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Biographies of The View Original Hosts

Biographies of The View's Barbara Walters, Joy Behar, Meredith Vieira, Star Jones, Debbie Matenopoulos, Lucy Lui and Lisa Ling


Joy Behar

Joy Behar Whether performing standup comedy or interviewing politicians and artists, she is a comedic original and a leading woman on stage and screen.
Armed with an M.A. in English education from S.U.N.Y. at Stony Brook, Ms. Behar originally began a career in teaching. She then set out to pursue comedy professionally, and immediately received bookings from famous New York clubs, such as Caroline's and Catch a Rising Star. Ms. Behar went on to win three MAC awards and a CableACE Award. On television, she starred in her own HBO special and was a regular on the series, Baby Boom. Other appearances include the voice of a hilariously neurotic patient on Dr. Katz, which won the CableACE Award. She has been a frequent member of the panel of the critically acclaimed Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher and has also appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Hollywood Squares, Larry King Live, ABC's Spin City, The Rosie O'Donnell Show, The Late Show With David Letterman, the celebrity edition of ABC's Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Live With Regis, Charlie Rose and Bette.

She hosted a popular call-in radio show on WABC for three years, where she discussed politics with a deadly humorous bent. She has also appeared in such films as Cookie with Peter Falk, This Is My Life directed by Nora Ephron and Woody Allen's Manhattan Murder Mystery. In theater, Ms. Behar had a successful run in the off-Broadway hit, The Food Chain, where she earned rave reviews in the starring role; and a successful run in the critically-acclaimed play The Vagina Monologues. Ms. Behar is a frequent comedy headliner and most recently appeared in "The Marshall's Women In Comedy Festival" at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall. In January, 2001 Ms. Behar was chosen by TV Guide as a "Personality of the Year" nominee for the 3rd annual TV Guide Awards. In May, 2001 Ms. Behar and her fellow co-hosts were awarded the Safe Horizon Champion Award for their continued efforts of raising awareness of issues of importance to girls and women and for serving as confident, compassionate role models dedicated to excellence of the battle against violence and victimization. She is also the recipient of the Gracie Allen Tribute Award from the Foundation of American Women in Radio and Television (2000) and the New York City Public Advocate's Special Advocate Award for her outstanding friendship to the Gay community (2000). Her first book, titled Joy Shtick: or What Is the Existential Vacuum and Does It Come with Attachments?, was published by Hyperion and is available in paperback. Ms. Behar is heavily involved with numerous philanthropic organizations and is a frequent contributor to several charitable foundations.

Star Jones

Star JonesA lawyer and former prosecutor, is known to television viewers for her candor, confidence and uncanny ability to clarify muddy legal and social issues. Her knowledge of the law and talent for television has won her critical acclaim as a news and legal correspondent. Ms. Jones is currently a co-host of The View, along with Meredith Vieira, Joy Behar, Lisa Ling and executive producer Barbara Walters. The View is the original forum where real women discuss relevant, everyday issues and share their daily, no-holds-barred opinions and lively, colorful conversations. The program premiered in August 1997 and is broadcast live from New York City. It consists of hot topics in the news, the best experts in their field, celebrity interviews and general entertainment. The View is the strongest performer among total women 18+ in ABC's 11:00 a.m.-12:00 noon, ET time period in 10 years. Among women 18-49, The View is the strongest performer in ABC's 11:00 a.m.-12:00 noon, ET time period in eight years.
Ms. Jones debuted on television in 1991 when she started moonlighting as a studio commentator for Court TV during the William Kennedy Smith rape trial. Ms. Jones was quickly lined up as a guest on the Today show; and a few months later she became the NBC legal correspondent for Today and Nightly News, covering the latest developments in the Mike Tyson rape case and the Rodney King police brutality trial. She landed an exclusive interview with Tyson after the imprisoned ex-heavyweight champion had dodged the press for a year and an exclusive interview with King after the sentencing of the two Los Angeles cops convicted of violating his civil rights. That success led to her own syndicated show, Jones & Jury.

