Last Sunday, I posted a list of celebrity guests that was rumored for the final episodes of The Oprah Winfrey Show and last night, that list panned out completely. Altho more guests appeared on the Oprah Extravaganza than was reported, every person on that list was in attendance at the taping in Chicago, IL yesterday … and what an extravaganza it was. Oprah was paid tribute to by some of the world’s most famous people … so many celebs that the episode will be shown over 2 days (with the absolute final episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show featuring no guests at all … just Oprah and her audience). Check out below some photos and many deets below of Oprah‘s big night in Chicago last night.
Oprah Winfrey kicked off one of her last-ever national talk shows today with hugs from Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise and Madonna in a packed Chicago arena. ‘She’s a self-made woman who’s been at the top of her game for over 25 years – and she’s still kicking ass,’ Madonna told a delighted audience of about 13,000 as a stunned-looking Winfrey stood beside her onstage. The show, was taped on Tuesday for airing on May 23 and 24, is billed as Oprah’s Surprise Spectacular – because not even the talk show queen was said to have known who would be appearing. Winfrey’s final original Oprah Winfrey Show, whose contents are still under wraps, will air on May 25, bringing to a close 25 years of the most-watched daytime talk show on U.S. television. ‘Your show has turned surprise into an art form,’ Hanks told Winfrey. He added: ‘Oprah Winfrey, today you are surrounded by nothing but love. Your studio was not big enough to hold it all, so here we are,’ he said, gesturing around the glittering basketball arena and concert venue. Shortly after, Madonna walked onstage and praised Winfrey for her courage. ‘It’s no secret that millions of people are inspired by Oprah,’ she said. ‘I am one of those people … She fights for things she believes in, even if it makes her unpopular … I have learned so much from her.’ Despite her personal turmoil, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s estranged wife Maria Shriver put aside her difficulties to show up in the wake of revelations about Arnie’s secret love child … Shriver came on stage at the United Center with Winfrey’s best friend, Gayle King. Shriver told Winfrey that the talk show host has ‘given me love, support, wisdom and most of all the truth.” Shriver said she knew she wasn’t “alone in receiving those gifts.’ Oprah’ long term partner Stedman was one of the real surprise guests on the night. A man who deliberately keeps himself in the background, he took to the stage and proclaimed: ‘Oprah changes people’s lives, but she also takes her lunch to work everyday. She says it’s to save money.’ While the audience chuckled, Oprah started crying – and when Stedman called her ‘sweetheart’ in a bid to stem her tears, the audience gave up a great big ‘awww.’ He then surprised everyone including Oprah by introducing Aretha Franklin, who emerged to sing a version of Amazing Grace. During today’s taping a beaming Cruise told Winfrey it was an honour to have been on her show 12 times since 1988. Referring to his first appearance on the show 23 years ago, Winfrey quipped: ‘You looked like you were 10.’ R&B singer Beyonce prefaced a song and dance performance by declaring: ‘Oprah Winfrey, because of you, women everywhere have graduated to a new level of understanding of what we are, who we are, and who we can be … We can run the world!’ The show also featured Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry, who wore a Victoria Beckham dress, and singer-actress Queen Latifah. Josh Groban and Patti LaBelle sang Somewhere Over the Rainbow, and comedy stars Tina Fey and Steve Carell sent in video-taped tributes. Winfrey, regarded as the most influential woman on U.S. television, is wrapping the final season of her syndicated Chicago-based show to devote more energy to her fledgling OWN cable network, which launched in January. Winfrey announced in November 2009 that she would end her talk show, which airs five days a week on ABC.
Love it, Love it, Love it! Much love goes out to the little bird who spilled the deets early about last night’s big Oprah show. This spectacular Oprah show sounds amazing and very fitting for the queen of daytime talk. It’s hard to believe that the show is really coming to an end … but now that the second and third last eps of the show have been filmed … there’s only one taping left and then … it’s over. Doesn’t this spectacular look amazing? Will you be tuning in to watch when these eps air next week?