Sir Paul McCartney said he and his wife Nancy Shevell are saddened by the death of her “dear” cousin, the “amazing” journalist Barbara Walters.
Former The View co-host Walters, who became a TV news superstar during her remarkable, varied and long career, died aged 93.
The death was announced by her network ABC on air on Friday night.
“Barbara Walters passed away peacefully in her home surrounded by loved ones,” her publicist Cindi Berger also said in a statement to the Associated Press.
“She lived her life with no regrets. She was a trailblazer not only for female journalists, but for all women.”
What a legend and a trailblazer! Barbara Walters always exuded intelligence and grace in every encounter. Her curiosity and kindness came through in every interview. Every time I was interviewed by her, I felt her genuine warmth. Sending so much love to her family and fans. pic.twitter.com/8QAFO86W1c
— Reese Witherspoon (@ReeseW) December 31, 2022
During nearly four decades at ABC, and before that at NBC, Ms Walters’ had exclusive interviews with rulers, royalty and entertainers including former prime minister Margaret Thatcher, most recent US presidents including Donald Trump and Barack Obama, Russian president Vladimir Putin, the Duke of Edinburgh and his son Prince Charles before he became King.
Former Beatles singer Sir Paul, 80, told his followers on Instagram on Saturday: “Nancy and I are so saddened by the news of her dear cousin Barbara Walters’ passing.
“The two of them enjoyed a deep loving relationship over many years and I was proud to share some of those special moments.
“Barbara was an amazing woman who more than held her own in the early days of male-dominated television and went on to become a worldwide celebrity known for her many perceptive interviews with stars from every walk of life.
“We will miss her but always remember her with great fondness.”
The father-of-five has been married to American Shevell since 2011.
Walters’ “powerful legacy” and “genuine warmth” have been remembered by other celebrities.
Actress Reece Witherspoon – the star of Big Little Lies, The Morning Show and Legally Blonde – wrote on Twitter: “Barbara Walters always exuded intelligence and grace in every encounter.
“Her curiosity and kindness came through in every interview. Every time I was interviewed by her, I felt her genuine warmth.”
Dreamgirls actress and singer Jennifer Hudson also told her fans on Twitter that Walters was a “true trailblazer and icon”.
The holder of EGOT status, meaning she has all four major entertainment awards; an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and a Tony, added: “She lived a full life and leaves behind such a powerful legacy. Rest in peace, Barbara Walters.”
A true trailblazer and icon ! She lived a full life and leaves behind such a powerful legacy. Rest in peace, Barbara Walters. pic.twitter.com/nn6c5JWd6h
— Jennifer Hudson (@IAMJHUD) December 31, 2022
Australian actor and star of musicals Hugh Jackman, best known for his breakthrough role as superhero Wolverine in the X-Men film series, said he and his wife – the actress and producer Deborra-Lee Furness – are both “sad” at the news.
He added: “She was a trail blazer (sp), wickedly funny, generous, open hearted and a good friend.
“She also gave some of the most memorable dinner parties we’ve ever been to. Get ready heaven, Barbara’s coming to spice things up.”
Deb & I are so sad that Barbara Walters passed away. She was a trail blazer, wickedly funny, generous, open hearted and a good friend. She also gave someof the most memorable dinner parties we’ve ever been to. Get ready heaven, Barbara’s coming to spice things up. @Deborra_lee pic.twitter.com/pQfLSG5m7a
— Hugh Jackman (@RealHughJackman) December 31, 2022
American talk show host Oprah Winfrey also wrote on Instagram: “Without Barbara Walters there wouldn’t have been me — nor any other woman you see on evening, morning, and daily news.
“She was indeed a Trailblazer. I did my very first television audition with her in mind the whole time.
“Grateful that she was such a powerful and gracious role model.
“Grateful to have known her.
“Grateful to have followed in her Light.”
Wonder Woman actress Lynda Carter wrote on Twitter that “Walters was an American institution”.
She added: “As the first female national news anchor, she opened the door to endless possibilities for so many girls who wanted to work in TV, myself included.
“Her impact cannot be overstated. I’ll miss you, Barbara. Thank you for everything.”