May 18th, 2011
10:00 AM ET

Inside Oprah’s star-studded farewell

More than 150,000 "Oprah Winfrey Show" fans wanted to get in to the talk show host's star-studded spectacular last night, but just 20,000 fans made it.

The lucky ticket holders for tapings of two of Oprah Winfrey’s final shows lined up outside Chicago’s United Center Tuesday afternoon - anxious to escape a strong spring wind and eager to see what had been billed as an all-star farewell to the Queen of Talk.

Cousins Alisia Brown and Nicole Bailey told CNN they scored last minute tickets to the spectacular from none other than Winfrey's best friend, Gayle King.

The Chicago residents and lifelong "Oprah" fans turned up at the United Center in the hopes of finding tickets and bumped into King. The two jumped up and down in excitement from the gift. Bailey told CNN, "I went to a show 20 years ago and haven't been able to get tickets since."

As the tapings started, Winfrey walked on stage to thunderous applause from her most fired up fans. Winfrey has frequently stated she's not fond of surprises, but she allowed her production team to make an exception for this party. The first surprise guest? Tom Hanks.

The Oscar winning actor and frequent "Oprah" show guest played the role of Winfrey's guide through the night’s events. Winfrey had tears in her eyes as she took in the scene - an arena lined with giant photographs of memorable "Oprah Winfrey Show" moments through the years, and thousands of adoring admirers on their feet.

Backstage, "Oprah" producers and publicists juggled teams of journalists and A-list guests. Celebrities from music, movies and TV - ranging from Beyonce and Madonna to Tom Cruise and Diane Sawyer - all came out to send Winfrey off in spectacular style.

Patti LaBelle told CNN she spoke with Winfrey just last week and managed to keep her scheduled performance a secret. The R&B legend says, "There is nothing Oprah has left to do. She's done it all!"

Madonna recalled to CNN that Winfrey taught her to fight for her beliefs and says her favorite "Oprah" moment was teaching the host how to dance.

TV host and "Oprah" regular Nate Berkus credits Winfrey for launching his television career, but says he appreciates her most for her friendship and empathy.

"I think the one moment I won't forget is when I came back from Asia after the tsunami and lost my partner. I sat on the show on a stage that was so comfortable to me. It'd be like [someone] sitting on their own sofa in their home. That's how comfortable it was for me to be back on the stage of the 'Oprah Winfrey Show.'"

One by one, dozens of Winfrey's most famous friends took to the stage in tribute. Maria Shriver has been friends with Winfrey for 30 years and received a strong show of support from the audience when she took to the stage. Dressed in a navy sequin gown, Shriver thanked Winfrey for her friendship through the years and for teaching her truth. Though no mention was made of Shriver's current personal crisis, her smile spoke volumes on how she's weathering the storm.

Winfrey turned the night's praise back to the audience and thanked her fans for all the love and for making 25 years of the "Oprah Winfrey Show" possible.

Winfrey's surprise spectacular will air in two parts on Monday, May 23 and Tuesday, May 24. The final "Oprah Winfrey Show" will broadcast May 25. Winfrey is reportedly producing the goodbye show herself and is keeping her plans secret for now – leaving her fans with one last surprise.

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Filed under: Oprah Winfrey • television

soundoff (123 Responses)
  1. Lost

    Lady "O" is irreplaceable!

    May 20, 2011 at 5:13 am | Report abuse |
  2. citizenUSA

    Everyone knows the "O" stands for d"O"ughnuts, right?

    May 19, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  3. jb

    O's secret plan for her goodbye show is that she will announce that she will begin her new talk show, 'The Winfrey Show', next week.

    May 19, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  4. likeawoman

    One thing is for sure all the haters have watched over the years. Othrewise they could not comment on a person they know nothing about. Thank you Oprah, now go on to your next Billion and you will earn it of that I am sure.

    May 19, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  5. NoToFatChicks

    Please! Please! Oprah PleasE! Getoff the air. You're so fat they need to use wide angle to get you on the screen.

