Oprah Winfrey said “good-bye” to millions of viewers this week after 25 years on the air.
Oprah, started her meteoric rise to the top of Daytime TV in September 1985, when in less that a year she turned AM Chicago, a “faltering half-hour morning program on WLS-TV into the hottest show in town”. The result, The Oprah Winfrey Show was born. The rest is as they say “history”.
Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress in Steven Spielberg’s film The Color Purple, creator of “Oprah’s Book Club” known for propelling authors to the top of the bestseller’s lists, co-founder of Oxygen Media, a company dedicated to producing programming for women, publisher of O: The Oprah Magazine, inventor of Oprah’s Angel Network, responsible for raising more than $51,000,000 for charitable programs including founder of The Leadership Academy for Girls and owner of Harpo Productions and The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), Ms. Winfrey according to Forbes Magazine is “the richest African American of the 20th Century and the world’s only Black billionaire for three years running.” Additionally in 2005, Business Week named her “the greatest Black philanthropist in American history.” (See Oprah’s Biography)
It is a fact that Oprah has touched us all with her warm encouragement to “Live Your Best LIfe,” and on May 17, 2011, approximately 13,000 people packed Chicago’s United Center to say “Thank you.” “Surprise Oprah! A Farewell Spectacular”, a star-studded farewell party for the Queen of Daytime TV featured guests and performances by many of today’s biggest names. Tom Hanks and Tom Cruise started off the festivities, followed by The Black Eyed Peas, The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, Halle Berry, Madonna, Beyonce, Queen Latifah, Usher, Michael Jordan, Diane Sawyer, Maria Shriver, Josh Grobin, Stevie Wonder, Jaime Foxx, Racal Flatts, Simon Cowell, Rosie O’Donald and of course, BFF Gail King (just to name a few).
Since her humble beginnings, Oprah’s accomplishments have enabled her to join an elite group of Americans inducted into the Academy of Achievement. She has also been the recipient of numerous other awards, including the NAACP Image Award, The Bob Hope Humanitarian Award and was a 2010 Kennedy Center Honors Recipient.
Tom Hanks welcomed Oprah to her surprise party by telling her “Today you are surrounded by nothing but love.” Oprah responded “I feel the love.” Once again, I think she spoke for us all.