Tears were shed, laughs were shared, and nary a cross word was heard as the ladies of “The View” bid adieu to their co-host, boss, and mentor Barbara Walters on Thursday’s show.
Walters is retiring Friday, after more than 50 years on television, including 17 on the morning chatfest for which she served as creator and executive producer.
Every woman who ever batted a “Hot Topics” around the table, a whopping 11 in all, returned to pay tribute to her.
Walters’s mission with “The View” was to join women of different ages, races, and backgrounds for a daily conversation. Although their relationships weren’t always harmonious, it was apparent Thursday that Walters had accomplished that goal as a group of very different women — Joy Behar, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Star Jones, Lisa Ling, Debbie Matenopoulous, Rosie O’Donnell, and Meredith Vieira — joined current co-hosts Whoopi Goldberg, Jenny McCarthy, Sherri Shepherd, and Walters herself to reminisce about their favorite moments on the show.
“I had such good times with each of you,” said Walters, beaming.
Famous for wringing tears from her interview subjects, Walters fought off the waterworks early in the hour as Goldberg emphasized her legacy in breaking the glass ceiling in broadcasting.
“This is a huge deal. I think that you don’t remember what you’ve done,” said Goldberg. “So we’re going to make sure you know it.” Cue the Kleenex.
The women caught up viewers, and each other, on developments in their lives — Matenopoulous is expecting, Ling had a child, Behar raved about her grandson, O’Donnell got married and had another child, etc. — and recalled favorite Walters moments on the show and behind the scenes, including a Halloween bit with Walters dolled up as Marilyn Monroe.
If anyone was expecting a throwdown between any of the women — some of whom left under their own volition while others were shown the door — it was not to be. Hasselbeck and O’Donnell, who famously butted heads, sat next to each other and shared a couple of collegial exchanges, and the women seemed of a collective mind to play nice for the person they all say influenced or advised them in a positive way.
Following Walters’s final appearance as co-host of “The View” Friday morning, ABC will air a two-hour prime time tribute, “Barbara Walters: Her Story,” at 9 p.m.Sarah Rodman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.