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Barbara Walters Announces Her Last Day on The View—Find Out When She'll Officially Retire!

The View Cast, Whoopi Goldberg, Jenny McCarthy, Sherri Shepherd, Barbara Walters Donna Svennevik/ABC

Barbara Walters' retirement is imminent.

Her last day co-hosting The View will be May 16, ABC announced Monday. To celebrate Walters' long list of achievements, the network will air a two-hour special highlighting her life and career that night.

Walters, who co-created created the morning talk show with Bill Geddie in August 1997, will continue to executive produce The View. The 84-year-old will continue to contribute to ABC News on occasion.

"In this business there are legends, there are icons, and then there is Barbara Walters," Robert A. Iger, chairman and chief executive of The Walt Disney Company tells E! News in a statement. "She's a dear friend and colleague as well as someone I deeply admire, and it's impossible to fully convey her impact and influence on television. 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."

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To further honor Walters' legacy, ABC News' New York City headquarters will be named in her honor during a dedication ceremony that will take place this spring; the specific date is TBD. Prior to her on-camera departure from The View, the show will toast Walters' career with a week-long celebration.

Walters' national broadcast career began in 1961 as a reporter, writer and panel member on NBC's Today. She was promoted to co-host in 1974, and two years later, she left for another job with ABC.

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The esteemed journalist announced her retirement plans in May 2013. "I do not want to appear on another program or climb another mountain," Walters explained. "I want instead to sit on a sunny field and admire the very gifted women—and OK, some men, too—who will be taking my place."

After Walters' exit next month, The View is expected to continue with current co-hosts Whoopi Goldberg, Jenny McCarthy and Sherri Shepherd. Prior co-hosts include Joy Behar, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Star Jones, Lisa Ling, Debbie Matenopoulos, Rosie O'Donnell and Meredith Vieira.

 

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Walters further addressed the announcement during Monday's episode of The View.

"Many of you have put up with me since your childhood and you're not free of me yet because I'm not leaving television entirely," Walters promised viewers. "I will continue as my role of executive producer of The View so I can keep my eye on all of you. And it also means that I can continue to watch Bill Geddie, who's worked for me for over 25 years, get older and older...as I get blonder...I am the coziest and I have the best time here at this program that I created 17 years ago. Can you believe it?"

Turning to Shepherd and McCarthy, Walters told her colleagues, "I don't want to get too weepy—I'm happy you're here. I love being on with the two of you and I cannot tell you how much emotion and love I have for Whoopi, and admiration."

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Barbara Walters, The View Lou Rocco/ABC

Walters has 30 shows to go if she appears in every episode slated through May 16. "It makes me sad...Whoopi and I have talked about this. It feels right for me, I love this show I love what we've done, and it will continue without me. When I say I feel sad, I love these moments, but I also know that it's time," she said. "I don't want people to say, 'Is she still here?' I want them to say, 'Hey, wasn't it fun!'"

McCarthy, who was frequent guest on the program before she became a co-host, told Walters, "I want to say thank you for all of these years and this opportunity because I can't imagine having been on The View without sitting across from you." Walters then cracked a joke, saying, "I'm not gone yet!"

Shepherd thanked Walters for breaking barriers. "[Other shows] never had multi-panel co-hosts sitting around. The fact that you have two black women on the show—you never see two black women co-hosting. You have created something that people have taken through the years," she told the TV legend. "How does it feel to know that this is what you've created? This is all you."

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Before Goldberg kicked off the daily Hot Topics segment, she gave Walters a standing ovation.

"We really have such affection for each other," the outgoing co-host said. "It's easy for women to say that women never get along," Goldberg said. "If we hated each other you would know it." McCarthy agreed and added, "We do disagree. By the time we get backstage, everyone loves each other."

(Originally published on Mon., Apr. 7, 2014, at 6:05 a.m. PDT).

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