15 of Barbara Walters' Most Fascinating People You May Have Forgotten
A lot of people make news over the span of one year, but only ten of them are deemed worthy to appear on Barbara Walters' 10 Most Fascinating People. For one night almost every December since 1993, Walters profiles and interviews ten individuals who have made an impact over the past 12 months. As the years go by and our brains need room for new names and faces, some of these fascinating people have slipped from all our minds. Here are a select few.
1. JAMES FREED
Along with the likes of Maya Angelou and Hillary Rodham Clinton, Freed was featured in the inaugural edition of the special (when, for the only time, 12 people were featured on the special instead of 10). An award-winning architect who formed the architectural firm Pei Cobb Freed & Partners with I.M. Pei, Freed designed many buildings, including the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, which opened on April 22, 1993.
2. STAN WINSTON
Winston was known for his special effects magic. After winning Oscars for his work on James Cameron and Tim Burton movies, he was fascinating enough for Walters in 1993 thanks to his visual effects work on Jurassic Park, the highest grossing film of all-time until Titanic four years later.
3. LESLIE ABRAMSON
Abramson is a defense attorney who gained nationwide notoriety for exuberantly defending Erik Menendez, the younger of the two Mendendez Brothers who would ultimately both be found guilty of murdering their parents. She appeared in the 1994 edition of the special.
4. OKSANA BAIUL
The Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan story is what most Americans remember about the 1994 Winter Olympics, but a 16-year-old Ukrainian named Oksana Baiul came away with the figure skating gold medal for ladies singles. Baiul overcame meager living conditions, a deceased mother and grandparents, her father's abandonment, and an injury suffered during her final practice to win it all.
5. DR. RICK NELSON
A Muskogee, Oklahoma thoracic surgeon, Nelson was the unlikely hero in the rescue of Brandy Ligons, a 15-year-old trapped under concrete rubble after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.
6. OSEOLA MCCARTY
87-year-old Oseola McCarty managed to save $250,000 throughout her life working as a washerwoman in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, but it's what she did with it that caught Walters' attention. McCarty pledged most of her savings to provide scholarships for financially strapped students at the University of Southern Mississippi.
7. SHANNON LUCID
Lucid spent 188 days in space in 1996, breaking the record for most hours in space by a non-Russian and by a woman. She was the only American woman to ever board the Russian space station Mir, which is where she spent 179 of those days. Lucid was inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame earlier this year.
8. SIR IAN WILMUT
The embryologist was the head of the research group responsible for Dolly, the world's first cloned sheep, in 1997. Wilmut received an OBE in 1999 for his efforts and was knighted in 2007.
9. JOHNATHAN LEE IVERSON
In 1999, Iverson became the first African-American ringmaster in the 92-year history of Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus. He was 22 at the time, also making him the youngest master of circus ceremonies ever.
10. SARAH HUGHES
Hughes was another unlikely figure skating champion, winning the 2002 gold for ladies singles in the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah. Hughes became the only American woman to win a gold medal without winning a World or U.S. senior national title first.
11. CHIEF MOOSE
Charles Moose was chief of the Montgomery County police department in Maryland and the main law enforcement officer in charge of apprehending the Beltway Snipers. The two men who carried out the attacks were caught after almost three tense weeks in October 2002.
12. SHERRON WATKINS
Watkins appeared in 2002 as the former Vice President of Corporate Development at Enron. Earlier that year, she testified to Congress about Enron's accounting irregularities, and was acknowledged as an important whistle-blower.
13. TED ALLEN, KYAN DOUGLAS, THOM FILICIA, CARSON KRESSLEY, AND JAI RODRIGUEZ
These five men were the hosts of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, a reality show where they would perform makeovers for style-averse Average Joes. It premiered in 2003 and quickly became the most watched show in Bravo Network history.
14. TOM ANDERSON AND CHRIS DEWOLFE
Three years after Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page made Barbara Walters' fascination cut, Anderson and DeWolfe, creators of MySpace, appeared on the 2007 installment. "MySpace Tom" and DeWolfe had sold their website to News Corp. two years earlier and left the company two years after the broadcast.
15. THOMAS BEATIE
Beatie became famous for giving birth to three children through artificial insemination, years after undergoing sex reassignment surgery. Before being featured on Fascinating People, Beatie talked to Walters in an ABC News special devoted exclusively to him, titled Journey of a Pregnant Man.