The View began on a somber note Tuesday as the co-hosts paid tribute to Barbara Walters, the creator of ABC’s iconic daytime talk show. Walters died December 30 at the age of 93.
Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Sara Haines, Sunny Hostin, and Alyssa Farah Griffin praised Walters’ tenacious interview skills and hailed her as a mentor for female journalists. They each shared special moments with the legendary broadcaster, with Goldberg revealing they first “bonded” over being working mothers and Hostin recalling the moment in which Walters encouraged her to re-write her note cards in her own voice.
“She was the hardest working person,” said Behar. “I said to her, ‘How come you always get the interview?’ She said, ‘Because I never go to the bathroom.’ That was the secret of her success! She was a camel in disguise!”
Haines and Griffin never sat at The View’s table with Walters, but they expressed their gratitude to her for creating a platform from which women of different generations and worldviews could speak their minds. “I always saw women in anchor roles. I always saw females on TV in those presences, but it’s because she opened that door. That didn’t exist before Barbara Walters,” said Griffin. “In every sense of the word, she was a pioneer. She broke the original glass ceiling.”
.@JoyVBehar on Barbara Walters: "She very much defied sexism and she defied ageism. She went right into the jaws of the lion."— The View (@TheView) January 3, 2023
"She was the original role model for everybody else." https://t.co/cVclFZQmjA pic.twitter.com/T9wl5ityl9
“There was nobody like her. There isn't anyone like her,” said Goldberg. “She’s the first. There are many of us duplicates. But there will never be another Barbara Walters.”
Later, Behar reunited with her original The View co-hosts Debbie Matenopoulos, Star Jones, and Meredith Vieira — who is sick and called in via phone — and the ladies reminisced on the show’s early days. “A couple of us were reluctant to do a daytime show,” said Behar. “When I got the offer I thought, ‘I’ll take it because Barbara Walters is involved, so it will be a smart show. That’s a fact.’”
“And the only reason it stayed on the air, Joy, was Barbara,” added Vieira. “We had lousy ratings in the beginning. But there was such respect in the business for Barabra amongst the people at ABC, the executives, that they kept it going, and look at it now!”
Jones also offered a window into Walters’ life away from the set. “You think being next to her at the table of The View was amazing, but the best seat in the house at any social event was next to Barbara Walters,” she said, remembering one particularly ridiculous dinner in which they discussed “The Thong Song” with Prince Albert. “Everybody knows her as the brilliant, iconic journalist, but Barbara and Joy and Meredith and Debbie and I, we got to dish with this woman in ways that other people will never, ever appreciate. She was the best gossiper. She had all the tea.”
Matenopoulos opted for a more emotional tribute, thanking Walters for turning her into a television star straight out of college. “Barbara and I had a relationship that was really very mother-daughter,” she said. “Very much so. She was tough on me, but I appreciated it because I learned everything from her. She single-handedly changed my life.”
“It was incredible. It was like taking a master class in journalism with the most well respected, well renowned female journalist in history,” she continued, her voice breaking. “I owe her everything. I would not have this career if she did not choose me ... My entire life, all I wanted to do was make her proud.”
Over the course of the hour, more former co-hosts shared their favorite Barbara Walters memories, including Lisa Ling, Sherri Shepherd, and Elisabeth Hasselbeck, The View’s first explicitly conservative panelist. The episode also included a lengthy montage of Walters’ best moments on The View, including political debates with Hasselbeck, Halloween costume fun (Walters’ Marilyn Monroe is one of the best costumes in the show’s 25-year history), and landmark interviews with political leaders and celebrities.
"THIS IS MY LEGACY!": See the historic moment Oprah Winfrey and 25 female journalists honored Barbara Walters as she retired from @TheView in May 2014. https://t.co/cVclFZQU98 pic.twitter.com/jZ825o7Qul— The View (@TheView) January 3, 2023
Fittingly, The View’s celebration of Barbara Walters’ life and career ended with her address to the audience on her final show, in May 2014. “From the bottom of my heart, and to all of you with whom I have worked and to all of you who have watched and been at my side for so many years, I can say thank you,” she said at the time. “Maybe instead of goodbye, I should take a deep breath and enjoy my view.”
The View airs weekdays at 11:00 AM ET on ABC. Join the discussion about the show in our forums.
Claire Spellberg Lustig is the Senior Editor at Primetimer and a scholar of The View. Follow her on Twitter at @c_spellberg.