Tributes poured in for Barbara Walters after her death at the age of 93, including from her former co-hosts on The View. The late news anchor and host made television history in 1997 when she launched the daytime series on ABC, marking the first-ever talk show with an all-female cast. Barbara served as co-host on the panel-style show from its inception through to her retirement in 2014, sharing the round table with many others over the decades. The many women who co-hosted also came back to the show for a tribute on Tuesday, January 3.
Her passing was confirmed by her former employer, ABC News, online and on-air as well as in a statement from her rep. “Barbara passed away 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,” they said in statement to HollywoodLife.
Following her death, many of those who shared the stage with Barbara on The View — including those who hosted well after her retirement — took to social media to pay tribute and spoke about her lovingly on the tribute show.
Rosie O’Donnell is perhaps the most controversial host in The View history, generating plenty of chatter during her initial eight month run from 2006 to 2007. The comedian, 60, later returned in 2014 for another year before once again departing. Shortly after Barbara’s death, Rosie shared two photos of herself and Barbara to Instagram, captioning one, “legend #ripbarbara.”
Meredith Vieira was a staple on The View as one of the original hosts from 1997, as well as the first-ever moderator for the show. The journalist and host, 69, took to Twitter with a short message after Barbara’s death. “Barbara Walters blazed the trail for every newswoman and we will forever follow in her footsteps. May she Rest In Peace,” the Providence native posted.
Barbara Walters blazed the trail for every newswoman and we will forever follow in her footsteps. May she Rest In Peace
— Meredith Vieira (@meredithvieira) December 31, 2022
During a reunion of the original View hosts, Meredith honored the show’s creator for a tribute episode of the show. She spoke about being reluctant to do a talk show at first. “It made me realize, you don’t have to stay on one path in life. It’s okay to veer off it, and I owe that realization to Barbara,” she said.
Elisabeth Hasselbeck co-hosted the series from 2003 to 2013 alongside Barbara, memorably bringing a Republican point-of-view to the series. The Survivor alum, 45, shared a sweet video montage of photos with Barbara over the years set to “God Is In This Story” by Katy Nichole and Big Daddy Weave. “Today, heaven welcomed my mentor and friend. And my TV mom,” she wrote over the video, adding more in a caption.
“I love you Barbara. GOD is in this story. I have few words tonight — and will be ready to honor you tomorrow Dec 31 at 9am EST (10central) on Fox and friends. It will be an honor to be broadcasting about your love and legacy. #thebeststoriesareinheaven,” she wrote, promoting her upcoming tribute on FOX News.
Elisabeth called the TV host her “mentor” during a remote appearance on The View tribute episode. “She put our relationship over the roles that we had,” she said. “If she didn’t choose to put our relationship first and put her role first, then we wouldn’t have the love that we have now, and Barbara did that so well. I’m beyond thankful for her. I love her so much, and now, she’s resting well.”
Lisa Ling was the first Asian woman to first the series, joining in season three back in 1999, and remaining on the ABC show until 2002. The journalist, 49, shared a late ’90s photo with her Emmy winning mentor along with one from the last decade to Instagram as she paid tribute to the icon.
“You paved the way for all of us, dear Barbara,” the Somewhere Inside author wrote. “What an honor it has been to know you and to have been the beneficiary of your titanic spirit and wisdom,” she added.
Lisa called getting to work with Barbara “surreal” on The View tribute episode, while also recalling her first lunch with her. She spoke about how emotional their first outing together was, and she credited her with reflecting much on her family relationships. She recalled how Barbara was a bit of a “mother figure” to the women on the show.
Debbie Matenopoulos was the youngest original cast member of The View back in 1997 — remaining as co-host alongside Barbara for two seasons until 1999. The current host of Home & Family shared a series of photos of the pair over the years to Instagram, alongside a deeply emotional tribute.
“I was 22 years old when you chose me to sit next to you on The View and you changed my life forever. When we first met you asked me who the 3 most important people of the last century were. I told you Albert Einstein, Bill Gates and Madonna,” Debbie began on the social media platform. In each of the photos, Barbara and Debbie were smiling and embracing, showing the warm nature of their dynamic.
“You laughed out loud and said, ‘You can’t be serious. You are going to be perfect for our show.’ You taught me everything I know about interviewing people and about doing live TV. You taught me how to be professional on a set and in just about any life situation I could ever be in,” the 48-year-old shared.
