Joy Behar paid tribute to Barbara Walters after her death at the age of 93. The comedian, who has been a co-host of The View — which was created by Barbara — since 1997 appeared on ABC to remember the television legend. “She became a mentor. She’s very much the role model for a lot of people in showbiz and the news world for sure…she had a work ethic you couldn’t deny,” Joy shared as she reflected on Barbara’s life and their relationship during a phone interview on Dec. 31.
“She was always prepared and she was always working on her material. She didn’t go out there and didn’t know what she was doing. That was an important thing to learn,” the 80-year-old recalled, also sharing that Barbara had an unexpected sense of humor. “She could have a laugh, have fun, tell a dirty joke. She was a lot of fun!…We’ve had a lot of laughs on camera and off camera,” she also said during the interview.
“Certainly, [she’s] meant a lot to me to my work life and career — she came to see me do stand up at a benefit and that’s how she got to know me….she understood that humor,” Joy said of their initial meeting in the late ’90s. “She said, ‘who is that woman?’ And that was the beginning of her deciding to call me and put me on the air,” adding, “I’ll miss her.”
Joy and Barbara had a longstanding working relationship dating back to the early days of The View. While Joy was not part of the original full-time cast and initially a fill-in host — she was quickly added to the group as a regular host during the first season.
The show was described by Barbara at launch as “a talk show featuring four or five women ‘of different backgrounds, different generations, and different opinions,’ who would discuss the topics of the day, mixing humor with intelligent debate” during the initial “Hot Topics” segment, followed by guest interviews in the entertainment and political spaces.
Joy has been a fixture on The View since 1997, leaving for just two years from 2013 after she was fired. “Somebody wanted me gone,” said back in 2017 to PEOPLE. “It was not 100 percent my choice. When they told me they weren’t renewing, I said, ‘Good, I’m out of here.’ I didn’t like the way the show was going at that time,” she said of the two year break, where she still appeared as guest host. Despite saying she was “glad to be fired” to TIME magazine, she ultimately returned full-time in 2015, and is currently still a host on the series.
Before being actually fired, it turns out Joy was nearly on the chopping block thanks to Barbara herself back in 2006 for accidentally revealing that Rosie O’Donnell was joining the cast. Joy recalled the the scenario on Hulu’s Behind the Table: A View Reunion. “[EW called and] said, ‘Oh, and Rosie O’Donnell’s coming on the show. And guess who told them?’” Joy said, recalling Barbara’s conversation with her. After Joy guessed it was perhaps Meredith Vieira who spilled the beans, Barbara then replied, “‘No, you! Joy Behar did that. And I want you to know that I’m not renewing your contract.” Notably, Joy remained on the series at hte time,
Barbara retired from the show in 2014, and was given a legendary send off by her co-hosts — including Joy — as well as many other women she inspired in television.
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