After more than 50 years in television, the Patron Saint of Newswomen all over America, Barbara Walters, will announce her retirement from not only “The View,” but from television all together in 2014. She will begin her swan song–she refuses to call it a farewell tour—this year with a series of retrospectives on ABC prime-time news programs and on ‘The View.” At 83 years old, it is probably time to pass the torch to the next generation. However, she says that she is not retiring due to health problems, even though she contracted chicken pox, suffered a fainting spell and had a heart valve replaced in 2011. Rumors began to surface in March of this year that she was going to retire, but she said on air that she had “no announcements to make.”
Over the years, Walters interviewed the famous and infamous. Everyone from Fidel Castro to reality tv star, Honey Boo Boo. In her 2008 autobiography, Audition: A Memoir, Walters could have named herself one of the “Most Fascinating People” for 2008. She detailed her own interracial affair with then-married Edward Brooke, the first black man elected to the Senate after Reconstruction for several years in the 1970s. She also detailed her lonely childhood, her daughter’s struggle with drug addiction, and the fact that she’s never learned to drive! Really, Barbara?! However, I will give her a pass, since she’s a native New Yorker and you really don’t need a car in New York City!
Walters was not without enemies throughout her career. Her biggest and most famous feuds were with Star Jones and Rosie O’Donnell. In 2006, ABC decided not to renew Star’s contract for the next season, and soon thereafter, Star announced that she would be leaving the show—much to Ms Walter’s surprise. It was also rumored that Star had forced her co-hosts to lie about her gastric bypass surgery. In 2008, Ms Walters had to deal with yet another ungrateful employee, Rosie O’Donnell. O’Donnell and “The View’s” conservative cheerleader, Elizabeth Hasselbeck often got into shouting matches on the show, leading Babs to give her the boot after only a few months. The official story, was it that it was a mutual parting of ways. Mmhmm.
In any case, Ms Walters’ classy presence and interview style – she’s paved the way for other softball interviewers, like Katie Couric -will be missed. She definitely knows the Kenny Rogers classic—“The Gambler.” “You gotta know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold them, know when to walk away….” I salute you Ms Walters.