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Oprah’s Star-Studded Finale: Celebrities Bid Winfrey Farewell

Oprah’s finale was filled with celebrities like Tom Hanks and Will Smith. Oprah’s finale was filled with celebrities like Tom Hanks and Will Smith.

After 25 years of providing viewers with hope and inspiration, larger-than-life icon Oprah Winfrey is retiring her daytime talk show. The four-hour taping of her finale, “Surprise Oprah! A Farewell Spectacular,” was held at the Union Center in Chicago on Tuesday, and in attendance were some of the biggest names in showbiz, including Tom Hanks, Michael Jordan, Tom Cruise, Madonna, Josh Groban, Jerry Seinfeld, Halle Berry, Usher, and many more. The final episode will air as a two-part special beginning May 25.

Celebs were lined up to make appearances on stage and express their thanks and gratitude to the pioneering “queen of talk.”

Extra tickets to the taping were nowhere to be found outside of the Union Center on Thursday night, and boxes of tissues were staggered throughout the audience to quell the inevitable waterworks of joy and sadness. Oprah has been the source of hope and strength for women and men across the country, including her peers in the industry, and around the world, and is highly revered for her charity work.

Not surprisingly, only about ten-percent of audience members at the taping were guys, but at least one took advantage of the opportunity, smoothly proposing to his girlfriend on stage before the taping began.

Celebs were lined up to make appearances on stage and express their thanks and gratitude to the pioneering “queen of talk.” First out with Oprah herself was Tom Hanks, who expressed his love and introduced Tom Cruise, who walked to the Mission Impossible theme. Madonna made an appearance but did not perform. Patty Labelle and Josh Groban sang “(Somewhere) Over The Rainbow.”

Beyonce was greeted on stage with loud applause, jumping right into her performance – which was done twice, thanks to camera errors. Halle Berry, Queen Latifah, and others made their appearance before Rascal Flatts came on stage to perform, which marked the conclusion of the first episode.

Chicago Bulls legend and Hall of Famer Michael Jordan made an appearance, thanking Oprah and congratulating her on her success. Stevie Wonder and Jamie Foxx teamed up to sing “Isn't She Lovely.”

Jerry Seinfeld, who somehow manages to keep familiar material interesting, performed a routine on marriage – an interesting choice considering that Maria Shriver was one of the final guests to take the stage to thank Oprah. “You have given me love, support, wisdom and most of all truth,” she said. Alicia Keyes, Maya Angelou, and Usher were some of the final guests.

David Letterman, who wasn't invited to make an appearance, expressed his disappointment on The Late Show following the taping. “I am more than upset,” he said. “Honest to God, everyday I get out of bed and I think 'What can I do to suck up to Oprah?' Because I decided at some point, I love Oprah. I want to be on Oprah's bandwagon, I want to be part of Oprah, I want to be on the show, I want to be on the magazine, I want the whole Oprah deal. I want it all."

Celebs, fans, and the beneficiaries of Oprah's philanthropy will surely miss her emotionally gripping but soothing television personality. For any fans planning to sink into a deep depression as the finale grows closer should be reminded that while her show is going off the air, Oprah has her own channel (even if ratings have been below expectations - surprising, given the response to her resignation). She is planning on making no more than three appearances a week on a new show titled Oprah's Next Chapter.

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Last modified on Friday, 24 August 2012 18:02

Cameron Handley is a left-handed English major who grew up spreading Holly-tone and hunting for morels in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. He recently found himself relocated to the concrete jungle, but plans to make his way West in the future. Cameron hopes to one day make a living combining his love for gardening with his passion for writing and philosophy.

Website: www.rosebudmag.com/cameron-handley

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