Barbara Walters Calls Richard Nixon ‘Sexiest’ President, Explains Why She Stepped Down From ‘The View’

TV legend also has some advice for her former co-hosts Whoopi Goldberg and Rosie O'Donnell

December 10, 2014

TV News icon Barbara Walters and Howard may appear, at first glance, to be unlikely friends, but they are both great interviewers, both legends in their fields, and they actually love each other a lot.

Barbara has been on the show a few times – and attended the Birthday Bash in January – but the woman has endless fascinating stories about her ground-breaking life and career, so everybody was excited to hear from her again this morning.

Here are some of the best anecdotes from the life and work of the face of TV – Barbara Walters:

There was interest in making a movie about Barbara’s life, but she put the kibosh on it. She couldn’t bear the thought of having an actress portray her beloved mentally-disabled sister Jackie. Jackie has always meant a lot to Barbara and remains the single biggest impact in her life. “She was what we would call slightly retarded – it was just enough to ruin her life. Just enough to keep her from marriage and holding a job,” Barbara told Howard.


Barbara interviewed President Nixon in the 1970s and called him the sexiest president she’s met. Howard asked if Nixon could’ve “gotten” Barbara if he wanted her and Barbara reasoned that she was so ambitious that he probably could’ve if he promised not to do any other interviews.

Barbara was upset by Gilda Radner’s legendary “Baba Wawa” impersonation on “Saturday Night Live” – that is, until her daughter was watching it one night and told her to get a sense of humor. Still, she does not want you calling her that if you ever meet her.

Her first interview with Christopher Reeve after his devastating accident was one for the books, too – he was certain he’d walk again. Barbara asked what would happen if he couldn’t. “Then I won’t,” she remembered him responding.

She recently retired from the show she created – “The View” – after 17 years. Does she have second thoughts about her decision? Barbara admitted to Howard she sometimes regrets leaving entirely, but she doesn’t regret her decision to not do each and every episode.

She also gently chided her former co-hosts (and current “View” panelists) Whoopi Goldberg and Rosie O’Donnell for dressing so causally on TV.

Barbara said this was her final installment of the “10 Most Fascinating People” – so future fascinating people are out of luck. For her final year, she chose people like Oprah, David Koch, Elon Musk, Neil Patrick Harris, Taylor Swift, Scarlett Johansson, Chelsea Handler, and Michael Strahan. As you may notice, there are only eight names there – because the top two are top secret. Will Howard be number one? No, according to Barbara.