Happy 90th Birthday to broadcast journalist, author, and TV personality, Barbara Walters—the first woman to sit in an anchor chair on an American news program. She co-hosted on Today, 20/20, and The View—which she created—until her retirement in 2015.
Walters broke into television in the early 1960s, when she was a writer and segment producer of “women’s interest stories” for The Today Show. As a result of her outstanding interviewing ability and her popularity with viewers, she received more airtime, until she became a co-host. In 1976, continuing as a pioneer for women in broadcasting, Walters became the first female co-anchor of a network evening news show, the ABC Evening News, earning an unprecedented $1 million per year. On her Barbara Walters specials she’s interviewed every sitting president since Richard Nixon.
Walters will spend her birthday with her daughter Jackie. (1929)
MORE Good News on this Day:
- Shel Silverstein, poet, singer-songwriter and author of Where the Sidewalk Ends and The Giving Tree was born—expelled from a university for poor academic performance, he also wrote the hit songs, A Boy Named Sue, won a Grammy, while The Cover of Rolling Stone, and The Unicorn (1930)
- The People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria was formally proclaimed (1962)
- Sandra Day O’Connor was sworn in as the first female justice on the U.S. Supreme Court (1981)
- A Florida judge ruled in favor of Gregory Kingsley, a 12-year-old boy seeking a ‘divorce from his biological parents (1992)
Also on this day in 1957, 9 black teenagers were ushered into Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas by 300 U.S. Army soldiers, one day after an unruly crowd of 1,000 white protestors had blocked the students from entering the building.
It was the first important test of the U.S. Supreme Court decision (Brown vs. Board of Education) that ordered the integration of public schools. It was also a test of federal power over racism in the south. The world watched as the “Little Rock Nine” became the focal point of a showdown between Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus, who encouraged the protestors and sent his state troops to keep the students out, and President Dwight Eisenhower, who seized control of the state’s entire 10,000-man National Guard and deployed the 101st Airborne Division from a neighboring state to enforce the law. Today the Little Rock Central High School is a National Historic Landmark. WATCH a Video…
Also on this day, in 1976, the rock band U2 was first formed at drummer Larry Mullen’s Dublin home.
A 14-year-old student at Mount Temple Comprehensive School, Mullen posted a note on the school’s notice board in search of musicians for a new band—six people responded. Setting up in his kitchen, Mullen was on drums, with Paul Hewson (Bono) on lead vocals; David Evans (the Edge) on guitar and Adam Clayton on bass. The popularity of punk rock, their biggest influence, convinced the group that musical proficiency was not a prerequisite to being successful.
Happy Birthday to the fabulous Will Smith, who turns 50 today! The Philadelphia-born rapper and Oscar-nominated actor is famous for films, like Men In Black, Bad Boys, Ali, Independence Day, and The Pursuit of Happyness. His blockbuster magic is unparalleled: Smith is the only actor to have eight consecutive films gross over $100 million in the domestic box office, eleven consecutive films gross over $150 million internationally. He now uses Facebook to spread inspiring motivational messages, like this one… (1968)
Other Notable Birthdays: Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker turns 68; Michael Douglas, 75.