Oprah Winfrey ended her famous talk show today by telling her viewers of 25 years that they were not saying goodbye.
“I’ll just say until we meet again,” Winfrey said.
She hugged and kissed her 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 the 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.
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 favourite things,” she 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.
The taping came a week after Hollywood A-listers and 13,000 fans bid Winfrey farewell in a double-episode extravaganza at Chicago’s United Centre. The shows that aired on 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 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.