The View Co-Hosts Wish 'The One and Only' Barbara Walters a Happy 90th Birthday
Walters launched The View in 1997 and chose Joy Behar, Star Jones, Debbie Matenopoulos and Meredith Vieira to join her as the initial panel
The longtime journalist, who launched the daytime talk show in 1997, turned 90 on Wednesday.
Ahead of The View‘s daily Hot Topics segment during Wednesday’s episode, Whoopi Goldberg brought up the special occasion to the audience and her fellow co-hosts, Joy Behar, Sunny Hostin, Meghan McCain and Abby Huntsman.
“Happy birthday to the reason we are all sitting around this Hot Topics table today — it is the birthday of the one and only Barbara Walters,” Goldberg, 63, said, eliciting cheers from the audience.
“Happy birthday, Barbara! Thanks for the gig!” Whoopi jokingly added.
The show also posted a birthday tribute to Walters on Instagram, sharing a photo of the journalist sitting at a table smiling.
“Happy birthday to the one and only Barbara Walters! 💕” the account captioned the photo.
It wasn’t just the current co-hosts who took time out of their day to wish Walters a happy birthday — some of the show’s previous panelists also wrote touching tributes to her.
In a lengthy post on Instagram, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, who was a co-host on The View from 2003 to 2013, spoke about how much Walters had taught her and done for her through the years.
“Today- I’m thankful that I got to sit next to Barbara Walters – my friend and mentor – for 10 of her 90 years. Writing about this woman in Point of View was emotional,” she began. “When I look through these pictures I stand with gratitude from learning from a woman who leaned into stores that most disregarded.”
“She sat with those that no one would sit with, she was a mother through adoption and told JACKIE she was born in her heart,” Hasselbeck, 42, continued, referencing Walters’ daughter Jacqueline. “Whenever I was sick she made the first call to her doctor. She is the most curious woman I know and the best listener.”
Hasselbeck, who later went on to co-host Fox and Friends, acknowledged how the pair would get into disagreements at times, but said their support for one another never wavered.
“Barbara- though some days we held onto our positions on hot topics with passion-we never let go of one another’s hand,” she wrote. “We had some heated moments but those were nothing compared to the warmth of sitting by your side and being your tv daughter.”
“Thank you for loving on me. Tough love and true love. Thank you for teaching me everything I could ever hope to learn in broadcasting. Thank you for not firing me when I was pregnant and hormonal and when defending the life of the unborn in the heat of the moment, asked to be fired if I could not be a voice for the voiceless,” Hasselbeck said.
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“Years later – Thank you for calling Roger Ailes for me when it was out of your hands when ABC did not renew my contract. Thank you for always reaching out on my behalf,” she went on. “Today we celebrate you, and the near century of stories that were told and shared because of your listening ear and heart.”
“You are one of a kind. #SistersKeeper – may this day be one of celebrating the day YOU were born: God’s creation with an purposeful heart 💕happy birthday 🎂,” Hasselbeck finished.
In May 2014, Walters retired from the show after 16 seasons but still serves as executive producer.
Shortly after stepping down from co-hosting, Walters told PEOPLE, “[I’m] not exactly slowing down … I’m working relatively little. I sleep until 9 o’clock some days! I go out to lunch with friends. I travel. When I was on The View I was working every day, so this is a very mild schedule for me.”
It was a well-deserved change of pace for the legendary journalist, who first gained national fame as a correspondent on the Today show in 1962.
“I’m so fortunate to have been doing this for so many years,” Walters said. “I would’ve had to be out of my mind to think that would happen.”
And though she wouldn’t be on viewers’ screens every day, the journalist made it clear at the time that she will return to The View as a guest or host whenever she gets the itch.
“They can’t turn me down,” she said with a laugh. “They have to have me on.”
The View, which is currently in its 22nd season, airs weekdays at 11 a.m. ET on ABC.