As the world says goodbye to Barbara Walters, with homage heralding her great journalistic achievements, I remember one woman of my youth who didn’t take Barbara all that seriously.
Comedian Gilda Radner, one of the original “Not Ready for Prime Time Players”, was one of the first to stun America with her parody of Barbara Walters. We were already applauding the political irreverence of the new show, Saturday Night Live, but when Gilda took on this icon and turned her speech into a joke it was beyond believable. In her skits, Gilda portrayed Barbara as a big haired, boastful newswoman who couldn’t pronounce the letter “R”.
Radner’s fellow cast members from the first season of Saturday Night Live included John Belushi, Dan Ackroyd, Chevy Chase, Jane Curtin, Laraine Newman, and Garrett Morris. Between 1975 and 1980, Gilda Radner created and performed the parody of Barbara Walters several times. In later years, Walters stated in an interview that Radner was the “first person to make fun of news anchors, now it’s done all the time.”
In the words of Gilda Radner, “Goodbye Baba Wawa! It Was A Good Run.