    You're obnoxious, arrogant & only get away with it because (at the moment) you control the livelihood of many individuals involved in your shows production.

    Guess what fatso? You're fired! that's right FIRED that's

    F as in Fatso

    I as in Ignorant

    T as in Tiring

    S as in Stupid

    O as in Ornery

    Once you're gone you're gone! Bye Bye Fatso!

    May 19, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  6. PRMOO


    May 19, 2011 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
  7. juliansigler

    The Final Taping: Oprah Bids Farewell After 25 Years

    May 19, 2011 at 7:04 am | Report abuse |
  8. Bun

    I hold the nut (Oprah)responsible for unleashing on the world too much info that no one wants to hear except a bunch of wackos with nothing to do but sit around the tv and listen to her at whatever time she is on. How about get a clue and either read a book, read a newspaper, sleep, go to school, exercise, make a friend or do ANYTHING except watch tv and listen to Oprah telling one what to think or do. The only reason I am even commenting on this is that my Master's class is over this week so I have some extra time to catch up on CNN...... NOT the Oprah freak-show.

    May 18, 2011 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
  9. delia rodriguez

    HARPO , i'm sad to see u go. u made me look forward to my afternoons with The Oprah Talk Show. There will never be another talk show host as good as u were* for the simple reason that they just don't make them like they used to.

    May 18, 2011 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Miriam

    Where do you people live with all the hate you put out. Get a life. Oprah has done and will do more in her lifetime then you can imagine in yours. There are people who do good things for others and those that don't do anything but complain. Looks like complainers are winning today. Hope you're gone tomorrow.

    May 18, 2011 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
  11. charlie crack

    @peace is one of the nicest on the blog @redbaron youre right. Not many have positive/kind words on these ya know???

    May 18, 2011 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
  12. George VanBuskirk

    Hi Opra. Thank you fo many great years. i cried too at some shows. Love you and wish you the best.

    May 18, 2011 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Wendy the R-Tard

    Oafra, I like to watch your show, my name is Wendy the Retard, and I feel like blowin my mind up. I like to poo on the floor and make mud pies with happy faces. I take big dumps in my plastic pants and smoosh it on the floor so it goes up my snizz.

    May 18, 2011 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Could Orca be more of a FAT PIG????

    Answer: No, she is about as bloated and egotistical as they come. Fat, snarky, egomaniac porker. That qualifies her to smooch Barry's butt in DC. Loser.

    May 18, 2011 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  15. osama joe biden

    she is an alien?

    May 18, 2011 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
  16. charlie crack

    @Peace- wooo hoooo! That party was a "blast" (no pun intended). NY was great wasnt it??? Man if we could ship oprah outa here we would be goin pretty good. Hope youre good @peace! Be good!

    May 18, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  17. james

    She has really ballooned in girth. Reminds this old timer of Aunt Jemima and her pancakes.

    May 18, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Monnie

    I love a nice "Hot Carl", or perhaps a "Pittburgh Platter". And a "Cleveland Steamer" for a bedtime snack.

    May 18, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Oprah's Minge and Gary

    Finally! Maybe now she start paying a little more attention to us! Maybe a nice vacation?

    May 18, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Kay

    Last time! The Big O isn't going anywhere!! She has her own cable network now and you can find her there!!! Good gosh, people, you would think she is never to be seen again! Her ego is too large for that to happen.

    May 18, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Fran

    Go already Oprah!! Enough already!

    May 18, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Daniel Troppy

    Oprah is the classiest lady around, we will miss her...

    May 18, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  23. chuck

    Oprah's a racist and a hypocrite. I hope she follows Mama Cass' lead and choke on tuna.

    May 18, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Tin Tin

    Well should all get together (all the regulars) and have one big cook out party! I think that would be so cool and we would have so much fun!

    May 18, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Lloyd Christmas

    Thanks for your statement bubbaho. Loser.

    May 18, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  26. bubbaho

    who cares !

    May 18, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Lloyd Christmas

    And there is all CAPS guy.

    May 18, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  28. get over it!


    May 18, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Monnie

    Have a great day all! On to the next site...

