Walters, the first woman anchor on an evening news broadcast, died aged 93 on Friday (30 December).
Following news of her death, tributes have poured in from industry figures including Oprah Winfrey and former CBS anchor Dan Rather.
Her death has also prompted the resurfacing of a clip from her 1987 interview with Connery.
In the clip, which has been viewed 5.1 million times at the time of writing, Walters questioned the actor over a Playboy interview in which he said he does not think there is “anything wrong with hitting a woman”.
Connery, who died at 90 in 2020, told Playboy in 1965: “I don’t think there is anything particularly wrong about hitting a woman, although I don’t recommend doing it in the same way that you’d hit a man.”
The James Bond star said that an “openhanded slap” is “justified” if “all other alternatives fail and there has been plenty of warning”.
“If a woman is a b***, or hysterical, or bloody-minded continually, then I’d do it,” he added.
When Barbara Walters put Sean Connery on blast. Legend. R.I.P. pic.twitter.com/KVmLDHv2eU
— Don Lewis (@DonLew87) December 31, 2022
In the resurfaced interview, Walters asks whether Connery recalls making those remarks to which the actor responds that he remembers and stands by his comments.
“You think it’s good to slap a woman?” questions the broadcaster, who appears visibly shocked.
“I don’t think it’s good. I don’t think it’s bad,” said Connery. “But it depends entirely on the circumstances and if it merits it.”
His response prompts Walters to ask what such circumstances would “merit” slapping a woman.
“Well, if you have tried everything else – and women are pretty good at this, they can’t leave it alone,” Connery replies.
“They want to have the last word, and you give them the last word, but they’re not happy with the last word. They want to say it again, and get into a really provocative situation. Then – I think it’s absolutely right.”
He added: “Seriously, it’s the last resort. He’s not gonna do it because he wants to do it…” Walters replies: “Wait until people see this interview. You’re gonna get mail.”
The clip has circulated widely on social media following news of Walters’ death, with viewers praising the Emmy-winning broadcaster for taking Connery to task over his remarks.
“When Barbara Walters put Sean Connery on blast,” reads the original post. “Legend. R.I.P.”
In a 1993 interview with Vanity Fair, Connory claimed that his comments had been taken out of context.
“They taped two hours of me and only showed 20 minutes,” he said. “Barbara Walters was trying to get me to say it was OK to hit women. But I was really saying that to slap a woman was not the crudest thing you can do to her. I said that in my book – it’s much more cruel to psychologically damage somebody.”
Connery continued: “That’s what they’re looking for, the ultimate confrontation – they want a smack.”
Throughout her career, Walters won 12 Emmy awards, 11 of those while at ABC News.
Speaking about her death, Bob Iger – chief executive of ABC’s corporate parent, the Walt Disney Co – called Walters “a true legend, a pioneer not just for women in journalism but for journalism itself”.
Walters joined ABC News in 1976. Three years later, she became a co-host of “20/20”, and in 1997, she launched The View.
Her final TV appearance was in 2014 as a co-host of The View in 2014.