‘The View’ Remembers Barbara Walters: Original Co-Hosts Meredith Vieira, Star Jones, Debbie Matenopoulos, Joy Behar Reunite For Tribute

The View‘s original co-hosts Meredith Vieira, Star Jones, Debbie Matenopoulos and Joy Behar were among those paying tribute today to the late TV groundbreaker and icon, as the show’s current panel was joined, either live or by remote, by a succession of former panelists.

“She is the reason we’re all sitting here today,” said current moderator Whoopi Goldberg at the top of today’s episode, adding that the pioneering Walters was respected by the TV industry in part because “she did not allow them to not respect her.”

“We knew her better than anyone I think,” said Behar, the sole original co-host who remains with the ABC show. “She was the original role model for everybody else”

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Along with the expected accolades for Walters as a TV icon, the View creator was affectionately remembered as an unrivaled behind-the-scenes teller of tales, lover of dirty jokes and holiday-time “re-gifter.”

“She could tell you everything about anybody in the room,” said Jones, calling in from the Bahamas. “She was the best gossiper, she knew how to tell tales…If you wanted to know the tea, Barbara Walters had it.”

“She loved dirty jokes, and she loved to re-gift,” joked Behar, noting that “at Christmas she would shop in her closet.”

Matenopoulos, who was the original line-up’s representative of the younger generation, said Walters taught her the business. “I was a 22-year-old journalism student at NYU,” Matenopoulos said via satellite. Likening herself to Eliza Doolittle, the former co-host said Walters’ instructions were essential for the newcomer, including at social functions. “Baby, you’re going to wear these shoes,” Matenopoulos said, using Walters’ nickname for her, “and this is what you’re going to say and what you’re not going to say.”

Vieira, the show’s original moderator, was ill today so couldn’t be in the studio, but phoned in to pay her respects and to remember a side of Walters that outsiders might not have known: She recalled how much Walters enjoyed the show’s Halloween episodes, when she could don costumes that allowed her to “let loose” from playing the “Barbara Walters” role she played every day. Vieira specifically noted the Halloween episode in which Walters dressed in a sexy get-up as Marilyn Monroe.

Watch clips from today’s episode below.

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