Oprah Winfrey, the American talk show host and 'Queen' of daytime television, looked stunned as soul legend Aretha Franklin delivered a touching tribute to her in Chicago last night (17th May 2011). Oprah Winfrey was joined by 13,000 fans and a number of high-profile celebrities for the taping of two shows at the city's United Centre.
The shows, dubbed, 'Surprise Oprah! A Farewell Spectacular', saw legends of stage and screen pay tribute to the daytime television host, whose final show airs next week. Despite appearances from Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise, Halle Berry and Madonna, it was Aretha's appearance on stage that seemed to shock Winfrey the most. The soul icon sang 'Amazing Grace' followed by a rousing gospel number that had the audience on their feet. Earlier in the show, Hanks had told the talk show host, "You are surrounded by nothing but love. Thank you for what The Oprah Winfrey Show has meant for our lives". The star-studded guests paid tribute to Oprah for her humanitarian and charity work, and it was revealed that 64,688 children are currently in school because of Winfrey's efforts alone. According to the 57-year-old's spokeswoman, there were 13,000 boxes of Kleenex tissues in the venue, one for each audience member.
Last night's shows will air on 23rd May and 24th May, while the final episode of 'The Oprah Winfrey Show' will air on 25th May 2011. Guests for the host's final farewell remain a closely guarded secret.