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Barbara Walters, 83, Announces She Will Retire Next Summer

TV Icon Has Been On Air Since 1961
Barbara Walters attends Barneys New York And Disney Electric Holiday Window Unveiling, November 14, 2012 (credit: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Barneys New York)

Barbara Walters attends Barneys New York And Disney Electric Holiday Window Unveiling, November 14, 2012 (credit: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Barneys New York)

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NEW YORK (WCBS 880/AP) – Television icon Barbara Walters has announced her plans to retire.

The 83-year-old wiped tears away as she made her plans official.

“Take a breath, I have been on TV continuously for over 50 years, ugh!” Walters said on ABC’s “The View,” the morning chat show she launched in 1997.

A taped piece ran on the show summarizing her career that began in 1961.

“In the summer of 2014, a year from now, I plan to retire from appearing on television at all,” Walters said. “I’m perfectly healthy, this is my decision, I’ve been thinking about it for a long time.”

Walters said she wanted to leave while people are still saying “why is she leaving?” instead of “why doesn’t she leave?”’

Walters said it’s time to think about the next phase of her life.

“I don’t want to appear on another program, I don’t want to climb another mountain,” she said.

Her friend Mayor Michael Bloomberg was her guest on Monday’s “The View.”

“You asked the tough questions but in a nice way that not only got real answers so the public was informed but also didn’t make enemies. You were never nasty about it,” Bloomberg told Walters.

A host of top ABC and Disney executives also visited “The View” for Walters’ announcement.

Walters has interviewed everyone from Fidel Castro to Monica Lewinsky and each U.S. president and first lady since the Nixons.

The 83-year-old Walters has spent 37 years at ABC News, joining the network in 1976 to become the first female co-anchor on an evening news program. Three years later, she became a co-host of ABC’s “20/20” newsmagazine.

Before coming to ABC, she spent 15 years at NBC News, where she was a co-host of the “Today” show.

“I am very happy with my decision,” Walters said, “and look forward to a wonderful and special year ahead.

ABC News President Ben Sherwood said “there is only one Barbara Walters. We look forward to making her final year on television as remarkable, path-breaking and news-making as Barbara herself.

“We look forward to a year befitting her brilliant career,” he said, “filled with exclusive interviews, great adventures and indelible memories.”

Walters announced she will remain executive co-producer of “The View” after she retires from TV.

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(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)