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Oprah Winfrey says farewell in final show Wednesday

The finale of 'The Oprah Winfrey show' aired Wednesday, ending the talk show queen's 25-year run on the air.
May 24, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
The finale of "The Oprah Winfrey show" aired Wednesday, ending the talk show queen's 25-year run on the air.

In the final episode, Oprah Winfrey was on stage alone, telling her viewers what they've meant to her over the years.

Speaking to the camera with tears in her eyes, she said, "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."

Oprah shared 25 years worth of memories, starting with her very first show.

"No publicist advising me, no stylist, there was no hair and makeup team, just a jheri curl and a bad fur coat," she recalled as a video clip ran of her first day on the job.

Oprah has come a long way since then. Her secret has been to just be herself, which allowed others to be themselves.

Die hard Oprah fans gathered at the JW Marriott in downtown Los Angeles for a finale viewing party. They reflected on why Oprah means so much to them.

With tears in her eyes, Jody Schneider said the television icon has had a huge impact on her life.

"She's made it better," Schneider said. "She taught me and made me grow, made me a better person."

Oprah shared some final words of wisdom.

"Start embracing the life that is calling you and use your life to serve the world," she said.

While no one was on the stage with Winfrey for the finale, the audience included celebrities as well as Winfrey's most treasured guests, family and friends. That included her fourth grade teacher and the talk show legend's longtime partner, Stedman Graham.

"It was a very spiritual show. That show in itself, you should just play that back over and over because the messages were so powerful," Graham said.

Leading up to the grand finale has been a star-studded affair with a number of celebrity sendoffs.

Now that this chapter of her life is over, Oprah is looking to dial back on that energy and find a sense of calm.

"What I really want to do is get to a place where I can be still and take this in, because it's hard when you're in it and doing it every day to wrap your brain around it," she said. "When I've had my peace with the ending of the show I will take time and be still."

Oprah hopes to find that stillness on a big boat that belongs to a good friend.

"I'm going to catch a ride on that, hang out, read some plays and think about the future and what I want to do, maybe Broadway," she said. "For a while, I'm going to relax."

Oprah announced in November 2009 that she would end her popular talk show after decades on air. She taped her last episode Tuesday in Chicago.

Her company, Harpo Productions, will continue to produce television shows. The-best-of "Oprah" shows will be broadcast all summer.

"I won't' say goodbye," she said, "I'll say until we meet again."


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