“It’s no secret that millions of people are inspired by Oprah,” said Madonna on Tuesday (May 17) as she took the stage at Chicago’s United Center to join 20,000 fans and a plane-load of celebrities at the taping of Oprah Winfrey’s final show. “I am one of them.”
She wasn’t the only one, either. The Hollywood Reporter chronicled the evening’s event.
“Now Oprah, I know you do not like surprises,” said first-hour host Tom Hanks. “Let me see if I can put you at ease. There was an English playwright who said there’s no surprise more magical than the surprise of being loved, and that is what tonight is all about.”
And the love kept coming — from Tom Cruise (sans a couch on which to jump), Dakota Fanning, Beyonce (who sang), Diane Sawyer, Halle Berry, Katie Holmes and Queen Latifah.
For the second hour, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith took over as hosts. They were joined by Michael Jordan, Jamie Foxx, Stevie Wonder, Jerry Seinfeld and Simon Cowell, who joked that Oprah is a “very good kisser.” At least we think he was joking.
Maria Shriver, busy weathering a paternity scandal courtesy estranged husband Arnold Schwarzenegger, also made an appearance. As did Winfrey favorite Maya Angelou and — shocker! — longtime boyfriend Stedman Graham.
“I cannot believe a colored girl from the back woods of Mississippi has done all you have done with your show, your magazine, your film company, radio, and your also hands on with your school in South Africa,” said Graham, “while launching a network!”
The special will air in two parts on May 23 and May 24. Winfrey’s actual final show is set for May 25.