“It’s like Barbara f*cking Walters in here,” said Ringo Starr once, in a non-Walters interview, tearing up over discussion over the death of George Harrison. And with Walters officially retiring today (today’s episode of The View will be her last), whether you like her oft-deemed “pushy” or “random” questions or not (“If you were a tree, what tree would you be?”), you’ve got to admit that she can skillfully make her subject tear up in a snap. Babs and Oprah will forever be neck-and-neck in the Make a Celebrity Cry Game, but through the glossy lens of yesteryear, Walters did it first. Let’s look over some of her most notable conquests:
The teary-eyed: Ellen DeGeneres, in 2007.
When does the crying happen? 5:50
What set her off: “When you’re a teenager, your mother remarried, and the man she married, your stepfather, sexually abused you.”
Tear count: Glassy eyes, one sniffle.
The teary-eyed: Patrick Swayze, in 2009.
When does the crying happen? 5:30
What set him off: Talking about his dead father, remembering a line from Ghost. (“It’s amazing, Molly. The love inside, you take it with you.”)
Tear count: Major tears, necessitating multiple tissue dabs, in a clip from their 1988 interview; “You devil dog,” he jeers, teary-eyed, at Babs in 2009.
The teary-eyed: Monica Lewinsky, in 1999.
When does the crying happen? 13:00 in part five, immediately continuing in part six.
What set her off: Remembering putting the president and her mother before her own well-being, facing media speculation and negative attention.
Tear count: The tears-are-coming siren call of blinking, futile tissue-dabbing (her eye makeup stays perfectly in place).
The teary-eyed: Courtney Love, in 1995.
When does the crying happen? 7:36
What set her off: Talking about Kurt Cobain’s suicide: “There are times onstage when you simulate your husband’s death. To some people, that’s really terrible taste. Why do you do it?”
Tear count: Watery eyes, seemingly cathartic tears: “Hold on, please.”
The teary-eyed: Tracy Morgan, in 2013.
When does the crying happen? 1:35
What set him off: Discussing his drug addiction: “Are you tempted every day?”
Tear count: Palm-to-face.
The teary-eyed: Jennifer Hudson, in 2007.
When does the crying happen? 5:53
What set her off: “What would your grandmother say?”
Tear count: Barely: “Ooh, you’re gonna make me cry.”
The teary-eyed: Angelina Jolie, in 2010.
When does the crying happen? 8:00
What set her off: Talking about when she was told her son, Maddox, could be a target of kidnappers if they traveled in Russia.
Tear count: Heavy breathing, glassy eyes; “I have no right to risk my life if I have a child.”
The teary-eyed: Patrick Dempsey, 2006.
When does the crying happen? 6:12
What set him off: Remembering meeting his wife, Jillian Fink.
Tear count: “I need a break.” (Laughs. Through tears.)
The teary-eyed: Ringo Starr, in 1981.
When does the crying happen? 0:50
What set him off: Remembering hearing about John Lennon’s death.
Tear count: “Do you wanna stop that now? ‘Cause it doesn’t help, but it always gets me upset.”
The teary-eyed: Oprah, in 2010.
When does the crying happen? She wells up around 1:56, tears fall at 2:35
What set her off: Talking about her BFF, Gayle King.
Tear count: “Tissue, please!”
(And if you’re still wondering, has anyone ever made Barbara Walters cry? Yes: Bette Midler.)