SARASOTA, Fla. -- It has been a week full of celebration as the ABC network honored Barbara Walters. Today the venerable TV news personality retires after a long, legendary career that changed the face of broadcasting.
A trailblazer and pioneer, Walters paved the way for women in broadcasting when she became the first female to co-anchor a network news program.
Some of Barbara's most-loyal viewers gathered around the TV Friday to watch her last appearance on The View, a show that has become a cultural icon since Walters started it 18 years ago. Walters was always a woman known for asking the big questions, and the Suncoast seniors we talked to reflected on the impact she's had -- many of them faithfully viewers who have watched Walters since the beginning of her career.
"It was a man's world and she, a pioneer, she led the way," Life Care resident Lee Etta Bray.
"She led women in the right to be on television," says Life Care Center visitor Charlene Latorre. “I'm sitting in my living room, saying 'ask him this, ask him that' and sure enough, she does," she says.
"She got the news,” says Life Care Center resident Jean Basehore. “You knew that she knew what she was doing."
"I think she's been a fine example of the whole industry," ays Life Care resident Alice Comes.
The start of her co-anchoring career wasn't an easy one. Walters faced rejection from the start, but she pushed through and never gave up. After more than five decades of groundbreaking interviews, Walters’ stamina was properly honored by ABC News, which earlier this week officially named its headquarters after her.
"There was this plaque with my name -- what a wonderful honor," Walters said.
Barbara will now move on to the next chapter of her life, but she will still serve as the executive producer of The View.
"I look forward to not having a schedule,” Walters says. “I look forward to traveling. It's a whole new chapter in my life and I hope it will be a wonderful one."
And the final taping of The View was the perfect send off, as the most prominent women in broadcasting came out to honor the woman who opened the door for them.
"I didn't realize that there were so many,” Lee Etta Bray says. “There are a lot of smart girls in the media."