Walters' last day as a co-host on the all-women talk show she
created in 1997 will be on May 16. The network, a unit of Walt
Disney Co., will also air a two-hour evening special focusing on
her career and her life on the same day.
"In this business there are legends, there are icons, and then
there is Barbara Walters," Bob Iger, chairman and chief
executive of The Walt Disney Company, said in a statement.
"She broke barriers, defied convention, made history and set the
standard for journalistic excellence for more than 50 years.
It's hard to imagine television without her," he added.
In honor of her many years on television, the ABC News
headquarters in New York will be named for her in a dedication
ceremony this spring and "The View" will host a weeklong
celebration of her career.
"Her influence on television, and American culture, will
resonate for decades to come," Anne Sweeney, the president of
Disney/ABC Television Group, said in a statement.
Walters, 84, announced her plans to retire from television
nearly a year ago in a tearful appearance on "The View," saying
she was healthy and it was her decision to step down.
"This is what I want to do," she said. "I've had an amazing
Walters has suffered from health problems recently, including a
concussion after she fainted and hit her head last year and a
bout of chickenpox. In 2010, she had open heart surgery.
[to top of second column]
Since announcing her retirement, she hosted "20 Years of the 10 Most
Fascinating People," the final show of her yearly special program
about intriguing personalities.
During her long career, Walters was known for her interviews on U.S.
television with world leaders including Cuba's Fidel Castro,
Britain's Margaret Thatcher, Saddam Hussein of Iraq and every U.S.
president since Richard Nixon.
She also interviewed celebrities such as Elizabeth Taylor, Angelina
Jolie and Tom Cruise.
Walters began her career in television journalism in 1961 as a
writer for NBC's "Today" morning news show and later became the
first woman to co-host.
She broke more ground in 1976 when she joined ABC and became the
first woman to co-anchor an evening news broadcast on any U.S.
network. Walters has also worked as a producer and host of the ABC
news magazine "20/20" and as a correspondent for ABC News.
(Reporting by Patricia Reaney; editing by Eric Kelsey and James Dalgleish)
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.