    May 18, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Lloyd Christmas

    Lol, then sharted.

    May 18, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Monnie

    Thx jujubeans : )

    May 18, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Monnie

    Oprah, if u should read this, know that if u were not awesome and news worthy, there would not be all these blogs and especially the negativity...therefore I say " you go Oprah!". You are worthy. Good luck in your new venture...your haters will still follow you : )

    May 18, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Monnie

    My doo doo is the creamiest.

    May 18, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  34. Lloyd Christmas

    Pam Anderson is the hottest.

    May 18, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  35. jujubeans

    and Madonna is still hot!

    May 18, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Monnie

    Some of these comments with my name on them are NOT from me. Probably easy to know which ones are and which ones are not!

    May 18, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Groupon

    The Mad R@p3r is a gaf.

    May 18, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  38. Monnie

    I to goober smooch.

    May 18, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  39. Groupon

    This is a bit off topic but I have natural male enhancement drugs available for half price (602)621-3688

    May 18, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  40. Monnie

    It's not about something u don't like...censorship is about reducing the amount of filth that comes out of your mounth. You can make an opoosing statement in a more intelligent way that doesn't portray ignorance. That's when someone wants to actually hear (or read) your opinion! Stupidity does not negate relavance.when your comments are just plain stupid they have little to no relavance. I want to hear why you really opppse Oprah!

    May 18, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Monnie

      Rollin my stinnky pieces into doo doo balls for a game of marbles.

      May 18, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Mad R@p3r

      The "hate" on here is parody and thus protected speech.

      "Stupidity does not negate relavance.when your comments are just plain stupid they have little to no relavance." Not sure what u meant by this as it cancels itself out.
      For the record I don't oppose oprah, but find censorship highly offensive and filthy.

      May 18, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  41. Red Baron

    @Peace aww thank you. you gals are so cool on here. My wife is mean. Maybe I can trade her in for one of yous. Maybe you since you like little bald spots on men. You made me blush. At least I smell good. Have a good day

    May 18, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  42. jane

    You people are stupid.

    May 18, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Mad R@p3r

      "You people"?!? What's that supposed to mean? Were the same people as you. Don't try and fit us into that cage called stereotype.

      May 18, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  43. Takin a Deuce

    Oprah is the new Jesus Christ. Just ask her and her minions of gorillas, babydonkey mamas, jigs, lawn jockeys etc.

    May 18, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  44. twilla

    Jesus Christ has done more for this world than Oprah or anyone else. He died for you because he LOVES you. Accept him as your Savior TODAY and receive eternal life!- twilla.

    May 18, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  45. Peace

    @ Red Baron, the Donald doesn't have that problem b/c he has some woodland creature on his head! Don't worry about that little bald spot, some women love bald men! I'm sure Ron Mexico or Lloyd will have a rude come back for it, though!

    May 18, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  46. Monnie

    We obviously need more censorship on this blog site....CNN? Where are ur censors for ignorant commentators and adult language? Some of these bloggers would be btter suited on Adult Swim TV!

    May 18, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  47. Red Baron

    It's so windy out there! My hair is a mess. I'm trying to do a comb over to cover my little bald spot but my fr!cking wife didn't buy any hairspray so the comb over is not holding. Donald doesn't have that problem.

    May 18, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  48. Monnie

    And bloggers, please no negative responses. Signing off...

    May 18, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  49. Monnie

    Ok...enough hating already! Oprah, like her or not, has done more good for society and helped more people than you or I could ever do. She is deserving of her praise and credit and has earned her dues. She could have spent her time and efforts sitting around blogging negative comments and racial inuendos, but instead she chose to be positive and productive! Take notes, get a life and stop hating! Like her or not, she is a legend, a hard worker and a woman of substance (who just happens to be black) and she worked hard to get to this point. Cudos, Oprah! You are to be commended. We love u!