“I learned so much simply by watching you and being in your presence. You always gave 100 percent and you expected nothing less from any of us. You are and you will forever be my fairy godmother and my hero. You are THE reason any female journalist and any female tv personality for that matter has the opportunities they have today,” she also said, crediting Barbara for breaking “glass ceilings” and “paving the way” through her five decade career.
“You didn’t accept things simply for how they were so you changed them. We as women owe you so much. But I in particular, owe you everything. Thank you for taking a chance on a young Greek immigrant girl studying journalism at NYU,” she penned. “You are a legend. You are an icon. And you were also an amazingly funny, charming, witty friend. You will be so missed. May you rest in peace and pride. You were one of one Barbara Walters and I love you dearly. Until we meet again.”
Similar to her Instagram post, Debbie spoke about how happy she was to receive the opportunity from Barbara during The View tribute episode. “Barbara and I had a relationship that was really very mother-daughter,” she said. “I learned everything from her. She singlehandedly changed my life.”
Comedian Sherri Shepard got her hosting start on The View in 2007, remaining in her seat for seven years before departing in 2014 — the same year Barbara retired. “Thank you Barbara Walters for giving a shy girl who didn’t like to debate a seven-year chance of a lifetime,” Sherri penned alongside photos of the two on-air together over the years via Twitter.
Thank you Barbara Walters for giving a shy girl who didn’t like to debate a seven-year chance of a lifetime. Thank You for allowing me to find my voice and encouraging me to fly. My heart hurts, but I’ll always love you Lady! ❤️ #BarbaraWalters pic.twitter.com/lzvtRnJiR4
— Sherri Shepherd (@sherrieshepherd) December 31, 2022
“Thank You for allowing me to find my voice and encouraging me to fly. My heart hurts, but I’ll always love you Lady! #BarbaraWalters,” she wrote.
The comedian recalled some of the most memorable moments on the show, particularly getting protective during interviews with conservative commentators Ann Coulter and Bill O’Reilly. “I just remember feeling so protective of this woman who was so protective all the time of me, who would ferociously defend me, no matter what gaffes I made at the table,” she said in the View tribute show.
Star Jones, 60, is iconically one of the original hosts of the series from way back in 1997. The lawyer remained on the ABC talk show for nearly a decade, wrapping up her run in 2006. Jones was heartbroken after the death of her former colleague, writing, “I owe Barbara Walters more than I could ever repay. Rest well sister…mother…friend…colleague…mentor,” on Twitter.
I owe Barbara Walters more than I could ever repay. Rest well sister…mother…friend…colleague…mentor.
— Star Jones (@StarJonesEsq) December 31, 2022
During The View tribute episode, Star recalled being Barbara’s plus-one to a number of social events. “If you think being next to her at the table of The View was amazing, but the best seat in the house at any social event was next to Barbara Walters, because she could tell you everything about everyone in the room,” she said, saying that she had covered so many different topics as a journalist. “Everybody knows her as the brilliant, iconic journalist, but Joy and Meredith and Debbie and I, we got to dish with this woman in ways that other people will never ever appreciate. She was the best gossiper.”
Jenny McCarthy joined the series for a year from 2013 – 2014. The actress, 50, shared a sweet screenshot of Barbara embracing her on-screen as they shared a laugh alongside a note about the journalist’s “impact” on her life. “My Dear Barbara, Thank you for your love, guidance, support, nurturing and for making a seat for me at ‘the table’,” Jenny began.
“Your impact on the world is immeasurable. Your impact on me will never be forgotten. You will forever be an icon, in every sense of the word, and a most beloved friend to me. Love you always, Jenny. Rest peacefully. #ripbarbarawalters,” she signed off.
Rosie Perez, 58, also hosted The View for one season from 2014 – 2015 — joining the cast right after Barbara’s retirement. The actress and activist retweeted ABC’s statement about her passing, adding, “An amazing woman. Amazing loss. Shattering the glass ceiling is a huge understatement. She decimated it. Paved the way for so many. I feel very proud/humble to have known her & to have worked with her. Condolences to her loved ones & the entire @TheView family. #RipBarbaraWalters.”
Comedian Michelle Collins joined the series for a year in 2015 – 2016 — and while she never actively worked with Barbara on the show, she revealed that lunch with the creator was a “rite of passage” before going on-air.
