By Deborah Netburn
Times Staff Writer
June 14, 2007
It was 11:30 in the morning and the paparazzi firing squad was lined up in front of the Kodak Theater on Hollywood and Highland.
Technically this was Barbara Walters' hour in the hot, bright, Hollywood sun -- the 77-year-old news legend was honored with a star on the walk of fame. Except that Kathy and Nicky Hilton were in attendance, so once again the day was usurped by the specter of Paris Hilton. Even locked in jail that girl seems to be everywhere.
The Hiltons, both wearing large dark sunglasses, were on hand as a thank you to Barbara Walters for helping Paris begin her redemption tour from behind bars. On Sunday, Walters conducted a "surprise" interview with the heiress by telephone.
Calling Walters collect from prison, Hilton said she had become much more spiritual and that she was through with acting dumb. Walters dutifully carried her message to the world.
On Thursday Walters was dressed in a bright red power suit that looked awesomely 1980s and stood for her photo op next to Disney chief Bob Iger, honorary mayor of Hollywood Johnny Grant, City Councilman Eric Garcetti, and chief of police William Bratton- who all praised her work in journalism before her star was unveiled.
Her hair, for those who are wondering, does not appear to be a wig--it was too thin on top for that.
It was hard to hear anything over the din of Hollywood Boulevard and the squawk of the security guards' walkie talkies, so I only caught a few snippets of Walters speech.
"My producers are very happy I'm getting this star because finally they can walk all over me," she said. Then she told a story about winning the award for "Most improved actor" as a young girl at summer camp.
"It was the biggest honor of my childhood, and this award is the biggest honor of my adulthood," she said.
(Over her 30-plus year career Walters has interviewed Hillary Clinton, Margaret Thatcher, George and Laura Bush, Saddam Hussein, Fidel Castro, Moammar Qadaffi and most of the world's most powerful people, so it's hard to believe she could really be so honored by this star which is usually paid for by a fanclub or a network or studio, but it's nice that she said so).
Then the security guards started barking at anyone looking to loiter. "Keep it moving people," they said. "You can't stand there ma'am," It became too hard to hear anything again, so the press and the crowd began talking among themselves.
Even Walters' colleagues from "The View," Joy Behar and Elizabeth Hasselback (Rosie did not show up) started chatting again.
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