Barbara Walters has posted about her “sense of isolation” as a child and what made her successful.

Millions of Americans are mourning the death of broadcasting pioneer and Emmy Award winner Barbara Walters, who died this week at the age of 93.

Walters was a longtime ABC News anchor who also hosted primetime show “20/20” and in 1997 created the women’s talk show “The View”.

When Walters’ personal account of her life, Audition: A Memoir, was published in 2008, book critics widely praised the blockbuster non-fiction work for being a “smart, funny, engaging book” and “compellingly entertaining”.


Critics said it was full of “sincere sincerity.”

It was “unbreakable” and “concisely readable,” they said.

Barbara Walters, a radio broadcasting pioneer, has died at the age of 93, ABC News confirmed this week. Walters’ personal memoir, Audition, was published by Knopf in 2008 and reveals much about his life and times.
(Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)

It’s also “filled with emotional intensity,” wrote one critic.

Another wrote that it was “nicely personal” and yet “larger than life”.

Knopf published the book in May 2008 – and today, at the time of publication, the book is number one. #2 and #2 on Amazon’s “journalists’ biographies” bestseller list. It took the 4th place in the list of bestsellers “Biographies of television actors”.

Walters said her sister’s condition was “never discussed” outside the family circle.

In her memoir, Walters details the many steps she took in her storied journalism career after growing up in Boston and attending Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York.

Notably, Walters also stripped away layers of her early family life.

He described his alternately volatile and affectionate relationship with his older sister, Jackie, whom he described as “at the time insane,” Walters wrote in his book.

According to Walters, although her sister was older, she was like a younger one.

Walters wrote that his intellectual disabilities “were enough to prevent him from going to a normal school, from having friends, from getting a job, from getting married—it was enough to prevent him from having a real life.”


The TV personality also said in his book that “from a very young age” he understood that “at some point Jackie would become my responsibility” and that this firm understanding was “one of the main reasons that motivated me to work so hard. .”

But it wasn’t just about financial responsibility, Walters wrote, when it came to how she would be responsible for her sister for the rest of her life.

“For years, I was ashamed of him … ashamed of him … guilty that I had so much and he had so little,” Walters said on The Audition.

He points out that when Jackie was born – 100 years ago – very little was known about “mental retardation” or “the mentally retarded”.

Because her sister’s life was so isolated, Walters said, so was hers.

He also said that there were few schools for those who were different and few employers who would accept such workers.

“Today,” Walters wrote in 2008, “Jackie would probably find a menial but productive job … She might even have met and married a nice man.”

At the time, however, Walters wrote, her sister’s life was “mostly isolated” — except, she added, for “her relationship with me, my mom, and my dad.”

Barbara Walters died this week at the age of 93.  He left vivid stories of his life in the book "Audition" published in 2008.

Barbara Walters died this week at the age of 93. He left vivid stories of his life in the book “Audition” published in 2008.
(AP Photo/Evan Agostini, file)

Walters said her sister’s condition was “never discussed” outside the family circle.

That’s because, she added, her parents felt others wouldn’t understand or would “abandon” her or belittle her.

Notably, Walters added that because her sister’s life was so isolated, so was hers.

“When I was a kid, I didn’t have birthday parties because Jackie wasn’t around. I didn’t join Girl Scouts because Jackie couldn’t. My friends rarely came over because they didn’t know what to do. My sister’s whispers I could hear their whispers, imaginary.

“Sometimes I also hated him for being different … for the limitations he put on my life.”

Walters said that when she got older and started going out with her friends or with boyfriends, her mother begged her to take Jackie with her.

“I loved my sister. She was sweet and kind – and she was my sister.”

Walters added: “Sometimes I hated him for being different… [and] For the limitations he imposed on my life.

He also said, “I didn’t like the hate, but there’s no denying that I felt it. You might be horrified to admit it,” Walters said candidly.

Barbara Walters was featured at the 2014 Time 100 Gala. “Perhaps you are guilty of the same feelings and feel you are not alone,” Walters wrote in her book Audition about her complicated feelings for her sister Jackie.

“Or maybe you’re guilty of feeling the same way and feel like you’re not alone,” she wrote.

Almost anyone who has had a chronically ill sibling or a sibling with an intellectual or physical disability “will know what I mean,” Walters said.

He noted how physically beautiful his sister was – and “you didn’t know” there was something different about her “until she opened her mouth to speak”.

She remembers her sister’s stuttering and their parents trying to help her with her “speech problem” in those days.

She also shared how difficult it was for her to see her sister being bullied by other children.


According to Walters, her sister died of ovarian cancer in 1985 – but until then, Walters was “struggled” by her relationship with her brother and Jackie’s difficult life circumstances. Still, she knew her sister would always love her, she said.

Walters’ memoir, Audition, was originally published in hardcover and is no. 1 national bestseller, it was released in paperback as well as Kindle and audiobook versions.

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