WASHINGTON: Barbara Walters, who in 1976 became the first woman to anchor one of the daily network television news shows, announced late Sunday that she will retire next year.

Walters, 83, began her career in TV journalism in 1961 at NBC’s morning news and entertainment program “The Today Show”. Five years later she moved to rival ABC to co-host the influential “Evening News”, a first for a female journalist.

In recent years Walters has been best known for her role co-hosting “The View”, an informal daytime talk show she created in 1997. The show features a panel of women discussing issues of the day, and has been a must-visit stop for US presidential candidates.

“I am very happy with my decision and look forward to a wonderful and special year ahead both on ‘The View’ and with ABC News,” Walters said in a posting on the ABC website. “I created ‘The View’ and am delighted it will last beyond my leaving it.”

Over the years Walters has interviewed leaders like Cuba’s Fidel Castro, Egypt’s Anwar Sadat, Israel’s Menachem Begin, and every US president and first lady since Richard Nixon.

She also made her name interviewing celebrities such as Michael Jackson, Tom Cruise and Angelina Jolie.

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