CHICAGO, IL (CBS/AP) – After 25 years on the air, Oprah Winfrey ended her famous talk show on Wednesday by sharing memories, reflecting on life lessons and thanking fans for coming along on the journey with her.
The episode featured no guests – just Winfrey herself, standing alone on stage. It opened with a clip from her first show, and she then spent the hour showing favorite clips from throughout the years and recounting what she’s learned during the show’s quarter-century run.
She told viewers that sometimes she was a teacher – calling her show “the world’s biggest classroom” – but more often her viewers instructed her. She called Wednesday’s episode her “last class.”
Among the life lessons she shared was, “You are responsible for the energy you create for yourself, and the energy you bring to others. Don’t wait for somebody else to save you, to complete you, to fix you.”
“Each one of you has your own platform. You can help somebody, you can listen, you can forgive,” she said. “My greatest wish for all of you … is that you carry whatever you are supposed to be doing and don’t waste any more time.”
She also thanked viewers for watching throughout the show’s 25 years.
“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.”
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 Center. The shows that aired 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. On Wednesday, Winfrey called the event “a love intervention on steroids.”
Winfrey ended Wednesday’s show by saying she felt “all sweet, no bitter.”
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“I won’t say goodbye,” she told fans. “I’ll just say until we meet again.”
Winfrey then stepped off the stage and through the audience and hugged and kissed longtime partner Stedman Graham before walking through the halls of Harpo Studios in Chicago, hugging, crying and high-fiving members of her staff.
She shouted “We did it!” The last shot of the finale showed Winfrey walking away with her cocker spaniel, Sadie.
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