NEW YORK (AP) — Barbara Walters is back.
Sidelined for six weeks by chickenpox and a concussion, Walters returned to ABC’s “The View” on Monday.
She got a thunderous welcome from the studio audience and co-panelists Sherri Shepherd, Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Joy Behar, as well as well-wishers Regis Philbin and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who stopped by.
“After a lot of scratching and rest, I am fine and I am healthy,” the 83-year-old Walters declared.
Lifting her bangs, she pointed on her forehead to the only visible signs of her ordeal: a single chickenpox bump and a tiny scar from her fall.
Walters was hospitalized Jan. 19 after fainting and hitting her head on a marble floor at a party in Washington. She suffered a concussion and got several stitches.
She had chickenpox and a fever at the time but didn’t realize it. The likely cause? Hugging a well-known actor “who shall be nameless” earlier in January, she said. It turned out he had shingles.
“If you have never had chickenpox” — and Walters never had — “you can get it from someone with shingles,” she told viewers.
Reportedly, Walters kissed actor shingles-stricken Frank Langella on the cheek on New Year’s Eve.
Walters was released from the hospital after 10 days, then took it easy in her New York home.”The chickenpox came and went weeks ago,” she told her co-hosts. “The head injury has taken longer, so I rested and I watched the show … and I was able to scream and yell at you on the screen every day.”
Walters, looking rested and more than ready to be back, joked that “people say I should have my head examined. I DID have my head examined, and I am fine.”