By Jordan Valinsky, CNN Business
“The View” returned from its holiday hiatus to pay tribute to its creator, Barbara Walters, who died last week at 93 years old.
Whoopi Goldberg began the show saying tributes were “pouring in from around the world” to celebrate Walters’ life and legacy. “The reason why we’re all sitting here, if not for her I don’t know where most of us would be.”
Co-host Joy Behar chimed in saying that Walters “very much defied sexism and defied ageism, she went right into the jaws of the lion there when she had to deal with people like Harry Reasoner,” a reference to her dismissive former co-anchor at ABC News. “She was not just a friend to us, she was one of a kind and very important to the industry.”
Noting that Walters created “The View” when she was 68 years old, Behar noted that “very few people started a new career at that age.”
“She had no mentors or role models, because she was the original role model for everyone else. We have to give the woman a lot of credit,” Behar said.
Former co-hosts later joined the show, including Star Jones, Lisa Ling, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Sherri Shepherd, Meredith Vieira and Debbie Matenopoulos.
Vieira thanked Walters for allowing her to “reinvent” herself from a journalist to a talk show host. She recalled the audition process and said that after she was finished, she “wanted in” on “The View.”
“I found it fun, it was innovating, groundbreaking. I just wanted to be part of it,” Vieira said. “It opened the door to so many opportunities for me and it made me realize that you don’t have to stay on one path in life…I owe that realization to Barbara.”
Jones recalled that sitting next to Walters when going out was the “best seat in the house at any social event … because she could tell you everything about anybody in the room,” adding that “half the time, she had either interviewed them, done a story on them, heard a story about them, and she would dish with the best of them.”
“The View” ended Tuesday’s show with two clip packages featuring Walters best moments.
Former hosts pay tribute
Over the past few days, former co-hosts of “The View,” which first aired in 1997, honored Walters on social media.
“I owe Barbara Walters more than I could ever repay. Rest well sister…mother…friend…colleague…mentor,” wrote Jones, who appeared on the show from 1997 to 2006.
Shepherd, who was on the show from 2007 to 2014, thanked Walters for “giving a shy girl who didn’t like to debate a seven-year chance of a lifetime.” She added: “Thank you for allowing me to find my voice and encouraging me to fly. My heart hurts, but I’ll always love you Lady!”
“Barbara Walters will always be known as a trail blazer. Her hard hitting questions & welcoming demeanor made her a household name and leader in American journalism,” wrote Meghan McCain on Twitter. who left the show in 2021 after four years. “Her creation of The View is something I will always be appreciative of. Rest in peace you will forever be an icon.”
“Barbara Walters blazed the trail for every newswoman and we will forever follow in her footsteps. May she Rest In Peace,” wrote Vieira, an original host on the show.
Matenopoulos, who was 22 years old when Walters picked her as one of the show’s original co-hosts, thanked her on Instagram for taking a chance on her. “You are and you will forever be my fairy godmother and my hero. You are THE reason any female journalist and any female TV personality for that matter has the opportunities they have today,” she wrote.
Walters’ time on The View
Walters launched the ABC daytime talk show with her producing partner Bill Geddie. The idea was born out of talking to her daughter Jackie and their differing viewpoints of the world. In the first episode, she explained that she “always wanted to do a show with women of different generations, backgrounds and views.” She added: “This is that show.”
“The View” originally premiered with four co-hosts, including Matenopoulos, Vieira, Jones, and Walters. Over the course of its 26-year-run, the show has had more than 20 different co-hosts, but it has remained a destination for buzzy discussions and fascinating interviews with politicians and celebrities.
Walters retired from the show in 2014, but remained a part-time contributor to ABC News for two more years. “I knew it was time,” Walters told CNN at the time. “I like all the celebration, that’s great, but in my heart, I thought, ‘I want to walk away while I’m still doing good work.’ So I will.”
She had a pioneering journalism career before launching the successful daytime talk show. She began her national broadcast career in 1961 as a reporter, writer and panel member for NBC’s “Today” show before being promoted to co-host in 1974. In 1976, Walters joined ABC News as the first female anchor on an evening news program.
At that network, Walters launched “The Barbara Walters Specials” and “10 Most Fascinating People” before becoming a co-host and correspondent for ABC News’ “20/20” in 1984.
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