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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Mike Bedigan

Barbara Walters’ life celebrated by hosts of The View, past and present

‘Trailblazer’ Barbara Walters died on December 30 aged 93

(Picture: Alamy/PA)

Past and present hosts of US news show The View have come together to pay tribute to Barbara Walters, following her death aged 93.

They hailed the presenter, who created the ABC programme in 1997, as a “one of a kind” journalist who “defied sexism and ageism”.

News of her death was announced by the network on December 30.

Hosts including Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Debbie Matenopoulos, and Lisa Ling came together on Tuesday for a special episode to celebrate her life and legacy.

“If not for her, I don’t know where most of us would be,” Goldberg said at the top of the show.

“There was nobody like her. There isn’t anyone like her and like all firsts, she’s the first and there are many of us duplicates but there will never be another Barbara Walters.”

“She very much defied sexism and ageism,” said Behar.

“She went into the jaws of the lion… and she started The View when she was 68 years old; very few people start a new career at that age.

“She had no mentors or role models because she was the original role model for everybody else. So we have to give the woman a lot of credit.

“She was not just a friend to us but she was on-of-a-kind and very important to the industry.”

Matenopoulos said that Walters had “single-handedly changed my life”.

“I was a 22-year-old journalism student at NYU when she chose me to sit next to her on this show.

“It was like taking a masterclass in journalism with the most, well-respected, well-renowned female journalist in history. It was unbelievable.”

“I owe her everything.”

The rest of Tuesday’s episode of The View featured multiple segments devoted to Walters, with clips of her nearly four decades of work.

During her time at ABC and before that at NBC, Walters had exclusive interviews with rulers, royalty and entertainers including former prime minister Margaret Thatcher, Russian president Vladimir Putin, and Prince Charles before he became King.

Following news of her death, Hollywood tributes flooded in from famous faces including Oprah Winfrey, Reece Witherspoon, Hugh Jackman and Sir Paul McCartney.

Sir Paul, whose wife Nancy Shevell was Walters’ cousin, said that Walters was an “amazing woman” who had “more than held her own in the early days of male-dominated television”.

“We will miss her but always remember her with great fondness,” he wrote on Instagram.

American talk show host Winfrey also wrote on Instagram: “Without Barbara Walters there wouldn’t have been me – nor any other woman you see on evening, morning, and daily news.

“She was indeed a Trailblazer. I did my very first television audition with her in mind the whole time.

“Grateful that she was such a powerful and gracious role model.

“Grateful to have known her.

“Grateful to have followed in her Light.”

Walters’ publicist Cindi Berger said that she had died “peacefully in her home surrounded by loved ones”.

“She lived her life with no regrets. She was a trailblazer not only for female journalists, but for all women,” Ms Berger said.

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