One of the first rites of passage of becoming a host on @TheView was to have lunch with Barbara Walters. Few times in my life have I been that nervous. She was an absolute trailblazer, class, elegance, smarts that are increasingly hard to come by. I’ll always be grateful. RIP
— Michelle Collins (@michcoll) December 31, 2022
“One of the first rites of passage of becoming a host on @TheView was to have lunch with Barbara Walters,” she recalled in her tribute via Twitter. “Few times in my life have I been that nervous. She was an absolute trailblazer, class, elegance, smarts that are increasingly hard to come by. I’ll always be grateful. RIP,” the 41-year-old added.
— Michelle Collins (@michcoll) December 31, 2022
Michelle also included a second tweet of the only photo she and Walters have together backstage at ABC. “The one photo I have of Barbara Walters and I together backstage at The View. Our energies summed up quite nicely here. #RIP,” she said.
Sunny Hostin has been a regular host on The View since 2016, having the opportunity to be on-air with Barbara during a guest appearance on the series after her retirement. The lawyer, 54, remembered Walters as an “extraordinary” woman in her heartrending tribute that included a photo of the two on the set of The View.
“I am in Ghana, Africa and still learned the sad news of my mentor and colleague.
The world has lost a remarkable woman today. I am heartbroken to hear of Barbara’s passing,” Hostin began. “She was an extraordinary, meticulous and no-nonsense journalist with a wicked sense of humor. She shattered countless glass ceilings and did it with grace and humility,” the New York native also said.
“While I’m deeply saddened by this loss and will miss her terribly, I’m forever grateful for the trails she blazed for me and so many others. I’m humbled and honored to carry on her legacy. Rest in Power,” Sunny signed off.
Meghan McCain joined the series well after Barbara’s retirement in 2017, remaining on the series for four years until 2021. The daughter of the late John McCain, 38, remembered Barbara as a “household name” and “leader” in journalism on Twitter.
Barbara Walters will always be known as a trail blazer. Her hard hitting questions & welcoming demeanor made her a household name and leader in American journalism.
Her creation of The View is something I will always be appreciative of. Rest in peace you will forever be an icon.
— Meghan McCain (@MeghanMcCain) December 31, 2022
“Barbara Walters will always be known as a trailblazer. Her hard hitting questions and welcoming demeanor made her a household name and leader in American journalism,” the Phoenix, Arizona native wrote. “Her creation of The View is something I will always be appreciative of. Rest in peace you will forever be an icon,” she added.
Nicole Wallace joined the series for just a season in 2014 before ultimately joining MSNBC’s Deadline White House. Although she never co-hosted with Barbara, she shared insight on the supportive relationship she shared with the The View‘s creator. “She was the best[and] one thing I haven’t seen her honored for is this: she was the first person on the phone with advice and support when you fell down on the job,” Nicole, 50, wrote via Twitter.
She was the best + one thing I haven’t seen her honored for is this: she was the first person on the phone with advice and support when you fell down on the job – she called and offered me the best professional advice of my life and offered to call my boss when I needed it most! https://t.co/Dv6hKfwSN6
— Nicolle Wallace (@NicolleDWallace) December 31, 2022
“She called and offered me the best professional advice of my life and offered to call my boss when I needed it most!”
Ana Navarro joined the series as a host in 2022 after years of serving as a regular contributor. The 51-year-old thanked the late Barbara for “breaking barriers” in a tweet on Dec. 31, alongside an elegant black-and-white portrait of the TV legend.
“Thank you for opening doors, breaking barriers, shattering glass-ceilings and making it possible for so many of us to stand on shout shoulders,” Ana wrote. “Rest in Power, #BarbaraWalters.”
During the tribute show, Whoopi Goldberg honored her former boss with many touching memories, including a beautiful summation of all that Barbara accomplished during the opening segment. “There was nobody like her,” she said. “She’s the first, and there are many of us duplicates, but there’ll never be another Barbara Walters.”
Joy Behar has spoken about how important Barbara was to her and lovingly reflected on what a great sense of humor she had during an interview on ABC. “She could have a laugh, have fun, tell a dirty joke. She was a lot of fun!…We’ve had a lot of laughs on camera and off camera,” she said.
Joy also looked back on her amazing skills as a journalist. “She’s very much the role model for a lot of people in showbiz and the news world for sure…she had a work ethic you couldn’t deny,” she said. “She was always prepared and she was always working on her material. She didn’t go out there and didn’t know what she was doing. That was an important thing to learn.”