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September 28, 2021

Roy Cohn Once Claimed He Proposed to Barbara Walters despite Rumors of His Sexuality

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The TV pioneer and news anchor Barbara Walters spoke candidly about her personal life in a well-detailed autobiography, including Roy Cohn’s wed proposal. 

In more than five decades of being the interviewer and asking people questions about their personal lives, Walters decided it was her turn to speak frankly about her life. 

In her memoir named “Audition,” debuted in 2008 with over 600 pages, Walters opened up about many of her traumas, life struggles, love affairs, and personal stories. 

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Barbara Walters is known for her exceptional talent and competence, but she's also known for being the first female anchor and co-host to achieve a position dominated by men. 

Throughout her career of 50 years, she collects interviews with highly important figures, such as Henry Ford, Richard Nixon, Prince Philip, Jimmy Carter, and Fidel Castro.

She won a Daytime Emmy in 1975 and was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 1989. In 1997 she created her morning talk show "The View."

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The Boston-born journalist started her career as a writer and researcher at Today. She met a few influential people, including a close friend, Roy Cohn

Cohn was one of the associated attorneys of Senator Joseph McCarthy's hearings in the ‘50s. The two had met at the Miami Latin Quarter, introduced by her father, Lou Walters. 

Her father said that his daughter always wanted to meet him, Walters, however, politely shook his hand and said at his face, she never wanted to meet him. 

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The “standup girl all the way, very independent but very soft,” as described by Cohn and the attorney, became close friends. Cohn described Walters as “one of a kind,” and compared her with Richard Nixon, whom he also knew.

He described them with a “non-glamorous approach and a crisp factuality.” On an evening in 1963, Cohn claimed to have proposed to her after spending an hour with her on the phone. Walters declined his proposal as she was already engaged to Lee Guber:

“I was talking to her on the telephone for an hour. I told her I'd marry her. She said she couldn't marry me, because she and Guber had already given a present to the judge.”

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Despite not having a political side but she knew enough to detest McCarthy’s henchman and against all odds, Cohn and Walters became and remained good friends until Cohn died of AIDS.

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Cohn’s admiration had him compared Walters not only to Nixon but also to his own mother -- they were both strong women but never got along well. 

Their friendship got closer when the attorney helped her father when he had troubled with the law. Walters’ father had failed to attend a New York court date because the family was in Las Vegas at the time. Because of that, an arrest warrant was issued but Cohn, somehow got the warrant dismissed. 

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The attorney liked to say that he and Walters were more than friends. But Walters said that she was his claim of heterosexuality, even though he never admitted being homosexual nor having AIDS:

“He was a very complicated man. He died, alone, up to his ears in debt. He had been disbarred and he was hated. And I might have thought the same way, but he did something when my father was in trouble, [and] I never forgot that."

 

As a complicated man who “died alone,” he was detested by many. But the event with her father brought them together and when asked about Cohn’s “nice side,” "The View" host said that she wouldn’t describe him as “nice,” instead, as a smart and polite man.

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As for the men she did have romances with, not to mention the four she married, Walters was mostly surrounded by powerful, influential and charismatic men. 

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She was an acclaimed and respected journalist -- still is -- and she admitted that she didn’t like the ups and downs of the show business, in spite of being a frontwoman and anchor with decades of experience. 

Because she achieve such a position of respect and power, she shared that most people think she came from a rich family and had always been successful. 

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She wrote in her memoir that her real story is far less than glamourous and she had a difficult and lonely childhood. Walters struggled with jealousy of the attention her older and mentally disabled sister received from their parents.

Apart from childhood, she struggled and blamed herself for her personal issues, such as feeling unable to make any of her marriages to work and that her daughter had a troubled teenagehood:

“It's not that I want people to see the wounds, but I thought, let them see there's a whole person here, not just for my sake, but because I think none of us have it all.”

 

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Walters admitted feeling guilty for not being supportive or present to her adoptive daughter with her second husband, Guber. In her book, she devotes an entire chapter to Jackie Walters Danforth and titles it "The Hardest Chapter to Write."

As the name already suggests, the journalist almost left the hardest, yet the most important chapter, at least to herself, out of the book but her editor insisted. Her daughter Jackie was a “terrible adolescent” who would often disappear for days, went out with the “wrong people,” and did drugs. 

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The most heartbreaking part of the book, which she never read after writing it, is there to help other parents going through a similar situation with their teen children. She never thought that being a celebrity would take its toll on her daughter because she never thought of herself being one. 

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Walters decided to send her daughter to an alternative school for three years, and something obviously took hold. Fortunately, Jackie was given an opportunity to change, and she did. 

As an adult, her life took a path that it’s completely different from her old teen days. Jackie and her mother are extremely close and she founded a camp for troubled teen girls in Maine. 

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