Barbara Walters Announces Retirement on 'The View'

The legendary news anchor leaves after 52 years on the air.

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FILE - This Sept. 20, 2012 file photo shows Barbara Walters, host of the ABC daytime talk show "The View," arriving at the New York City Ballet Fall Gala honoring fashion designer Valentino Garavani at Lincoln Center in New York. Walters says the paparazzi were lying in wait, but she's not saying anything about her future employment. Walters returned to "The View" on Monday, after reports circulated widely the previous Friday that she would be retiring from television in May 2014. The television news legend is 83 years old. She said photographers were waiting for her as she went to work on Monday, expecting she would discuss her future plans on the air. Instead, Walters had nothing to say about whether or not the stories were true, saying "I have no announcement to make." Walters created "The View" in 1997.  (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, file)
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FILE - This Sept. 20, 2012 file photo shows Barbara Walters, host of the ABC daytime talk show "The View," arriving at the New York City Ballet Fall Gala honoring fashion designer Valentino Garavani at Lincoln Center in New York. Walters says the paparazzi were lying in wait, but she's not saying anything about her future employment. Walters returned to "The View" on Monday, after reports circulated widely the previous Friday that she would be retiring from television in May 2014. The television news legend is 83 years old. She said photographers were waiting for her as she went to work on Monday, expecting she would discuss her future plans on the air. Instead, Walters had nothing to say about whether or not the stories were true, saying "I have no announcement to make." Walters created "The View" in 1997. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, file)

It's the end of an era: Iconic newswoman Barbara Walters is retiring after 52 years on television.

She made the official announcement on "The View" Monday morning after months of speculation that she would step down sometime this year.

"In the summer of 2014, a year from now, I plan to retire from appearing on television at all," she told the audience. "It has been an absolutely joyful, rewarding, challenging, fascinating, and occasionally bumpy ride. And I wouldn't change a thing. I'm perfectly healthy. This is my decision. I've been thinking about it a long time. This is what I want to do."

Walters also tweeted about the news: 

The 83-year-old will leave both "The View" and her duties as an ABC News contributor in the summer of 2014. She'll also host one more edition of "10 Most Fascinating People" and her Oscar special before a big sendoff next May.

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Walters looked teary-eyed during a standing ovation by "The View" audience, and her announcement was followed by a retrospective of her long, storied career. Mayor Mike Bloomberg stopped by to pay his respects, and her co-hosts were solemn as they applauded their legendary colleague. "I want to leave when people are saying, 'Why is she leaving?' rather than 'Why won't she leave?'" Walters told co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck.

Walters has been blazing trails and breaking barriers since 1961. She was the first female co-host of "Today," the first female co-anchor ABC's evening news broadcast, and a regular correspondent on "20/20." Her rise to the top of the profession surprised Walters, who noted, "I wasn't beautiful like many of the women on the program before me, I had trouble pronouncing my R's, I still do."

In 1997, she created "The View" as a platform for women of different generations, backgrounds, and beliefs. She will remain an executive producer of the daytime talk show, and "come back" once in a while. "I'm not walking into the sunset."

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Walter has experienced a few health scares -- chicken pox and a concussion -- in recent months, but she insisted that her retirement had nothing to do with that. "I'm perfectly healthy," she declared.

She revealed she had been considering when to retire for the last decade or so. "I want to leave when I'm still very active and very viable," she said.

Now, "It's time," Walters told The New York Times. "I don't want to do any more interviews. I don't want to do any other programs. I'm not joining CNN. This is it."

Walters is looking forward to a break. "I do not want to appear on another program or climb another mountain," she said. "I want instead to sit on a sunny field and admire the very gifted women -- and OK, some men too -- who will be taking my place."

 

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