Oprah Winfrey Show finale tapes at Harpo

May 24, 2011 8:36:56 PM PDT
Fans who got the last tickets to the last taping of The Oprah Winfrey Show couldn't believe their luck.

"I got this email and it was like, there are a few selected seats. You haven't been confirmed yet. Then I got a second email saying you have been confirmed for the taping. And then I googled every hoax, every smoking gun, every website. Is this a hoax?" Khadihah Black said.

Black, a former Chicagoan who flew in from Atlanta, was one of the 400 Oprah fans who got to attend the taping of the final The Oprah Winfrey Show, which is ending after 25 years. They lined up early outside Harpo Studios in the West Loop neighborhood.

While celebrities Tyler Perry, Maria Shriver, Cicely Tyson and Bob Greene attended the finale, audience members told ABC7 that a reflective Winfrey took the stage by herself for her final show.

For fans leaving Harpo Studios, the final taping served as Oprah's personal thank you for their loyalty over a quarter century.

"It was an homage to her career, things we gave her, things she gave us. It was beautiful. I cried all the way through," said fan Susie Spragg.

"She was on stage on her own, lovely dress with a sash, no guests, no surprises. It was really sweet," said Esther McCarthy as she left the show.

"I cried. And I say that because it takes a lot to make Suze Orman," said financial expert Suze Orman outside the studio after the taping. "The whole hour was perfection but when she walked off that stage and through those doors for the last time...that was a tear jerker."

"It was a very spiritual show. That show in itself, you should just play it back over and over because the messages were so powerful," said Stedman Graham, Oprah's longtime partner. "She hasn't missed a day of work. You have to be an incredible human being to do that."

Graham escorted Ms. Winfrey's fourth grade teacher out of the studio.

"Oh my, I'm so proud of her. She's really a teacher of the world because she reaches so many people on the TV," Mary Alice Duncan told ABC7.

"Every person she's touched, every life she's changed, every person she's educated. Oprah is a wonderful person, and you're gonna love this last show," said Richard Sher, former co-anchor.

It was the first time many of the audience members had attended a taping. They all filled out online forms and then waited.

"I didn't think I would have a chance, I had filled out something and I thought that's it. What do I see on Saturday morning but this email saying there's tickets to the last show. I'm like is this spam?" Suzanne Blight said. She drove in Tuesday morning from Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Jaquatte Williams drove 12 hours from Atlanta to the Tuesday taping at 1 p.m.

"Twenty-five year fan of Oprah and just wrote for months trying to get here. I wanted to be a part of this history. Very, very blessed to be here," said Williams.

The show handed out standing room only tickets, which is unusual since normally everyone in the audience gets a seat.

The Oprah Store, which is across the street from Harpo Studios at 37 N. Carpenter, is having its clearance sale. It will remain open until everything's gone.

Are you planning to watch the finale of The Oprah Winfrey Show? Email ABC7 your plans and tell us what kind of impact Oprah had on you.

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