Saying goodbye to a legendary journalist is never a small feat. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the final send-off of Barbara Walters on The View was packed with surprise guests from women all over the media and beyond. On Thursday, the show paid tribute to Walters by inviting all 11 former co-hosts, from Meredith Vieira to Rosie O’Donnell, back to the table that made them famous. On Friday’s telecast, the show one-upped itself with the inclusion of some powerful females whose lives were clearly impacted and who were grateful for the change of view Barbara Walters brought to the world.
The episode, which was taped on Thursday afternoon, began with thunderous applause for Walters, as she entered the studio of the show that she created 11 years ago for the final time. The first surprise guest to pay her tribute was the former First Lady and former Secretary of State, Hilary Rodham Clinton. As the two of them chatted, Clinton joked that Walters could definitely use a break, following an over 50-year long career. Walters joked back, “You’re in no position to tell me!” Constant rumors have placed the 66-year-old Clinton as a front-runner for the 2016 Presidential Election.
“I am running,” Clinton revealed to Walters during their chat. “Around the park.”
Talk show mogul and an owner of the OWN Network, Oprah Winfrey, also stopped by to send Walters off in style. Winfrey thanked Walters endlessly for allowing women like her to have such a strong hold in television and beyond. “I want to thank you for being a pioneer and everything that word means,” she relayed to Walters.
However, the biggest surprise was yet to come. Winfrey mentioned that there were many other female journalists, reporters and names in the media that owed Walters a debt of gratitude for getting them where they are now. She then brought many of those grateful women out to really give a glimpse of just how powerful the career and view of Barbara Walters has been.
Among the crowd were Katie Couric, Jane Pauley, Diane Sawyer, Robin Roberts, Kathie Lee Gifford and even the best friend of Winfrey herself, Gayle King. Strongly touched by the moment, Walters looked over the many faces and said, “This is my legacy.”
Other moments included actor Michael Douglas, who was the main guest for the day. The actor made mention to Clinton being a part of the show and added that if Clinton were to win the election for President, Walters “would make a great vice president.”
Other familiar faces were in the audience during the taping as well. Rosie O’Donnell and Debbie Matenopoulos stayed behind, following the live recording of Thursday’s broadcast. CNN anchor, Anderson Cooper, was also in attendance.
At the end of the episode, the departing Barbara Walters could not help but to attempt to lighten the mood, expressing that since she was going off the air, she would never need to get Botox. But following the laughter, she gave a heartfelt farewell speech, thanking everyone she had ever worked with and anyone who felt that they owed their career to her. “To all of you with whom I have worked and watched and who have been by my side, thank you.”
At the end of what amounted to a two-hour long tribute, she gave one last sign off, by changing her infamous closing line to express that she, Barbara Walters, was grateful for the change of the view she managed to create in her long-standing career. “When all of that is done,” the 84-year-old said as her voice trembled, “I can take a deep breath and enjoy my view.”
By Jonathan Brown