Friday 9 December 2016

Oprah's OMGs. . .

Lisa Jewell on the 10 moments that cemented a place in history for the retiring queen of chat

Published 25/05/2011 | 05:00

After 25 years of her groundbreaking show, Oprah Winfrey will bid an emotional farewell to millions of viewers today.

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The highest-rated talk show in television history will come to a close after almost 5,000 episodes have aired across the world.

The show's early years were sometimes trashy and tabloid, like the competing shows of Sally Jesse Raphael and Montel Williams. Oprah did her fair share of cheating partner stories, but later developed a transforming kind of talk show. Along came the Angel Network, Oprah's Book Club and the spawning of Dr Phil's spin-off show (we can't quite forgive her for that one).

During this final week of episodes, Oprah will be given a star-studded send-off by Beyonce, Madonna, Tom Hanks and Stevie Wonder, amongst others, in a special tribute show. It will be another couple of months until we see the final episode here but we look back now at the moments from the show that got everyone talking.

Tom Cruise on the couch

It will haunt Tom Cruise to his dying day -- a moment of madness when he leapt up on Oprah's yellow couch to celebrate his love for Katie Holmes.

The footage quickly went viral and became a part of pop culture, but it wasn't great news for Tom Cruise's career -- the sofa-jumping sparked a run of bad publicity that he still hasn't recovered from.

Oprah and Gayle's road trip

Oprah roped in Gayle King, her best friend and editor-at-large at her magazine, to hit the road with her on a cross-country trip back in 2006.

Viewers tuned in to see what their friendship was like and if there was any truth to the internet rumour that just won't go away -- that the two are in a lesbian relationship.

OJ Simpson trial verdict

Cameras were rolling as Oprah's studio audience tensely waited to hear the OJ Simpson murder trial verdict back in 1995.

When the 'not guilty' verdict came in, around a dozen women leapt to their feet and praised the result.

The rest sat in shock and dismay but soon pulled themselves together for a heated debate which revealed a lot about race relations in America.

Car giveaway

Jumping up and down, screeching and crying greeted Oprah's announcement at the start of the 19th season that every member of the 276-strong audience was getting a brand new Pontiac car.

You've got to hand it to Oprah -- this was the mother of all publicity generators for her show.

The all-white county

How Oprah managed to remain cool when a redneck used the n-word during a discussion about race, we're still not sure.

The comment came during a show she filmed in Forsyth County, Georgia, in 1987 to find out why there were no black people living in the county (there hadn't been any there since 1912).

Hugh Jackman nearly comes a cropper

Aussie star Hugh gamely chose to zip line over the crowd at Oprah's Sydney Opera House show last year.

Hugh managed to crash into a lighting rig at high speed and injured his eye -- though it could have been a lot worse.

Elizabeth Taylor's freeze-out

Even the best interviewers have their bad days as Oprah found out when she sat down with Elizabeth Taylor for what she thought would be a frank discussion.

Liz obviously hadn't got that memo as she gave short grumpy answers and wouldn't talk about her eight marriages.

Apparently she was in bad form that day due to hip pain.

James Frey gets owned

You don't want to make Oprah mad as author James Frey found out in 2006. His book, A Million Little Pieces, was picked for Oprah's Book Club but was later discovered to be fictionalised in parts.

Oprah got him on the show and whopped his ass in an interview that Larry King called an "annihilation".

Michael Jackson talks

Oprah could get pretty much get any A-lister on to her show but it was a massive coup to get the King of Pop to agree to do an interview.

Oprah gave him a good grilling about his eccentric life, his appearance and his odd upbringing.

Jacko came out of the show looking a little less wacko but seemed like the loneliest man in the world.

The fat in the wagon

Poor old Oprah -- her weight has yo-yo'ed up and down for 25 years while the whole world has watched.

But back in 1988, she thought she finally had it sussed.

She wheeled out a little red wagon and showed off a plastic bag on it that contained 67lbs of fat -- the same amount of weight she'd lost during a four month crash diet.

But it didn't take long for the fat to pile back on. Within two days, the skinny size-10 jeans that she'd worn on the show no longer buttoned up.

Oprah reflects on that episode, "Nobody knew at the time that that would be the most watched show ever in the history of our shows -- the fat in the wagon."

The Oprah Winfrey Show is on TV3 at 1.15pm weekdays

Irish Independent

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