Barbara Walters to Retire Next Year
Barbara Walters plans to retire by May of 2014, a person familiar with the situation told TheWrap. The veteran newswoman and "View" creator was to make the announcement in the coming weeks.
ABC was expected to air many specials and retrospectives between the announcements and Walters' retirement. They will cover her more than five decades in television, in which she broke ground for female journalists repeatedly, made countless celebrities cry on her celebrated specials, and launched morning-talk staple "The View," which she co-hosts.
Walters, 83, hired as a writer and reporter on NBC's "Today" in 1961, soon became an on-screen "Today Girl," as they were called, who handled lighter assignments. In 1974, she became the show's first female cohost.
It was among many barriers she would break.
She went on to be paired on ABC Evening News with Harry Reasoner, who Walters says made obvious his dislike of working with her. Then she was reunited with her former "Today" colleague Hugh Downs on "20/20," a pairing that lasted two decades.
She became famous for her specials, which featured incisive but empathetic interviews with such varied figures as Fidel Castro, Margaret Thatcher, Michael Jackson, Monica Lewinsky, and Katharine Hepburn. In December, she interviewed President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama.
But Walters, 83, suffered health troubles this year. She was hospitalized Jan. 19 after fainting at the British ambassador's residence and cutting her temple open. The following week, Whoopi Goldberg announced that Walters had been diagnosed with chicken pox, too.
Walters returned to "The View" this month, just in time for the news that co-host Joy Behar was leaving. The two worked together on "The View" since it began in 1997, and were its only remaining original hosts.