CHICAGO (AP) — Oprah Winfrey ended her famous talk show Wednesday by telling her viewers of 25 years that they weren’t saying goodbye.

“I won’t say goodbye, I’ll just say until we meet again,” Winfrey said.

She hugged and kissed her longtime partner Stedman Graham and shook hands with audience members before walking through the halls of Harpo Studios in Chicago, hugging and crying with her staff.

Winfrey shouted “We did it!” The last shot of the finale showed Winfrey walking away with her cocker spaniel, Sadie.

Earlier Winfrey walked on stage to a standing ovation from her studio audience. She thanked the viewers for watching for a quarter of a century.

“Twenty-five years and I’m still saying, ‘Thank you America,”‘ Winfrey said. “Thank you so much. There are no words to match this moment.”

Winfrey told viewers that sometimes she was a teacher, but more often her viewers instructed her. She called Wednesday’s episode her “last class.”

The final “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” which was taped in Chicago on Tuesday, opened with a clip from her first show.

Winfrey was the only person on stage with little background music and very short flashback clips.

“When she came out, her appearance, the way she stepped on stage and the message she brought (was) about finding yourself, your purpose,” said audience member Wanda Nash, 47, of Chicago, an executive assistant and foster parent. “It was all about Oprah.”

Some fans across the country planned parties for the finale. Sharon Evans, 53, of Chicago had pancakes with her mother and girlfriends.

“She was very subdued today and I appreciated that she was taking that last hour not to showcase any celebrities or favorite things,” Evans said. “It was truly what she said, a love letter to us.”

Winfrey announced in November 2009 that she would end her popular talk show after 25 years.

Tuesday’s taping came a week after Hollywood A-listers and 13,000 fans bid Winfrey farewell in a double-episode extravaganza at Chicago’s United Center. The shows that aired Monday and Tuesday included Aretha Franklin, Tom Cruise, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jordan and Madonna, among other stars of television, music and movies. They were just a few of the approximately 30,000 guests who have appeared on the show over 25 years.

The bare-bones final taping nevertheless had its share of celebrities in the audience including Tyler Perry, Maria Shriver, Suze Orman and Cicely Tyson. None of them joined Winfrey on stage.

There were 404 audience members, according to Harpo Productions. The show received 1.4 million ticket requests throughout its final season, the company said.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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Comments (47)
  1. Dawn says:

    I have watched Oprah’s long good-bye and compared her with other people in the public eye who retired, ended their show, bowed out of public life, or died. This is soooo “over-the-top.” It is shamelessly self promoting…..days or Oprah reacting to seeing the results of her good deeds.

    There are public servants who worked tirelessly for our country almost all of their lives. Civil rights legislation, conflicts that did not develop into wars, and grain deals that saved the lives of millions of people were some of their contributions to the world. When they retired or passed away, the tributes were nothing like what is going on day after day with the Oprah Winfrey Show. God comes in a distant second to Oprah.

    Days of Oprah reacting to people reacting to Oprah are geared toward consolidating Oprah viewers so that they will get cable contracts and follow her after she leaves network television. As Oprah said: “It is not good-bye.”

  2. AU fan says:

    You guys are pathetic. One of the most influential women in the world coming from a trailer in Mississippi. Don’t be jealous because she is successful. Quit asking for help and work on developing yourself without expecting someone else to help you out.

    1. Julie says:

      let’s not forget, it wasn’t Oprah who gave away all those nice items to her audience for a “feel good” momment, that thanks goes to “Big Bad Corporate”… Oprah loved to steal the credit and her fans bought it.

      1. Sandra says:

        I’m not jealous because she’s successful, that she is.

        It’s that she’s so phony!! Look what I”m giving you…. um, no, it’s a major corporation…

  3. Heather says:

    All good things must come to an end…………….LOL
    vajayjay – oh that’s good stuff

  4. pat says:

    I am heartened to see the comments above, as I have felt the same way about Oprah, yes she is a story of poor makes good and that is just fine, but she has made her billions in a capitalistic society, yet is extremely liberal and socialistic in her political views, I guess it is all right for her to be rich, but not anyone else. She will never leave the limelight, after all she has a 2012 election to influence. Her followers are just that, followers and whatever she says they do, or buy, or buy into. When these women elevated Ms. Winfrey to a status in their lives higher than Christ, they were lost.

    1. clvgb says:

      My goodness, Pat, but aren’t you being just a bit hypocritical by assuming everyone believes as you do regarding an entity called “Christ”? It’s not hard to elevate a real person “higher than” some fairy-tale character. At least Oprah is a real person and not some mythological character who can do no wrong. And why are you criticizing someone who is a follower? Isn’t that what you are regarding “Christ”?

  5. Dave says:

    Good riddance. Unfortunately, she won’t really disappear.

    1. MARK says:

      She will if you don’t turn your TV to the channel she’s on.

  6. v says:

    You know…. like her or not. Watch her or not (which I never have)… for you to have the time (and nothing better to do) than post a bigoted, hate comment shows what a waste of oxygen you are. Asset to society? Try a cancer and poor use of biology. Why don’t you and your white trash bitty get yourselves fixed and spare the world from your ignorant offspring.

    1. @ V says:

      Sorry twins game im going to doesnt start til 12;10 and its a 20min drive only so i thought id comment on this why not. Yea its called vacation time normal working citizens get that, I don’t think i need to be fixed my children eat and play sports and are clean, I’m not the 1 running around having kids every other year that some1 else pays for, i know you think its cool to breed like animals non-stop, perhaps i’l drive through north on my way home to make me feel even better about my life…………ahhahaha

      1. yep says:

        Damn it. I hate day Twins games. They make traffic a nightmare at rush hour if the weather is bad or the game goes long…

  7. clvgb says:

    Nice, Sarah. They say whatever you find fault with in someone else is what you secretly find fault with in yourself. Hippo..???

