Entertainment News

  • 16 May 2014, 13:24

Barbara Walters Bows Out As Grande Dame Of TV

American viewers will say goodbye to a broadcasting icon today when Barbara Walters makes her final daily TV appearance.

The 84-year-old is stepping down as presenter of the The View, the show she created 17 years ago, and bidding farewell to a remarkable on-camera career.

She has interviewed every US president since Richard Nixon and sat down with interviewees including everyone from Fidel Castro to Monica Lewinsky and Vladimir Putin.

Even as she prepared to retire, she landed blockbuster interviews with the wife and girlfriend of shamed Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.

Walters will remain as executive producer of The View and could make appearances on ABC News, the channel she has called home for 38 years, on stories that appeal to her.

She admits the decision to step down has been bittersweet - but that she was helped by another retiring TV legend.

"It seemed right when I made the decision," she said. "I was talking to David Letterman and he's leaving too and we both said, 'we don't want to', but you know what? It's going to be fine."

At a party in New York to mark her departure, Bob Iger, head of ABC's owner The Walt Disney Company, told guests: "Barbara's retiring but I think we all know there's absolutely no quit in Barbara."

The tributes have come from some of American entertainment's biggest names.

Director Woody Allen said: "She's intelligent. She's got a knack for ingratiating herself, so you warm up to her very quickly. She draws you in and you feel very comfortable with her."

Actor Michael Douglas added: "She's a combination of great organisational skill and chutzpah. Yet, being a Libra, she's someone who is very, very sympathetic."

Walters, who was born in Boston, is often credited with creating 'personality journalism' and was once listed as one of America's 50 greatest television figures.

She says the greatest pride she feels is for the women she has inspired to enter journalism.

She said: "When women tell me that they entered the field of journalism or went to school to study it because of me that's my legacy.

"That makes me very proud. That's lasting. There weren't these women when I began and I'm so glad if I could inspire anyone."

Retirement offers something different, she says: "The good news is, I'll have time to get Botox. The bad news is, now that I won't be on the air, I won't NEED Botox."