    May 18, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  50. gordon greenwood

    dear oprah please leaveus alone take your money that you ripped off the weak and down trooden go away and never return we are sick of seeing your face and your absolute phony contrived personality i just want to vomit when i think how shallow the people who followed you must be but you and i both know the truth you are and alwAYS will be a fake just a fake i am not a mean spirited person for me to say such words is for me to mean every word i say you are a total fraud

    May 18, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  51. elementary school teacher

    You were all very good during lunch today. Fot that you get an extra 15 minutes of recess. I am very proud of all of you.

    May 18, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  52. moon627


    Oprah is a brilliant woman who's done alot of great things.

    Too bad the same cant be said for all you ignorant freaks posting your lame negativity here – It sure sucks to be you!

    May 18, 2011 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  53. Peace

    @ ?, LOL ! I guess I haven't "grown any" yet! Thanks for the support! (Still laughing!)

    May 18, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  54. Name*Antonio

    You are symbol to all woman worldwide

    May 18, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  55. marcus lucas

    No matter what u do in this life, whether you're rich or poor,successful or not we are all somebody. Love her or not after all she's been through and done and done for people or not,she's only human just like the rest of us. Thank u opera for showing women especially black women that u can overcome the evil that would rather see u barefoot in the kitchen with a babe in your belly and kids all around you. Be blessed in all you do.

    May 18, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  56. @Peace

    That's the best you can do? Fight that stupid Mexican for his stupid remark. Ummm what is Llyod doing now? Where is that SOB?

    May 18, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  57. Ron Mexico

    Mmmmm butt hole.

    May 18, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  58. elementary school teacher

    Please no arguing during lunch. I dont want to have to send a note home for your parents to sign.

    May 18, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  59. a normal person

    What is with all of the nasty stuff.
    I just can't believe all of the anger, it
    is coming from a very sad and ugly place.

    May 18, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  60. Peace

    Sorry Ron, I don't play those games. Wasn't trying to offend you at all, just pointing out a fact. Actually, I agreed w/ you about it not being newsworthy. So again, good day!

    May 18, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  61. Ron Mexico

    Ha ha Peace. When do you morph into twisted or @N?

    May 18, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  62. Peace

    @ Ron Mexico, not really newsworthy, but then again, this is an entertainment sight, not news. Good day to ya !

    May 18, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  63. Ron Mexico


    May 18, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  64. Ron Mexico

    Elementary is dum

    May 18, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
  65. elementary school teacher

    We will now all form a single file line and go to the lunchroom. Todays lunch will consist of fish sticks, tater tots, and fruit coktail. No pushing and shoving in the line, please.

    May 18, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  66. Kay Clark

    Opa gonna give each studio audience member their very own personal bag of Opa doo doo.

    May 18, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  67. Ron Mexico

    Come on CNN, is this really newsworthy?

    May 18, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  68. elementary school teacher

    A comment, even though innapropriate, is still considered classroom participation. You all get check marks for the day. Very good, children.

    May 18, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  69. Ron Mexico

    I'm getting tired of Lloyd's nonsence

    May 18, 2011 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  70. @Chinatown Girl

    D@mn it girl!! You see you got me making typos now in my comment. It's all your fault.

    May 18, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  71. elementary school teacher

    Yes. Proper grammer and correct spelling is engouraged. You do get a check mark for class participation though. Very good.

    May 18, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • lil sally

      Teacher. My daddy likes to leave a manChowder check mark on my face. Is that wrong?

      May 18, 2011 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • lynn oleson

      I have been a legal secretary and typewriter teacher–typing about 104 wpm with two errors in my prime. Afer 25 years of retirement, I find my errors increased (lots)-and I am not so judgmental. Have more strength and not so judgment about errors-but I am not making money now..... FREEDOM....

      May 22, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  72. Ron Mexico

    @Groupon. Wow! Really inappropriate remarks

    May 18, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  73. Marilyn

    Oprah has done good with her money, no doubt, its just that she has to let everyone know about it so they can fall to their knees and worship her.

    May 18, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  74. @Teri

    Take in some air girl, it's just a blog. No need to be saying put a name behind the comment. He could but put the Peter and it still won't mean anything sweetheart. You do know that was a stupid fight huh?

