Oprah Winfrey bows out with simplicity, gratitude

Wed May 25, 2011 1:43pm EDT
 
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By Matthew Lewis

CHICAGO (Reuters) - No guests, no makeovers, no giveaways.

Oprah Winfrey kicked off her last-ever original episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" by telling a studio audience that the broadcast would be a simple, celebrity-free affair focused on what her audience has meant to her.

"You and this show have been the great love of my life," a tearful Winfrey told viewers in "The Oprah Winfrey Finale," taped before a studio audience of 400 on Tuesday afternoon and broadcast on Wednesday morning.

"This last show is really about me saying thank you," she said. "It is my love letter to you."

Wearing a simple pink dress, Winfrey took the stage to a standing ovation and showed clips from some of her earliest broadcasts while sharing her gratitude and life lessons with viewers.

"Thank you, America. There are no words to match this moment."

Winfrey, 57, was a pioneer in the art of confessional television and in promoting discussion of formerly taboo subjects including incest, rape, sexual abuse and depression.

"The Oprah Winfrey Show" also became the go-to place for celebrities and politicians to promote new ventures and to apologize publicly for their indiscretions.   Continued...

 
<p>Oprah Winfrey walks on stage for a panel during the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) Television Critics Association winter press tour in Pasadena, California January 6, 2011. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>