Walters had the opportunity to interview the talk show, queen Oprah Winfrey. In the interview, she asked probing questions about her very close friendship with gal pal Gayle King. She also had Winfrey address rumors about her being in a lesbian relationship with King, which she adamantly denied.
Winfrey declared to Walters that it deeply disturbed her that the public falsely believed this about her and that they would doubt her authenticity. It gave Walters a front-row seat to yet another demonstration of Winfrey’s vulnerable relationship with her viewers.
Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
All of the discrimination Walters endured as a female journalist helped prepare her for an interview with the leader of Iran in 1977. She sat down with Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and his wife to discuss the intense political situation in the area at that time.
Walters directly asked him if he thought a woman could ever rule, to which the Iranian ruler replied that he thought women lacked the ability and intelligence to be leaders. Walters said she wondered what the conversation between him and his wife must have been like afterward.
What Made Her Speechless
Barbara Walters is known to hold her own when it comes to interviews, but one, in particular, left her speechless. When she was interviewing Jiang Zemin, a member of the Chinese Communist Party, she boldly asked him about the events in Tiananmen Square.
Unaffected, Zemin replied that it was “much ado about nothing.” His cold reply left Walters without words.
Walters and Putin
Walters was also able to interview Vladimir Putin in 2001. She was the first American journalist who had interviewed the Russian leader since September 2001.
As usual, Walters had no problem confronting the controversial figure with upfront questions.
Walters and Swayze
Best known for his iconic roles in "Ghost" and "Dirty Dancing," Walters had the opportunity to interview Patrick Swayze before he passed away in 2009. Swayze had been battling pancreatic cancer, and Walters sat down to discuss the actor’s life and career. Swayze was in high spirits until Walters played a video clip from a previous interview with him in 1988.
In the 1988 interview, Swayze broke down in tears discussing his father’s death. She also showed him a clip from his movie "Ghost," which made the actor even more nostalgic and had him emotional. Walters knew exactly how to create captivating moments with her interviewees.