In 1995, Ms. Jones was named a senior correspondent and chief legal analyst for Inside Edition and assigned the O.J. Simpson criminal and civil trials. During the civil trial, Ms. Jones was the only news correspondent to obtain an exclusive interview with Mr. Simpson.Born in Badin, North Carolina, and raised both there and in Trenton, New Jersey, Jones earned a B.A. at American University, got her law degree at the University of Houston, passed the New York Bar, and went straight to the Brooklyn District Attorney's office.After three years in general trials, Ms. Jones moved to the Homicide Bureau, where her work earned her a promotion to Senior Assistant District Attorney in 1991. She was one of the attorneys D.A. Joe Hynes personally selected to prosecute high-profile and community-sensitive cases. Ms. Jones gained attention in court with a number of highly publicized victories. In one case, she obtained the maximum sentence for a 13-year-old boy tried as an adult in the murder of another teenager.

In another case, she won a 66-year prison term for a serial sex abuser known as the "Bicycle Rapist", after other lawyers had failed to get convictions in four other cases.With the 1997 launch of The View, Ms. Jones expanded her point of view to include commentary on the law, self-esteem, race, family, education, religion, the media, and other social issues relating to the community at large. The View has earned Emmy nominations each year for Outstanding Daytime Talk Show and for Ms. Jones and her co-hosts as Outstanding Talk Show Host. Some of her television appearances include The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Live with Regis, Later, Celebrity Jeopardy, Charlie Rose, Larry King Live, Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher, Hollywood Squares, ABC's Spin City, the ABC Daytime drama, Port Charles, Bette, Welcome to New York and Strong Medicine. September 1998 marked the publication of Ms. Jones' first book, You Have to Stand for Something, or You'll Fall for Anything (Bantam), which received widespread critical acclaim and became a best-seller. In 1999, Ms. Jones became the spokesperson for "Salon Z" of Saks Fifth Avenue. In 2001 Ms. Jones and her fellow co-hosts were awarded the Safe Horizon Champion Award for their continued efforts of raising awareness of issues of importance to girls and women and for serving as confident, compassionate role models dedicated to excellence of the battle against violence and victimization. Ms. Jones is heavily involved with numerous philanthropic organizations, is a frequent contributor to several charitable foundations and serves on the Board of Directors of the East Harlem School at Exodus House and God's Love We Deliver. In 2000, Ms. Jones joined the efforts of "Girls, Inc." for a national self-image building campaign aimed at young women and was also elected to the National Board of Directors. 

Meredith Viera

Meredith Viera Ms. Vieira hosted The Beatles Revolution in November 2000. The two-hour ABC special -- part musical celebration, part documentary -- examined how much of the world in the year 2000 was inspired by ideas the Beatles popularized during the six years they commanded the world's attention and the 30 years that followed.In September 1999, Ms. Vieira was named the official host of Lifetime Television's critically acclaimed series, Intimate Portrait. In May, 2001 Ms. Vieira and her fellow co-hosts were awarded the Safe Horizon Champion Award for their continued efforts of raising awareness of issues of importance to girls and women and for serving as confident, compassionate role models dedicated to excellence of the battle against violence and victimization. Ms. Vieira joined ABC News in October 1993 as chief correspondent for ABC News' Turning Point, which premiered in March 1994. In 1995, she garnered her sixth Emmy Award for her report, "Inside the Hate Conspiracy: America's Terrorists," an in-depth look at a white supremacists' group who became the most wanted criminals in America. Ms. Vieira has reported the story of an adoption scam in Oklahoma, which promised hope for childless couples but delivered heartbreak; the heroic story of children successfully battling leukemia; a cautionary tale for the '90s about the rise of heroin use among young people and the middle class; and a feature on the city of Baltimore's first year of mainstreaming disabled students in public schools, which won a 1995 Robert F. Kennedy journalism award.