    May 18, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  75. Peace

    Hey charlie crack! Where ya been? Last time I "talked" to you I was headed to NY for the "celebration". You are so right about all the "Oprah farewells"! Enough already, just go, Op!

    May 18, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  76. @Chinatown Girl

    You should be sorry. You know they hang people for typos on here. Gosh forbid girl we can't making those mistake because they so call you out on them.

    May 18, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  77. Teri

    Steadman your comment was crass and totally inappropriate. if you have the audacity to post something like that then post your full name and stand behind it instead of hiding behind the anonimity of the web. Bet you don't have the courage to do so.

    May 18, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  78. jujubeans

    On her final show she is going to remind those of her community that sometimes it is good to take baths with soap and use deodorant.

    May 18, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  79. Chitown Girl

    Chitown won't mis her to be honest. The loss in jobs yes, but her, no. Sort of sick of seeing this all over our local news and now national news. Its a darn talk show for pete's sake. No for the real action at the United Center, Heat vs Bulls in game 2 tonight!

    Go Bulls!!

    May 18, 2011 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Chitown Girl

      My apologies for the typos- I know that is a sore spot for the trolls out here.

      May 18, 2011 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
    • bluesladyII

      Thank You I agree.....DA BULLS!!!!

      May 18, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • sammy zoso

      I don't get it. She's starting her own network. It's not like she's going to that Big Talk Show in the sky for god's sake. What a goofy world.

      May 18, 2011 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  80. Doo Doo for Jesus

    She will return with a new show as Jesus Christ.

    May 18, 2011 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  81. jujubeans

    i never liked her. she is just odd. and mean.

    May 18, 2011 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  82. charlie crack

    Who cares? Is this news? Has she not had a "farewell" everything for a year now? Final makeover, fav things....etc. Please Oprah, just go away and do something good with your $$$.

    May 18, 2011 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Ole'

      Opa and all the female audience members will strip then do a konga line. It will be a P!$$Y stampede.

      May 18, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tina

      You're obviously not much of a watcher, or you'd know that Oprah has been something good with her money for years in this country and others.

      May 18, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • marie

      so much hate use the energy on something positive

      May 18, 2011 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  83. love and respect

    Theres something to be said for following ur dreams even when idiots such as those posting would have never belived in u ...job well done Ms Winfrey..

    May 18, 2011 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Chucklehead


      May 18, 2011 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Evel Knievel

      Yeah, keep believing your cat lady dreams that she did it for anything but the money.

      May 18, 2011 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
    • The Mad R@p3r

      What dreams? Running a springeresque show on the front end then realizing you could fake the high road and print even more loot.

      May 18, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • joecool16280

      Lets see, you're either a person who gets offended whenever someone says anything derogatory against any black person or an over weight emotional wreck who needs O to help make sense of the world.

      May 18, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • stejo

      Mad....nice moniker, btw...are you really blasting O for being a good businesswoman? So what? I'm not a big fan of hers, but kudos to anyone who can create such huge name recognition and still seem more or less like a real person. Whether it's fake or not is irrelevant – she's a good businesswoman...I daresay better than you.

      May 18, 2011 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
  84. John Doe

    She is giving away Eternal Life on her last episode.

    May 18, 2011 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
    • eunis

      During the final show I will doo doo on my carpet then scoot around like a dog to wipe my butt.

      May 18, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  85. Chucklehead

    Ocra and her cronies need to go over to her network and stay there. That way, all her pathetic followers can revel in her supposed greatness and leave the rest of us alone.

    May 18, 2011 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Mary Ann in VA

      Ms Winfrey's name will be noted for generations while you haters will melt away into nothingness and be forgotten. Get a life!

      May 18, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • LW

      So she has a TV show; she educates people; she gives away a lot of money. Yeah, that sounds just awful. Luckily, you don't have to participate. (But you just can't stand not trashing her, huh?) Now THAT is sad.

      May 18, 2011 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
  86. aj

    Sign off finally!

    May 18, 2011 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |

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