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Pope Benedict XVI & Barbara Walters

Pope Benedict XVI (left) and Barbara Walters Pope: Francisco Seco/AP; Walters: Evan Agostini/AP

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Pope Benedict XVI

The retired former leader of the Roman Catholic Church died in Vatican City on Dec. 31 at the age of 95. Formerly known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Benedict was elected in 2005 to succeed Pope John Paul II. Benedict’s tenure in the papacy marked a continuation of the conservative approach laid out by his predecessor. He confronted the church’s sexual abuse scandals, apologizing in 2010 for decades of Catholic mishandling of abuse allegations. The scandals partially eclipsed Benedict’s otherwise respected reputation as a scholar and theologian. Citing poor health and weariness, he became the first pope to resign from office in nearly 600 years in 2013.

Barbara Walters

Walters, a television pioneer who interviewed dictators and divas, died Dec. 30. She was 93. Walters got her start in television in the early 1950s at a local New York City station before becoming a writer with NBC’s Today show in 1961. After working her way on camera at the program, Walters became the first female co-host of a news program in the United States in 1974. Walters co-hosted the ABC Evening News and spent two decades with 20/20. While at ABC, she developed a reputation for long-form interviews with U.S. ­presidents, world leaders, and movie stars. She developed, produced, and co-starred in the ladies daytime chat vehicle The View from 1997 to 2014.

—Read more 2022 Departures from late December here


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