In addition, Ms. Vieira interviewed the "Framingham Eight" -- eight women fighting for a second chance after killing partners they say abused them -- which won an award from the Foundation of American Women in Radio and Television. Previously, she had spent more than a decade at CBS News, where she garnered five Emmy Awards for her work as a correspondent on the top-ranking news magazines, 60 Minutes and West 57th. From 1989 to 1991, Ms. Vieira was a co-editor of the CBS News magazine, 60 Minutes, reporting such stories as the award-winning "Ward 5A," which focused on the first AIDS ward in San Francisco. In addition, she won an Emmy for the 60 Minutes report, "Thy Brother's Keeper," a story on Christians who saved Jews during the Holocaust. After two successful seasons, and pregnant with her first child, Ms. Vieira left 60 Minutes. Ms. Vieira also contributed by frequently anchoring the CBS Morning News. In addition to her morning assignment, Ms. Vieira also contributed as a national correspondent on the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather. In June 1991, she was a contributing correspondent for the CBS News primetime series, Verdict, a broadcast reporting on actual courtroom trials. Prior to joining 60 Minutes, Ms. Vieira had been a principal correspondent for CBS News' West 57th since its premiere in August 1985. In 1989, she received four Emmy Awards for stories she reported on West 57th during its 1987-88 season. Ms. Vieira joined CBS News as a reporter in its Chicago bureau in January 1982. She was named a correspondent in 1984 and covered Senator Alan Cranston's presidential bid, the 1984 Democratic National Convention in San Francisco and, as a correspondent, election night, 1984. Prior to joining CBS News, she was a reporter for WCBS-TV, the CBS owned television station in New York City, for three years. Her assignments included the 1980 Republican National Convention in Detroit, the trial of Jean Harris in 1981, and a series on child molestation that earned her a Front Page Award from the Newswoman's Club of New York. She also served as a substitute anchor on the station's news broadcasts. Previously, she was a reporter and anchor at WJAR-TV in Providence, Rhode Island. She began her career as a news announcer for WORC-Radio in Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1975. Ms. Vieira served as host for The Miss America Pageant and has appeared on The Rosie O'Donnell Show, Larry King Live, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Charlie Rose, Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher, Celebrity Jeopardy, ABC's Spin City, Live with Regis, Hollywood Squares, and Bette. Ms. Vieira is heavily involved with numerous philanthropic organizations and is a frequent contributor to several charitable foundations. She is also part of ClubMom's Senior Advisory Board, as well as one of the seven co-founders, along with actor Andrew Shue. Ms. Vieira has been honored by the Anti-Defamation League and named "2001 Woman of the Year" by City of Hope. A native of Providence, Rhode Island, Ms. Vieira received a bachelor of arts degree from Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. She and her husband, journalist Richard Cohen, and their three children live in New York. 

Barbara Walters

Barbara Walters Barbara Walters' ground-breaking exclusive interviews with world figures and her enterprising reporting have made her one of the most highly acclaimed journalists on television. Ms. Walters' numerous and timely interviews -- which appear regularly on the weekly newsmagazine 20/20 and on The Barbara Walters Specials -- read like a "Who's Who" of newsmakers. She has interviewed every American President and First Lady since Richard Nixon. She made journalism history by arranging the first joint interview with Egypt's President Anwar Sadat and Israel's Prime Minister Menachem Begin in November 1977. Another of her "firsts" was an hour-long primetime conversation with Cuban President Fidel Castro -- an interview which has been printed in half a dozen languages and shown all over the world. In 1999, Ms. Walters conducted the first interview with Monica Lewinsky, which became the highest-rated news program ever broadcast by a single network. Ms. Walters' exclusive interview on March 17, 2000 with John and Patsy Ramsey captured an audience of nearly 20 million, marking the highest-rated 20/20 Friday in almost three years. Ms. Walters has interviewed such world leaders as Russia's Boris Yeltsin, China's Premier Jiang Zemin, Great Britain's former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, as well as Indira Gandhi, Vaclav Havel, Moammar Qaddafi, the Shah of Iran and King Hussein of Jordan. The Barbara Walters Specials are continuously the top-rated specials of the year and have included such legends as Sir Laurence Olivier, Bing Crosby, John Wayne, Bette Davis and Audrey Hepburn. Recent interviews have included Ricky Martin, Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, Celine Dion and Elizabeth Taylor; as well as such superstars of today as Harrison Ford, Tom Cruise, Barbra Streisand, Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts. Ms. Walters' The Ten Most Fascinating People special broadcast, launched in 1993, offers a year-end review of the most prominent newsmakers of the year as well as the selection of the "most fascinating" individual.

