Barbara Walters Names Steve Jobs ‘Most Fascinating Person of 2011’

steve jobsLast night, during her telecast of The Most Fascinating People of 2011, Barbara Walters revealed the most fascinating person of the year to be Steve Jobs, who passed away from pancreatic cancer in October at the age of 56. She explained that for the past 18 years, the rule has been that only people who are alive are eligible to be on her list, but she was compelled to leave Jobs in the number one spot because she selected him after he retired from Apple in August — and because “rules were made to be broken,” Walters said, “and that’s certainly how Steve Jobs lived his life.”

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In place of the customary interview, Walters interviewed Disney President and CEO Bob Iger, who said Jobs “wanted things insanely great and would take or accept nothing less than that.” Iger added, “His enthusiasm was unbelievably evident, visceral. You could see it from his toes to his head, he was so enthusiastic. He also was inspirational in that he demanded excellence from his people. He demanded that they think big. Big ideas really got Steve moving.” But Jobs wasn’t just committed to Apple: Iger explained he was also dedicated to his family. “There were really only two things in Steve’s life. There was Apple and there was his family, and he zealously protected both of those. He avoided making commitments to anything else because he knew that he commitment to do something else would distract him from his time at Apple or his time at home. And he simply was not going to do that. He cared so much about his family. And he cared so much about his company.”

Also on Walters’ list of this year’s most fascinating people were the Kardashians, Modern Family’s Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Eric Stonestreet, Simon Cowell, Derek Jeter, Donald Trump, Katy Perry, and Amanda Knox, and Pippa Middleton.

Sources: ABC, EW