Rosie O’Donnell explains why she did not participate in The View’s tribute to Barbara Walters. The comedian and talk show host explained her decision to a fan who said they were keeping an eye out for her on the special tribute to the pioneering journalist, who died last Friday evening at the age of 93.
“I looked on you on BW tribute today,” the fan wrote on O’Donnell’s TikTok, the comment popping up in a bubble on the screen. “Yeah, they invited me, but I wasn’t able to make it,” O’Donnell, 60, responded in a subdued tone, sharing it on her Instagram.
“You know, I didn’t want to be in a big group of people — I was worried that I would get upset and um, didn’t want to do that, so, there you go,” she said, wearing a black and white sweater with ghost illustrations and matching black and metal-rimmed glasses.
Weighing in on the exchange, pal Debi Mazar said that “Mourning is personal & PRIVATE A display for PR purposes is kind of vulgar, in my opinion.” “Barbara ADORED you,” she added. “Remember when she came backstage after your wonderful performance in The Vagina Monologues? She came just for you.❤️”
Another fan concurred: “I’m glad you were invited…I think your post was a beautiful loving tribute to Barbara. No obligation for you to be there, we all can only do what we are able to do.”
Original panelists Joy Behar, Meredith Vieira, Star Jones, and Debbie Matenopoulos returned on Tuesday to share their recollections with alums Lisa Ling, Sherri Shepherd, and Elisabeth Hasselbeck, as well as current co-hosts Whoopi Goldberg, Sunny Hostin, Sara Haines, and Alyssa Farah Griffin.
Each mentioned Walters and her legacy as a trailblazer, as well as the opportunities she opened for them. Following the death of the renowned broadcaster, O’Donnell paid tribute to Walters on Instagram, saying she was “very sad” to hear the news.
“What a long and eventful legendary life she had,” the mom-of-five continued, remembering the newscaster’s longevity. “Spoke to every prominent world leader in memory, interviewed everyone who’s anyone, and I was lucky enough to be in her orbit for a good many years.”
Reflecting on the time they spent together, O’Donnell added, “We saw a lot of Broadway shows together, and whenever we go backstage, I’d, like, try to help her, you know, over the steps backstage and she would always smack my hand and tell me to leave her alone. She [knew] what she was doing I could tell you that.”
“May she rest in peace and may everyone remember just what barriers she broke down for women,” concluded O’Donnell. “She really did, she was the first, and will always be remembered.”
Walters’ death was confirmed on Friday by her rep Cindi Berger who told PEOPLE: “Barbara Walters passed away peacefully in her home surrounded by loved ones. She lived a big life.” “She lived her life with no regrets,” Berger’s statement continued. “She was a trailblazer not only for female journalists but for all women.”