Updated 12:20 p.m. ET
Barbara Walters made it official on Monday, announcing
during The View that she intends to retire next summer.
"I have been on TV continuously for over 50 years, but in
the summer of 2014, a year from now, I plan to retire from appearing on
television at all," said Walters "It has been an absolutely joyful,
rewarding, challenging, fascinating and occasionally bumpy ride. I wouldn't
change a thing."
Walters stressed that the decision was hers and that she's
in good health. She said she had been thinking about it for a while. She will
remain as coexecutive producer of The View and may return for special
"After all the speculation and the rumors and so forth
last month, I promised you that if I had anything to announce about my future
plans, you would hear it first here," said Walters to open the show. A
retrospective of her illustrious career was then played.
Walter's impending departure will leave The View
without a single original member. In March, cohost Joy Behar announced her intention to leave the long-running
daytime program. There were also reports of Elisabeth Hasselbeck being on the outs as
well, although Walters vehemently denied them on-air. Should Hasselbeck depart,
that would leave Whoopi Goldberg and Sherri Shepherd as the only returning
The announcement sets an end date for a career that began in
1961 as a writer on NBC's Today show, where she eventually became the
show's first female cohost in 1974.
After a 15-year stint, Walters jumped to ABC in 1976, where
she became the first woman to host an evening newscast, which she did with
Harry Reasoner on the ABC Evening News.
For 25 of her 37-year career with ABC, Walters cohosted and
served as chief correspondent for primetime newsmagazine 20/20. She
began The View in 1997.
Over her career, Walters has interviewed the likes
of Russia's Boris Yeltsin; China's Premier Jiang Zemin; Great Britain's
former Prime Minister, the late Margaret Thatcher; Libya's Moammar Qadaffi and
Saddam Hussein. She was the first American journalist to interview Russia's president
Vladimir Putin and the first interview with President George W. Bush and Mrs.
Bush following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
"When I think of you, I think of the word 'singular.' I
don't think anyone has come close to accomplishing what you accomplished and
I'm not sure anyone will," said Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger, who was
in attendance. "Not only as CEO and chairman of the company, but as a
friend and colleague for almost 40 years, from the bottom of my heart, thank
you very much."
Also in attendance were: Ben Sherwood,
president, ABC News; Anne Sweeney, cochair of Disney Media Networks and president
of Disney-ABC Television Group; and Paul Lee, president, ABC Entertainment