May 15, 2014 3:03pm PT by Hilary Lewis
Barbara Walters' Last 'View': Oprah Winfrey, Hillary Clinton Pay Tribute to Retiring Co-Host (Video)
Barbara Walters has taped her last episode as co-host of The View.
The journalist filmed her final appearance on the ABC daytime talk show, which airs on Friday, on Thursday afternoon in Manhattan, with Oprah Winfrey and Hillary Clinton among the surprise guests who showed up to say goodbye.
After more than 50 years in TV news, Walters is officially retiring, leaving her co-hosting gig on The View, but she'll continue to serve as the show's executive producer and contribute to ABC News on an as-needed basis.
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Walters was welcomed to The View stage with thunderous applause when she was introduced separately, after her fellow co-hosts at Thursday's packed taping at The View studios.
Clinton was the first of many surprise guests, whom Walters said she didn't know the identity of ahead of time.
When Clinton sat down at The View table, Walters said that the former Secretary of State should be her replacement on the show, saying people then wouldn't ask the likely 2016 presidential candidate what she's doing next.
Indeed, Walters didn't miss an opportunity to ask Clinton whether she's running.
"I am running -- around the park," Clinton joked.
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Clinton was also the first guest to urge Walters to take some time off, to which Walters responded, "You're in no position to tell me."
Later, Walters told the audience that she is taking a vacation, going to Berlin with a friend.
Winfrey, who appeared towards the end of the show, also hoped that Walters would do what she had told Winfrey to do when the mogul left her daytime show: take some time off and get some rest.
Winfrey said she owed much of her career to Walters.
"You know, in many ways I feel responsible for you," Walters said.
"Well, you should!" Winfrey exclaimed.
Winfrey also said: "I want to thank you for being a pioneer, and everything that that word means. It means being the first: the first to knock down the door, to break down the barriers, to pave the road that we all walk on."
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But the media mogul's not the only woman for whom Walters paved the way. Winfrey introduced a parade of female anchors, many of whom Winfrey said have been influenced by Walters.
Among the women who walked onto the stage to greet Walters and then form a star-studded semicircle were Katie Couric, Diane Sawyer, Jane Pauley, Joan Lunden, Connie Chung, Elizabeth Vargas, Robin Roberts, Amy Robach, Juju Chang, Savannah Guthrie, Natalie Morales, Tamron Hall, Hoda Kotb, Kathie Lee Gifford, Maria Shriver, Mika Brzezinski, Paula Zahn, Gayle King and Lisa Ling.
Looking at all the women assembled together, Walters, who's recently commented that she feels her legacy is in paving the way for women who've come after her, said, "This is my legacy. These are my legacy."
Walters' longtime friend and frequent interview subject Michael Douglas was the main guest, joining The View hosts on the show's turquoise couch, filling them in on how his father Kirk Douglas and wife Catherine Zeta-Jones are doing (both are fantastic), and discussing both Behind the Candelabra and his upcoming romantic comedy with Diane Keaton, And So It Goes.
When asked who's a better kisser, Keaton or Matt Damon, Douglas chose a diplomatic answer, saying, "They have different flavored ChapStick."
Douglas also didn't miss an opportunity to speculate about Hillary Clinton's potential presidential bid, joking that if the former first lady does run, Walters "would make a great vice president."
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The audience for the taping of Walters' final co-hosting appearance on The View was also filled with famous faces, including many Disney-ABC executives like Bob Iger, Anne Sweeney and Ben Sherwood, as well as Anderson Cooper, Debbie Matenopoulos and Rosie O'Donnell. New York Knicks player J.R. Smith was also in the audience and brought his mom to the taping. Smith's presence prompted multiple comments from the co-hosts and a memorable joke from Walters.
When the announcer joked that Walters would be coaching the Knicks in September, Walters quipped that she's actually going to buy the Clippers.
More humorous moments came courtesy of a taped interview that Walters conducted with herself, or rather Cheri Oteri's famous impression of her.
During the pre-taped bit, both Walters and Oteri donned the same pink blazer and Oteri's Walters continued her practice of regaling the audience with stories of her sexual escapades with famous figures.
"In 1972, I was in a hot tub with Burt Bacharach, Henry Kissinger, the Captain and Tennile and that irrepressible funnyman, Shecky Greene," Oteri said at one point, leading the real Barbara Walters to shoot back, "That didn't happen."
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Oteri's Walters later said: "1981: I was at a Russian hoedown with Mikhail Gorbachev, R.J. Wagner, Smokin' Joe Frazier, Dom DeLuise and an already liquored-up teenager by the name of Vlad Putin."
Walters and The View co-hosts all watched the bit and were seen laughing throughout, but when Oteri's Walters plugged the journalist's 2008 book Audition, saying in it you could read about her "no-holds-barred sexual affair with a black man," Walters put her head in her hands.
Oteri's Walters also delivered an on-point quip about The View when the real Walters asked if she had any regrets in creating the show.
"Well, at the time, little did I know that I would be surrounded by four cackling hens, all speaking over each other where I couldn't get a word in edgewise," Oteri's Walters said.
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But it was the real Walters who got to have the show's final word. She recalled her famous interviews, creating and working on The View and the struggles of co-hosting the evening news with Harry Reasoner and shared what the future might hold.
"The good news is that I will have time now to get Botox. But now that I'm not going to be on the air, I don't need to get Botox," she joked. "But starting soon I will be available for supermarket openings and charity auctions. For a $10 bid, you can have lunch with me. For a $20 bid, you don't have to."
"Now having this amazing career, how can I just walk away and say goodbye?," she said later. "This way, from the bottom of my heart to all of you with whom I have worked and watched and been by my side, thank you."
Instead of saying goodbye, Walters said, "A bientot," which is French for "See you later," and after she plugged her two-hour special airing later Friday night, she delivered her own version of the show's signoff.
"When all of that is done, I can take some time and enjoy my view," she said.
Walters' final episode as View co-host airs on Friday at 11 a.m. on ABC.