    1. Debra says:

      yeah……….Sarah is a house!

      1. Sarah2 says:

        @ Debra

        For the folks that missed my comment because WCCO eraased it, still holds true….

        Last night I was watching Hippo, I mean Oprah…

  8. Gail says:

    Can’t stand her – she looks like Skeletor with jugs.
    Even with a Chef and Personal trainer – she couldn’t keep her weight in check. Come on girlfriend!

    1. Jim says:

      What’s your excuse?

      1. Gail says:

        Jim – why don’t you reach down a touch your vajayjay

    2. DW says:

      Not everyone can be skinny. It sounds like you are quite judgemental. Sounds like you should have watched her show. Sounds like you need to learn a little respect of others.

  9. Joey Tee says:

    Oprah is so full of herself, I am surprised her head doesnt explode.

  10. mary atkins says:


    Oprah is fondly referred to in our home as “Saint Oprah”!!! No one person should have the power to makie or break someone else and enjoy doing it. I am so glad it is over…….

  11. yep says:

    It i too bad the audience is all hand picked celebrities and other rich people. I always enjoyed the giveaway shows which is what I thought this would be but knowing who’s in the audience makes it less fun to me.

  12. Heather says:

    In the last 25 years, Oprah has been responsible for funding the education of 60,000 + students. However you feel about Oprah, your perceptions of her audience, or the culture of celebrity in general, Oprah’s advocacy for education and literacy has been a major contribution to our society. I’m not surprised when people are critical of Oprah, there are aspects of her “be your best self” message that can be problematic, but I was surprised by the nature of some of these comments, which I find racist, ignorant, and just plain mean-spirited. Come on Minnesotans, we are smarter and more thoughtful than this!

    1. get a grip says:

      Racist? Umm…. where?

      1. Heather says:

        blahblah’s comment above.

        1. Heather says:

          I can’t believe it hasn’t been deleted by a moderator.

          1. Tired of Minnesota says:

            @V is a racist pig too.

  13. Jonas says:

    smart-ass, insecure racist bigots just crawled out of the dung pile for this article. And in such force. May you all wallow in self pity and hate together.

    1. Mark says:

      get off the Planet……..

      1. Jim says:

        Mark, you mad? Does Oprah tick you off? Does she make you want to strangle a mountain lion? You should get some help with that anger before your head pops right off.

        1. Mark says:

          Jim – you ask a lot of questions. I hope you have better luck on the GED test the second time

  14. We says:

    Finally I thought this day would never come!

  15. Tired of Minnesota says:

    Wow – they are more racists in Minnesota than I think people want to admit.

    1. Tired of Minnesota says:

      oops – “there are” not “they”

  16. Victim Du Jour says:

    Oprah Winfrey is a fascist, and her show has been terrorizing families with psycho-babble and Social Workers for 25 years.

    1. MARK says:

      It’s funny that you have no idea what the word “fascist” means yet you don’t feel ashamed to post it on the internet. You should spend more time reading and less time surfing the internet.

      1. Victim Du Jour says:

        HARPO is a corporation, just like CBS and it promotes Health and Human Services.

        Like Eisenhowers military industrial complex speech, only for the Department of Health and Human Services.

        I know exactly what fascism is.

  17. Victim Du Jour says:

    People who watch Oprah sit at home all day eating Twinkies, and Peanut M&Ms.

    “It’s my Dads fault I’m fat!”

    1. MARK says:

      Psychologists call this “projection.” Look into it.

      1. Victim Du Jour says:

        Psychology is junk science by the way, it’s based on opinions and does not hold up to any scientific testing or standards.

        It’s more like a religion, that’s why they show people in Oprah’s audience holding up their arms with the same look as someone at a televangelist healing someone.

        1. King says:

          Victim, you got to pull your head out of your a$$.

  18. rat82 says:

    It is so sad to see people adore a human being who only furthered their career and financial standing by exposing and parading pathetic losers who wanted to be on TV. They were looking for help and to help others (bull) I want to meet Oprah and be on TV. How sad, these people are idolized when parents, social workers, pastors,police and firefighters and neighbors who love, mold, support and really care they don’t look for or ask for recognition. God bless all these hero’s we should admire, not a TV or Movie or music star. Shame on anyone who follows what these fools say.

  19. Victim Du Jour says:

    Oprah is a Televangalist Minister, and the people in her audience look the same as people in an audience watching someone paralyzed in a wheel chair standing up and yelling “Praise the lord!! I’ve been healed!”

  20. big O fan says:

    Thanks Oprah for the 25 years of your show. It was worth it to you and to me and a lot of other people in this world. Thanks for making many peoples lives better.

  21. Peggy says:

    Oprah has left the building. Some good shows but she is SO full of herself!

  22. Dawn says:

    I watched Oprah’s last show, and I took time to reflect on the impact that Oprah has had on our country during the past 25 years. Oprah has addressed important topics on her show, and she has helped many deserving people.

    I really think Oprah should have thrown a big Chicago-style party in Grant Park with a show featuring her celebrity friends, to be taped and televised. About 1 million people would have been able to attend, and the event would have been a people’s party.

    I wish Oprah well.

  23. L says:

    i dont watch oprah, just isnt my thing, whether it is yours or not, she can go out as she wishes. i saw a bit on the news and i thought it was too much like a funeral, eulogizing herself while she is alive. she’s done good, she’s done taken some credit for things beyond her pocketbook as in corporate donations it just is what it is. over.

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