NEW YORK — Barbara Walters said today that retirement from her epochal television career is near, but it’s not happening right away.
Walters, who began in television news as a “Today” girl in 1961, became the medium’s best-known interviewer and invented a daytime talk show at an age many people would be going fishing, said on “The View” that she will step away from the camera next summer.
Before that, her retirement tour will include TV specials looking back at her work.
The announcement brought the 83-year-old Walters to tears. While not necessarily a surprise — reports about the plan leaked out about a month ago and it was confirmed by ABC on Sunday night — the discussion was alternately saucy and emotional.
“In the summer of 2014 I plan to retire from appearing on television at all,” Walters said.
She preceded her announcement with a taped piece outlining career highlights, from her appearance in a Playboy bunny outfit on “Today” to her interview with Syrian President Bashar Assad last year. She mentioned her pride in rising to “Today” co-host and becoming the first woman on a network evening news program, co-anchoring with Harry Reasoner on ABC. Her interviews became her calling card, sitting across from actors and presidents. Her prime-time talk with Monica Lewinsky set a ratings standard.
When she started “The View” with executive producer Bill Geddies 17 years ago, Walters said she thought it would last a year or two.
She’s been through some health problems this year, being hospitalized after a fall taken while leaving a pre-inaugural party in Washington and developing chickenpox. She didn’t cite that as a reason for leaving, saying she is in perfect health and isn’t being pushed out.
“I want to leave while people are still saying, ‘why is she leaving?’ instead of ‘why doesn’t she leave?” Walters said.
Joy Behar, her last remaining original co-host on “The View,” took issue with Walters saying in her taped intro that she wasn’t as beautiful as other women on television. Men on TV don’t talk about how handsome they are, she said.
Walters noted that she’d been asked whether she had “slept her way to the top.”
“I wish I had, because I would have made it much faster,” she said.
OJ returns to Las Vegas court in bid for new trial
LAS VEGAS — The shackles and blue prison garb seemed to weigh down O.J. Simpson as he returned to a Las Vegas courtroom today to ask for a new trial in the armed robbery-kidnapping case that sent him to prison in 2008.
Looking grayer and heavier, the 65-year-old former football star and TV pitchman was flanked by guards as he nodded and raised his eyebrows to acknowledge people he recognized in the audience.
A marshal had warned onlookers not to try to communicate with Simpson, and no words were exchanged.
Still, a close friend saw a flash of the old, magnetic Simpson personality.
“Not much muscle tone,” observed Sherman White, a former NFL defensive lineman, teammate and friend of Simpson since they both played for the Buffalo Bills. “But you saw a little of the O.J. pizazz when he came in.”
Simpson later conferred with his lawyers and listened intently to testimony from his daughter Arnelle Simpson and other witnesses.
Now more than four years into a minimum nine-year prison term, Simpson will be in court all week to claim that he had poor legal representation in the trial involving the gunpoint robbery of two sports memorabilia dealers in 2007 in a Las Vegas hotel room.
Simpson’s drab appearance contrasted with the fancy clothing he wore during his acquittal in his historic, high-profile 1995 murder trial in Los Angeles. The suit he wore then is now part of the Newseum collection in Washington, D.C.
Simpson hopes a new set of lawyers can persuade a judge that lawyer Yale Galanter, who represented him in the robbery case, had conflicted interests.
In a sworn statemtn, Simpson said Galanter knew about his plan to retrieve what he thought were personal mementoes from the memorabilia dealers.
in a casino hotel room.
Simpson also said Galanter never told him a plea deal was on the table.
Galanter was paid nearly $700,000 for Simpson’s defense but had a personal interest in preventing himself from being identified as a witness to the crimes and misled Simpson so much that the former football star deserves a new trial, lawyers for Simpson claim.
Galanter, who is scheduled to testify Friday, has declined comment before his court appearance.
“To me, the claims are solid. I don’t know how the court can’t grant relief,” said Patricia Palm, the Simpson appeals lawyer who produced a 94-page petition dissecting Galanter’s promises, payments and performance in the trial that ended with a jury finding Simpson and a co-defendant guilty of 12 felonies.
Of the 22 allegations of conflict-of-interest and ineffective counsel that Palm raised, Clark County District Court Judge Linda Marie Bell has agreed to hear 19.
It was not clear whether Bell would rule immediately after the hearing.
Simpson maintains his plan was to take back what he expected would be family photos and personal belongings stolen from him after his 1995 “trial of the century” acquittal in the slaying of his wife and her friend in Los Angeles.
Simpson was later found liable for damages in a civil wrongful death lawsuit and ordered to pay $33.5 million to the families of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman.
In the Las Vegas case, Galanter blessed the plan involving family photos and personal belongings as within the law, as long as no one trespassed and no force was used, Simpson said.
The first witness on Monday was Dr. Norman Roitman, a Las Vegas psychiatrist who testified that Simpson’s perception of what took place in the Palace Station hotel room might have been hampered by the effects of stress, lack of sleep and several vodka and cranberry juice cocktails Simpson consumed before the confrontation.
“In those situations, people may focus on objects in front of them and be oblivious to other things,” Roitman said.
Simpson is expected to testify that to this day, he doesn’t know there were guns in the room. He has testified just once in open court before — during the wrongful death lawsuit.
During the robbery trial, Simpson contends, Galanter “vigorously discouraged” him not to testify, and never told him that prosecutors were willing to let him plead guilty to charges that would have gotten him a minimum of two years in prison.
“He consistently told me the state could not prove its case because I acted within my rights in retaking my own property,” Simpson said in the sworn statement.