Barbara Walters: Steve Jobs Is 2011′s ‘Most Fascinating’ Person

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Kimberly White / Reuters

Coming hot on the heels of a certain publication publishing its Person of the Year issue (read all about it here, folks!), Barbara Walters has given her two cents with her annual appraisal of the year that was.

And in a marked departure, Walters chose somebody who is no longer alive as her most fascinating person of the year: Steve Jobs, Apple’s visionary co-founder who passed away in October at 56, after losing an eight-year battle with cancer.

(PHOTOS: The Long, Extraordinary Career of Steve Jobs)

Walters explained that the decision had originally been made earlier this year, but his passing didn’t cause her to change her mind. Sadly for Walters, the prospect of an interview with Jobs never materialized.

Jobs is arguably the worthy winner among the 10 nominees. One-time GOP darling Herman Cain was included, and he told Walters that he wanted to be head of the Department of Defense. (It’s an interesting career move for someone who recently said he didn’t need to know the name of the leader of “Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan.”)

Other entrants saw pop culture extremely well represented with the likes of the Kardashians, Simon Cowell, Modern Family‘s Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Eric Stonestreet (Mitch and Cam) and Katy Perry making the grade. Derek Jeter received another hit (of sorts), Donald Trump made an appearance as did the woman with the world’s most famous behind, Pippa Middleton. And another female who must hope that her past is behind her, Amanda Knox, was also selected.

In 18 years, Walters had never gone against type, always picking somebody still with us. But as she noted, rules were made to be broken. And nobody knew that better than Steve Jobs.

MORE: TIME’s Person of the Year

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