Oprah bows out with simplicity
No guests, no makeovers, no giveaways. Oprah Winfrey kicked off her last original episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" by telling a studio audience that the broadcast would be a simple, celebrity-free affair focused on what her audience has meant to her.tv Updated: May 26, 2011 00:24 IST
No guests, no makeovers, no giveaways.
Oprah Winfrey kicked off her last original episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" by telling a studio audience that the broadcast would be a simple, celebrity-free affair focused on what her audience has meant to her.
"You and this show have been the great love of my life," a tearful Winfrey told viewers in "The Oprah Winfrey Finale," taped before an audience of 400 on Tuesday afternoon and broadcast on Wednesday morning.
Wearing a simple pink dress, Winfrey took the stage to a standing ovation and showed clips from some of her earliest broadcasts while sharing her life lessons with viewers.
Winfrey, 57, was a pioneer in confessional television, promoting discussion of formerly taboo subjects including incest, rape, sexual abuse and depression.
The show also became the go-to place for celebrities and politicians to promote new ventures and to apologise publicly for their indiscretions. In one memorable 2004 show, Winfrey gave all 276 audience members a new car.
Winfrey announced in November 2009 that she would end her popular talk show after 25 years. She is expected to focus in the next few years on her cable channel OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network), which launched in January 2011.
In contrast to the glitzy "surprise spectacular" featuring Beyonce, Madonna and Tom Hanks, taped in a basketball arena and which aired on Monday and Tuesday, the final broadcast was a humble recap of the values Winfrey believed in.
At one point the host introduced from the audience her fourth-grade teacher, Mrs Duncan, whom she praised as an early "liberator" who made her feel valued.
Winfrey urged viewers to find their calling, make the world a better place and take control of their lives. One of her most cherished tributes, she said, was a letter from a viewer who said "Oprah, watching you be yourself makes me want to be more myself."
Near the end of the hourlong broadcast, Winfrey spoke of her roots in rural Mississippi.
"It is no coincidence a lonely little girl who felt not a lot of love, even though my parents and grandparents did the best they could ... It is no coincidence that I grew up to feel the genuine kindness, affection, trust, and validation from millions of you, all over the world.
"From you, whose names I will never know, I learned what love is. You and this show have been the great love of my life."