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Walters welcomed back to ‘The View’

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.

Davis criticizes MacFarlane’s hosting

Academy Award winner Geena Davis on Monday waded into the ongoing controversy over this year’s Oscar ceremony by saying host Seth MacFarlane’s routine was disrespectful to women, particularly the performers who were being honored.

The “Thelma & Louise” star said MacFarlane’s much-criticized routine last month overshadowed the win of an animated film with a strong female character.

“It’s a shame that that triumph was enveloped in an awards ceremony containing disrespect for women,” Davis told members of the California Assembly during a ceremony in Sacramento.

She commended “Brave,” which won best animated picture, as setting a positive example for girls.

Davis, who won a best supporting actress Oscar for “The Accidental Tourist” in 1988, was in the California state capital as one of 11 California women honored for their achievements. She is chairwoman of the state Commission on the Status of Women and Girls and founded a nonprofit that promotes gender equality in the media.

Last week, two female state lawmakers sent a letter to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences asking it to condemn MacFarlane’s quips about nude scenes and the attractiveness of several female actresses as degrading toward women.

The academy issued a general statement defending MacFarlane and saying the award show is about “creative freedom.”

The birthday bunch

Singer Eddy Grant is 65. Magician Penn Jillette is 58. Guitarist John Frusciante (Red Hot Chili Peppers) is 43. Actor Kevin Connolly (“Entourage”) is 39. Actress Eva Mendes is 38.


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