Legendary journalist Barbara Walters has inspired many across her lengthy career, something that makes recent headlines addressing her health quite the shock. The View host and 20/20 personality celebrated her 90th birthday last month, but has reportedly been living in seclusion away from those closest to her due to her health.
Walters only has one daughter, so those she has touched over the years act as her extended family in a strange way. You can see where the iconic newswoman and interviewer has helped to shape the role of the female journalist, something she said made her proud during a 2014 segment on The View.
“How proud when I see all the young women who are making and reporting the news. If I did anything to help make that happen, that is my legacy,” Walters said.
Many spoke out when Walters retired from the show she helped create in 2014. In honor of her birthday, here are what her many female supporters have said about her contributions, as outlined by Parade.
The 2016 Democratic nominee for president spoke during The View host's retirement, singling out Walter's career full of interviews.
"I want to start by saying I can’t believe this day has come and I can’t believe it’s for real. I don’t know what we’re all going to do without seeing you go from one place to another, asking questions that we’d all like to ask,” Clinton said.
Elizabeth Hasselbeck's relationship with Barbara Walters has been well-covered territory. Hasselbeck's fiery reaction to Walters on the show and the audio that was recently released gave us a view behind the scenes. It also adds extra context to this quote from Hasselbeck.
"I attended the Barbara Walters University," Hasselbeck said of Walters. "I could not feel more prepared to interview anyone."
When you think about the female titans on television, Oprah and Walters are likely two that instantly come to mind. But for Winfrey, it is the newswoman's inspiring career that made her ascension a possibility.
"There’s no other woman that deserves more in terms of opening the door for my career. I was 16 years old, saw her on television, got the inspiration to think, maybe I could do that," Winfrey said about The View creator. "For the first year of my television career, I actually created this façade of pretending to be Barbara Walters and trying to sit and talk and act like her and I think that’s why every other woman showed up here today. We all recognize that had it not been for her, we would not have had a shoulder to stand on. We all now get to glide across that road that she literally laid brick by brick."
Former The View co-host Sherri Shepherd heaped praise on Walters and her efforts to tip the racial scales on television.
"I think every talk show where you see more than one person of color is due to Barbara Walters," Shepherd said about Walters in a Vanity Fair profile. "In the landscape of network TV, you would always see one black person, and it was the foresight and creative vision of Barbara Walters who said, ‘You know what? Maybe all black people don’t think alike."
Joy Behar may now be the elder around the table on The View, but she only made it there due to Walters and her work ethic.
"She had worked her butt off all her life and didn’t have the luxury to be tired. So she would not tolerate, 'Oh my goodness, you feel tired? You’re only here from 9 to 12. What the hell are you talking about?'" Behar said about her longtime co-host.
Katie Couric was one of the women to step into Walters' shoes on The Today Show after she left the role. While Couric became the face of the program during her tenure, she credited Walters with ensuring it was a possibility in Vanity Fair.
"She was an early ballbuster, and I mean that in the nicest possible way," Couric said about Walters. "She rattled a lot of cages before women were even allowed into the zoo."
Oprah also got another great, short quote in during Walters' retirement on The View. Along with a ton of other notable female personalities, Winfrey made it clear that Walters paved the way.
“You’re the reason I wanted to be in television,” Winfrey said.
Shepherd also had much more to say during the Vanity Fair profile. The 30 Rock alum opened up about how Walters would touch people on that personal level.
"She’s very curious about your life. She gives me advice, and I always feel like I never want the dinner to end," Shepherd said. "I want to go home with Barbara, curl up under the covers with her, and watch old black-and-white movies."
And finally, Star Jones, one of the founding co-hosts on The View, who made it clear that no woman in the media business would be where they are without Walters.
"There is no woman that does what we do that won’t say Barbara Walters is her idol," Jones told Vanity Fair. "She took the arrows that were shot her way, and women were able to advance in that field because of Barbara."
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