After a career in broadcast journalism spanning more than five decades, Barbara Walters is seeking a quieter view.
The veteran newswoman, who will turn 84 in September, officially announced on her daytime chat-fest The View that she will retire from her various on-air gigs 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, who wiped tears from her eyes before beginning her speech. She added that she is “perfectly healthy” and that the decision to step down was hers.
Walters will continue in her role as co-executive producer of The View for as long as it remains on air, she added.
“There will be special occasions and I will come back. I’m not walking into the sunset,” Walters continued. “But I don’t want to appear on another program. I don’t want to climb another mountain. I want instead to sit in a sunny field and admire the very gifted women — and OK, some men, too — who will be taking my place.”
Walters’ announcement was preceded by a self-narrated reel of her career highlights. The pioneering journalist was the first female co-host of NBC’s Today and the first female co-anchor of an evening newscast at ABC Evening News. She also led ABC’s news journal 20/20 for two decades. In 1997, she co-created The View. Furthermore, Walters has interviewed every U.S. president and first lady since the Nixon administration.
Walters said her successes starting with Today took her by surprise. “I wasn’t beautiful,” she said. “I had trouble pronouncing my R’s. I still do.”