Oprah Winfrey helps Barbara Walters say farewell

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By FRAZIER MOORE

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Barbara Walters through the years
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Oprah Winfrey helps Barbara Walters say farewell
THE VIEW - The View has been celebrating Barbara Walters' unparalleled career all season with The Year of Barbara, a look back at many of her most notable interviews, originally featured on ABCs 20/20.' On WEDNESDAY, MARCH 26 (11:00 a.m.-12:00 noon, ET), attorney Sunny Hostin is the featured guest co-host and joins Whoopi Goldberg, Sherri Shepherd, Jenny McCarthy and Walters for the hour. 'The View' airs Monday-Friday (11:00 am-12:00 pm, ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Lou Rocco/ABC via Getty Images)
THE VIEW - Broadcasting legend Barbara Walters says goodbye to daily television with her final co-host appearance on THE VIEW, airing FRIDAY, MAY 16 (11am-12noon, ET) on the ABC Television Network. A surprise appearance from Oprah Winfrey leads to one historic, monumental television event when Winfrey does a landmark roll call of introducing 25 incredible female journalists who were influenced by Barbara Walters. (Photo by Ida Mae Astute/ABC via Getty Images)
THE VIEW - 5/15/14 - For the first time in television history, all 11 co-hosts of ABC's 'The View,' present and past, shared the same stage, live, THURSDAY, MAY 15 on ABC to celebrate the shows creator Barbara Walters. Walters is the last remaining co-host of the original panel of five women she helped assemble. 'The View' airs Monday-Friday (11:00 a.m.- 12 noon, ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Lou Rocco/ABC via Getty Images)
THE VIEW - Barbara Walters says farewell to live daily television with her final co-host appearance on The View, the daytime program she created for ABC airing Friday, May 16, 2014. 'The View' airs Monday-Friday (11:00 a.m.- 12 noon, ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Lou Rocco/ABC via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 14: Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company Bob Iger, journalist/tv personality Barbara Walters and former Mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg attend A Celebration of Barbara Walters Cocktail Reception Red Carpet at the Four Seasons Restaurant on May 14, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 14: Journalist/tv personality Barbara Walters attends A Celebration of Barbara Walters Cocktail Reception Red Carpet at the Four Seasons Restaurant on May 14, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 12: Barbara Walters and Diane Sawyer attend the 'Barbara Walters Building' ABC News Headquarters Dedication Ceremony on May 12, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 12: (L-R) James Goldston, President ABC News; Bob Iger, chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company; Anne Sweeney, Co-chair, Disney Media Networks and President, Disney/ABC Television Group; ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer; Barbara Walters; ABC News anchor David Muir, ABC 'Good Morning America' anchor Robin Roberts and ABC 'Good Morning America' anchor George Stephanopoulos attend the dedication ceremony as ABC News headquarters in New York is proclaimed 'The Barbara Walters Building' ABC News Headquarters Dedication Ceremony on May 12, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 10: Media personality Barbara Walters attends The Guild Hall of East Hampton: Academy Of The Arts Lifetime Achievement Awards at Sotheby's on March 10, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 30: Barbara Walters attends the 'A Long Way Down' New York Premiere at City Cinemas 123 on June 30, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/WireImage)
THE VIEW - Legendary broadcaster Barbara Walters will make her first ever guest appearance on 'The View,' the daytime program she created for ABC, on Friday, June 27, 2014. 'The View' airs Monday-Friday (11:00 am-12:00 pm, ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Lou Rocco/ABC via Getty Images)
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NEW YORK (AP) -- Oprah Winfrey and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton surprised Barbara Walters on Thursday as the legendary newswoman taped her final edition of "The View" to end a five-decade career on television.

Actor Michael Douglas, a longtime friend and frequent subject for Walters' interviews, also dropped by for the tribute, which airs Friday on ABC at 11 a.m. EDT.

Looking smart in a cream-colored blazer and a black skirt, the 84-year-old Walters was presiding over a studio audience of friends, colleagues and fans on hand to witness a bit of history.

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.

"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."

Typically, Walters couldn't let Clinton get away without fielding the question on so many minds: Is she running for president in 2016?

"I am running," smiled Clinton. "Around the park."

A bit later, Douglas brought the subject up again with Walters.

"If Hillary runs," he said, "I bet you'd be a great vice president."

Some of the best moments happened during commercial breaks, never to be seen by viewers. Then audience members could snap photos and interact with Walters and her co-panelists (Whoopi Goldberg, Sherri Shepherd and Jenny McCarthy). At one point Walters, spying the New York Knicks' J.R. Smith in the stands, broke up the room by telling him that, now, with retirement, "I just want you to know I'm buying the Clippers."

The audience erupted at the sight of Winfrey, who told Walters, "You're the reason I wanted to be in television."

"You shattered the glass ceiling for so many women," said Winfrey, who then brought on a startling parade of them, some two dozen prominent on-air women including Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric, Robin Roberts, Gayle King, Connie Chung and Joan Lunden.

"You are my legacy," Walters, visibly moved, said to them as they crowded around her onstage.

The hour had its comic twist: In a pre-taped segment, Walters (who, after all, has interviewed everybody else) lobbed some questions at herself, in the person of former "Saturday Night Live" player Cheri Oteri doing a spot-on Walters imitation.

Barbara asked faux-Barbara what she plans to do in retirement, drawing the response that she means to do some things she never had time for in the past. For example: "I'd like to get a Costco card."

Walters brought the hour to a close with a heartfelt statement looking back with amazement on her career, then signing off with a pledge to "take a deep breath and enjoy my `View.'"

But a more telling moment took place during a break, as the throng of women she had paved the way for posed with her for a group portrait. It was a remarkable tableau.

"I have to remember this on the bad days," Walters said quietly, "because this is the best."

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