant... Geddie: You used to do commercials. Are you ever embarrassed when you look back at some of them? I did commercials for a dog food live. And the dog -- I think we used to starve it. I don't know. Let me give him his food, and then we'll talk. Dogs all over America will surely be getting a lot more... That is not my proudest hour. Try this. This is revlon's natural herb cream gel cleanser. So try new citgo premium. The gasoline with zoom. What did you think of your looks? I was never beautiful. I would be called pert, attractive. If I'd have been a dog, I mean, maybe they wouldn't have put me on television. But nobody ever put me on because I was beautiful or glamorous. Walters: Are you happy with the way you look? Uh...happy enough. Some days happier than other days, just like anybody else. Were you good-looking? Popular? No. You know we could sit and talk a lot about my looks. I don't think I'm all that hot stuff. On a scale of 1 to 10, where would you put you? If I tell you, will you tell me? Yes. A nine. Do I have to tell you? You said you would. I would say I am a... ...Probably a five to six. Geddie: When you were a young woman, who did you want to look like? I always wanted to look like Audrey Hepburn. I had short hair and bangs. I just thought that she was the most beautiful. And I interviewed her at one point, and she was simply lovely. Walters: Do you know how wonderful-looking you are? I mean, that face. I don't think and I never thought I looked like anything much. I did make an effort. My looks are therefore attainable. How? Oh, tell me how! Because they can look like Audrey Hepburn if they want to. How? By cutting off their hair, by buying the large glasses, by having the little sleeveless dresses. I'm not talking about now. Yeah, then. I created a look. I copied you. I had the hair comb from "Roman holiday." I had the eyeliner that went around to make my eyes big. Yes. I never made it, I must say. But I remember copying that look. Geddie: How did you become a television personality? The "Today" show always had one female on the air called the "Today" show girl. She was usually a model or an actress. I was a writer on the "Today" show. They had to have one female writer. She did the tea pouring, as I call it. She did the fashion shows. She did the celebrities. At one point, I was made a producer. I was the only female producer with six men. And I would then go out and do certain stories. And when the "Today" girl took a vacation, I appeared on the "Today" show. And I was sent to Paris to cover the Paris fashion shows. That was my first time that I can remember being on the air. Barbara is with me right now to give us a filmed report. Would you tell me, was this a very trying experience for you? Oh, frank, it was awful. I mean, first of all, every day, I had to go and look at fashion shows. And then I had to have lunch at maxim's and drink champagne. And then I had to smell all the perfume at dior. I mean, it was so trying that I took absolutely the very last plane I could to get back here today. I look at it now, and I think, "I really was cute. "I really was good. Why did it take anybody so long to discover me?" In those days, we used to do fashion shows a lot. We're going to be talking about something very feminine right now -- fashion. This year, vinyl is the most exciting new fashion fabric. It was the prevalence of pants. As the "Today" reporter, I did several stories. One was a day in the life of a playboy bunny. Walters: What is the bunny dip? Do you think you could show me? Let me try. Yes, I think I could show you. All your weight on your right leg and come out and take your glass from the tray and back to the table. It's like a ballet movement, kind of. Yes. In 1964, I was hired to be on the air full time but not with the title co-host. I'm Hugh downs, and this is Barbara Walters. Barbara Walters and I... Barbara Walters and I... We continue now with Barbara Walters... I worked with Hugh until he left the program in 1971. This is the last time that the three of us will be working together. And I don't know how you sum up nine years of pleasure and of friendship. This is the only way I know. After Hugh downs left the show, frank Mcgee became the anchor, and that changed everything. Good morning. I'm frank Mcgee, and Barbara Walters is here. Frank Mcgee was a very good newsman. He went to the head of the network and said that I could not ask the hard news questions. They all had to be done by him. And what they finally decided to do was that he could ask three questions, and then I could come in and ask one. If I could do the interview outside of the studio, it was mine. So I started to look for interviews outside of the studio. Walters: Mr. Secretary, this brings up one of the criticisms about you today, and that is, people say, "Henry Kissinger deals in excessive secrecy." When certain stereotypes develop, it is very difficult to deal with them. You have said, "I often find it fascinating "To ponder by what standards history will judge Nixon when all the partisan battles are over." Well, how do you think he will be judged? I think there isn't any doubt he'll be judged as one of the great presidents. When you were a child and you were different from the other kids, did they make fun of you? No, because... Because I was always very dignified. What are you the least tolerant of these days? The least tolerant of any more lies or foolishness about me. The only mistake I ever did, the only harm I ever did was sing "Over the rainbow." How would you like future generations to remember general Eisenhower? There are certain fundamentals, and that's honesty, integrity... Unselfishness, and Ike certainly was that. Some of the good qualities that he showed as a man, and that's how I hope they'll remember him. This morning we mourn the death of our dear friend and our most respected colleague frank Mcgee. He died yesterday in a New York hospital after a four-year battle with bone cancer. When frank Mcgee died, I became co-host. From then on, I think, up to today, the women on the morning shows are co-hosts. That's a nice legacy to have.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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