Ms. Walters joined ABC News in 1976 as the first woman to co-host the network news. In 1984, she joined Hugh Downs as host of the ABC newsmagazine, 20/20. In September 1999 Ms. Walters became the sole anchor of 20/20, currently in its 22nd season on the network. Prior to joining ABC, she appeared on NBC's Today show for 15 years. She began on the Today show as a writer, and within a year became a reporter-at-large, developing, writing and editing her own reports and interviews. In 1974, NBC officially designated her as the program's first female co-host.Ms. Walters was a member of the NBC News team that went to the People's Republic of China to cover the visits of President Richard Nixon in 1972 and President Gerald Ford in 1975. 
In addition to her responsibilities on the Today show, she hosted her own highly popular syndicated series, Not for Women Only, for five years and contributed on a regular basis to the NBC Radio Network. Early in her career, she was a writer for CBS News and before that, she was the youngest producer with NBC-TV's New York station (WNBC-TV).

Over the years, Ms. Walters has received national recognition for her work and has been the recipient of numerous prestigious awards. Just in the past few years, Ms. Walters was: (1) inducted into the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences' Hall of Fame "for being acknowledged worldwide as one of television's most respected interviewers and journalists," 1990; (2) honored with the Lowell Thomas Award for a career in journalism excellence by Marist College, 1990; (3) honored by the Overseas Press Club with their highest award, the President's Award, 1988; (4) saluted by the American Museum of the Moving Image, March 19, 1992; (5) Lifetime Achievement Award, International Women's Media Foundation, 1991; (6) Lifetime Achievement Award, Women's Project and Productions, 1993; (7) honored by the Museum of Television & Radio for her contributions to broadcast journalism, 1996; (8) the Muse Award from NY Women in Film and Television, 1997; and (9) Lifetime Achievement Award, National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, 2000. In May, 2001 Ms. Walters and The View co-hosts were awarded the Safe Horizon Champion Award for their continued efforts of raising awareness of issues of importance to girls and women and for serving as confident, compassionate role models dedicated to excellence of the battle against violence and victimization. 
Ms. Walters is the recipient of honorary doctoral degrees from Ohio State University, Temple University, Marymount College, Wheaton College, Hofstra University, and Ben-Gurion University in Jerusalem. 
A native of Boston, Ms. Walters is the daughter of the famed entertainment impresario, Lou Walters. She is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, and has one daughter.

Lisa Ling

Lisa Ling In October 2000, Lisa Ling began work as a contributing editor for USA Weekend, researching and writing exclusive stories on a range of topics. Ms. Ling hosted the television special Teen People's 20 Teens Who Will Change The World in February, 2001.
In April, 2001 she fulfilled her late Uncle John's dream by running and completing the Boston Marathon, raising money and awareness for pediatric cancer. . She finished with a time of 4:34. The foundation "Ali & Dad's Army," (originally named "Ali's Army") was started by John Pierce who lost his 14-year-old daughter Ali to liver cancer in 1996. Mr. Pierce set out to train for the Boston Marathon and recruit other runners to join him as part of a team he called "Ali's Army." Less then a year later, while running in a half marathon he suffered a massive heart attack just ten feet from the finish line.

At age 16, Ms. Ling auditioned and was chosen to be one of four hosts of Scratch, a nationally syndicated teen magazine show and the first ever out of Sacramento. She stayed with that show for three years, when she then was hired by Channel One News.
Ms. Ling worked for seven years at Channel One News, seen via satellite by more than 8.5 million students (the largest teenage audience in the country) in 12,000 high schools and middle schools across the United States. As one of its youngest reporters, Ms. Ling asserted herself as a valuable member of the Channel One News team. Ms. Ling has reported from more than two dozen countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq and Vietnam. Ms. Ling produced eight documentaries, some for which she received several awards, for local PBS affiliates.

In 1996, Ms. Ling participated in a joint investigation with Time magazine into a Russian company accused by international agencies of, among other things, smuggling nuclear weapons. Ms. Ling was the first American television reporter to have ever interviewed the company's owner. 

Ms. Ling was named one of Cosmopolitan magazine's "Fun, Fearless Females" as well as "Hot Reporter" in the "Hot" issue of Rolling Stone magazine.
Ms. Ling has been a guest on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher, The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn, ABC's Spin City, Larry King Live, Hollywood Squares, Bette, The Daily Show with John Stewart, Live with Regis & Kelly and was seen in two national television commercials for Old Navy.
Ms. Ling is from Northern California and studied history at the University of Southern California.She currently resides in New York City.