I wandered through the drizzle, down to an ABC studio to watch Barbara Walters’ final live broadcast on The View. The show was boisterous, funny and moving. All the former co-hosts were there. They had not changed one bit. What became apparent very quickly was just how much that octogenarian (her age is a moving target) accomplished in her long career. Walters was a pioneer, doing interviews only men used to do and cracking broadcasting’s glass ceiling, presumably with her bare hands.
Meredith and Barbara were a team. They were usually serious, frequently funny. Meredith loved having our kids drop in for goofy, guest appearances. I think that is one reason each is so self-assured. The View was a family hangout. I hung back for years, resisting producer telephone calls to appear on the show. I would not go on for what I deemed no particular reason, except to be Meredith’s husband. “Why are you here?” I’m Meredith’s husband.
My attitude changed when I had a book to sell. No fool, I. Barbara was very close to opera great, Beverly Sills. Beverly’s daughter has MS, and I knew Beverly from MS Society events. She wrote a blurb on the back cover of Blindsided. Barbara then read the book and did a 20/20 program on it. Barbara became interested in MS, and hosted some events. She messengered the book to Don Imus, simply suggesting he read it. She was very generous to me.
Barbara Walters is a force to be reckoned with. I do not think we have seen the last of her. Beverly Sils is gone now. Meredith and I are out of sight and presumably out of mind now. We have to come up with a way to lure Barbara back into the MS tent.