Tom Cruise, Will Smith, Beyoncé Knowles, and Countless More Bid Farewell to Oprah With Music, Comedy, and Tears
A whole range of celebrity guests turned out for the Oprah! A Farewell Spectacular in Chicago yesterday. It was a huge event, at the city's United Center, organized to tape the second- and third-to-last episodes of Oprah's long-running TV show that will air on May 23 and 24. The guest list ranged from performers like Alicia Keys and Beyoncé Knowles, singing her new single "Run the World (Girls)."Tom Hanks played host for the first of two hours of taping, and he introduced the show by saying, "Now Oprah, I know you don't like surprises. Let me see if I can put you at ease. There was an English playwright who said there's no surprise more magical than the surprise of being loved, and that is what tonight is all about." The second 60-minute segment was emceed by Will Smith, on a break from shooting Men in Black 3, and Jada Pinkett Smith. Oprah's 12-time guest Tom Cruise stepped onto the stage to the theme-tune from Mission Impossible, saying, "You always had the power [to change lives], and that is the lesson you brought."
Even Maria Shriver turned out despite the scandal brewing over her estranged husband, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the revelation he fathered a child outside their marriage 10 years ago. Maria made a heartfelt speech to Oprah, thanking her for the gifts of truth and wisdom. There were also 13,000 fans in the audience to see the proceedings — one guy apparently even proposed to his girlfriend before the festivities began! There were plenty of surprises in store, including a comedy set from Jerry Seinfeld. He had the crowd cracking up with quips like, "To be here at the United Center and not be at a Bulls Game!? This is like a dream a disoriented husband would tell a shrink: I was at a Bulls game packed with fans and somehow it all changed to the Oprah show." The shocks kept coming with tributes from Dakota Fanning, Halle Berry, Josh Groban, Rosie O'Donnell, Jamie Foxx, Usher, and a cameo from Oprah's long-term boyfriend Stedman Graham! Stedman spoke sweetly of his lady love, commenting, " I love you for making a difference in my life." All of the affection eventually got to Oprah, who broke down in tears. She wrapped things up by saying, "Thank you for taking me to a place that is beyond joyous — It feels like the rapture."