Oprah tapes star-studded final shows
May 17, 2011 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- Oprah Winfrey took the stage at the United Center in a star-studded, surprise-filled event to wrap up her 25 years on television.
Thousands of fans packed the arena to tape two of Oprah's final three shows. The elements of those shows were a secret to Oprah until Tuesday night.
Oprah producers delivered on their promise of gathering the biggest names in Hollywood - and beyond - to surprise their boss for "Surprise Oprah! A Farewell Spectacular." The guest lineup included Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks, basketball legend Michael Jordan, Grammy-winners Madonna and Beyonce and film star Tom Cruise -- to name a few.
The minute the show started it was pandemonium
"Oprah, today you are surrounded by nothing but love," Hanks said, kicking off the event. "Your studio just wasn't big enough so here we are.
Oprah fans inside the United Center witnessed an end to an era as members of the audience for the final Oprah shows. And they got to say goodbye to in person.
It was a mission impossible as Tom Cruise arrived to send off the "queen of talk."
"You always had the power, and that is the message you brought into our lives," Cruise said.
The audience also got a double dose with a second show packed with celebrities.
"I know you don't have children of your own, but you have mothered millions," Jada Pinkett Smith told Oprah.
In a veiled reference to her current marital fiasco, Maria Shriver thanked Oprah for always telling the truth.
Periodic shouts of "we love you Oprah" made the event part revival; at other times it seems like a eulogy at the world's largest funeral, one attendee told ABC7.
People from all over the world were excited to be a part of the star-studded celebration, but they were sad to see Oprah go and they let their feelings be known.
"We're sad to see Oprah leave. We still can't believe it. So I dedicated my head to her," said Victoria King, who painted Oprah on her head.
"We have great tickets, great seats!" exclaimed an excited Nicole Bailey while waiting in line.
Earlier, Oscar winner Halle Berry, Dr Phil, Lisa Ling and Rosie O'Donnell were spotted leaving the Four Seasons in downtown Chicago to head to the show.
The lucky ticketholders started lining up around 3 p.m. Doors opened at 5 p.m. and the show taping began at 7 o'clock.
local, cheryl burton
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