Barbara Walters' last day on 'The View'

ABC News will air a special 2-hour tribute, "Barbara Walters: Her Story" tonight at 9:00.

Saturday, May 17, 2014
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Behind the scenes of Barbara Walters' last day on The View.
WABC Photo/ Sandy Kenyon

NEW YORK -- The view that Barbara Walters enjoyed on her final day was unprecedented and during the final taping of The View her legacy has never been more apparent.

Walters told me that she became teary-eyed when more than two dozen women whom she had inspired came to say goodbye.

"When I saw all the women, I mean there was a whole line-up of them," she said.

The 25 female broadcast journalists from every major news network, all of whom she influenced - Diane Sawyer, Robin Roberts and Joan Lunden, were to be her legacy, she said.

Two of the most famous women in the world came to bid Barbara farewell: Hillary Clinton and Oprah Winfrey.

"I can't believe this day has come, and I can't believe it's for real," Clinton told Walters, who began her career on NBC's "Today" in 1962, then came to ABC in 1976, where her many duties ranged from co-anchoring "20/20" to hosting scores of specials as well as "The View."

Her final appearance on the show she helped to create wasn't all serious and sentimental.

"I wanted to do a show with women of different views," Walters said. "Well, at the time little did I know that I'd be surrounded by four hackling hens all speaking over each

other and I couldn't get a word in edgewise."

Although she will retain a behind-the-scenes role as executive producer of the talk show she created 17 years ago, she is ending her daily on-air involvement, while limiting ABC News appearances to the occasional story or interview.

She has interviewed many of the world's biggest stars, and one of her favorites came calling on the final show.

"The thing is Barbara, you're an extraordinary person inside and out," actor Michael Douglas said.

In the final minutes, Walters wondered out loud, "why walk away from all this?"

When we talked afterwards she had a simple explanation.

"I wanted to walk away while I was still accomplishing things, still doing interviews," she said. I didn't want to walk away because someone was nipping at my heels and saying, 'why Don't you go? I like it better this way."