Oprah, A-List Celebrities Wow Crowd At United Center

UPDATED 05/18/11 10:53 a.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — Screaming fans packed the United Center Tuesday evening, as Oprah Winfrey gathered a star-studded cast together for one of her last shows.

As CBS 2’s Kristyn Hartman reports, Oprah’s A-list guest list – a secret until the show began – did not disappoint.

Tom Hanks was among the first to appear.

“From Harpo to Hollywood, pulling off this little party at the United Center has been, oh gosh, one of the best-kept secrets on the planet,” Hanks said. “Some might say pulling off this party is, in fact, darn near a mission impossible.”

Tom Cruise came out next. Afterward, Patti LaBelle sang a Gospel-tinged version of “Somewhere over the Rainbow” along with Josh Groban, Madonna talked about what an inspiration Oprah is, and Beyonce gave a song and dance tribute to Oprah-inspired girl power.

The audience of about 30,000 went wild, just like it did outside in line.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Regine Schlesinger reports

“Oprah is such a warm person; I love her giving. That’s what really brought me out here, because she has such a heart to give,” one woman said.

Will and Jada Pinkett Smith also made an appearance. And while the show forced the Bulls to remove their hardwood playing floor and push Game 2 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat to Wednesday, the most famous name associated with the Bulls was in the house that he built back in the 1990s.

That’s right, Michael Jordan appeared alongside Oprah Winfrey too.

The list goes on – Halle Berry, Queen Latifah, Aretha Franklin, Jerry Seinfeld, Simon Cowell, Dakota Fanning, Katie Holmes, Diane Sawyer. Stevie Wonder and Jamie Foxx sang “Isn’t She Lovely,” and Rascal Flatts and Usher also performed.

Maria Shriver also made an appearance, in the wake of revelations that her husband, former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, fathered a child more than 10 years ago with a woman who worked in his household.

Shriver did not address the controversy when she appeared onstage with Oprah’s best friend, Gayle King, but she did say Winfrey had given her “love, support, wisdom and most of all the truth.” Shriver said she knew she wasn’t “alone in receiving those gifts.”

Ally Wentworth, Lisa Ling, Carson Kressley of “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” fame, and Bob Greene – the fitness guru, not the former Chicago Tribune columnist – were in the audience, as was recently-retired Mayor Richard M. Daley, according to the Melbourne Herald Sun.

Also in the audience, CBS 2 producer Beth Godvik and her husband, Ken Jennings.

“It was fun; the best part was Jerry Seinfeld, because he talked about what all us men go through watching Oprah and our wives, and how we should listen to Oprah, and our wives,” Jennings said.

Godvik described the experience.

“It was the best free concert – and who’s going to have this lineup again, and for free?” she said.

The doors to the United Center opened late, leaving the entry “not quite as smooth as possible,” Godvik said.

“But the good thing is that you make friends in line, so everyone’s like, ‘Oh, your outfit looks great; I love your shoes; where are you from?” Godvik said.

Once everyone did get in, the show was spectacular, Godvik said.

“There were so many great people; I think everybody was collective gasp when Aretha Franklin came out. She looked great. She was in all white; just looked gorgeous, and then sang ‘Amazing Grace,’ and she’s doing all the runs and everything we all wish we could do. Beyonce was just amazing, and then at the end, Usher was just so fantastic. He started with his ‘OMG’ song, and then went into ‘Happy Day,’ and everyone started singing along,” Godvik said. “It was a good time; it was a great spirit.”

The party kept going even after the cameras stopped rolling at the United Center.

Oprah and her A-list celebrity friends- including her Chicago talk show replacement – Rosie O’Donnell, Rascal Flatts, and Dr. Phil headed to the Four Seasons hotel for the after-party, which went on into the wee hours of the morning.

Tuesday’s taping will comprise two shows, which will air Monday and Tuesday of next week, before Winfrey’s final show on Wednesday, May 25. After she leaves the air for good, Rosie O’Donnell will begin taping a show at Winfrey’s Harpo Studios, 1058 W. Washington Blvd.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • Dylan

    I don’t get what all these women see in Oprah. She is just a TALK SHOW HOST. How much talent is needed for that? Talking is hard job. Can’t wait for her to get out of town (Take Daley, Gale, Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz with you.) and then maybe these women viewers will go and get a job, a real life, or get in the kitchen and make me a sandwich. These same viewers probably watch all these other dumb programs – Housewives – bunch of dumb women with rich husbands and how they spend their money – Next top model – this is another tough one – wearing clothes and walking.
    Bye Oprah and don’t let the door hit you on the way out

    • Tairris

      does your mother LIKE YOU!????????

    • Your mom is mine

      Dr. Oz is in new york and Dr. Phil is in LA dum dum.

    • Drew

      Poor little Dylan. Wants–indeed, expects!–today’s women to be subservient, dumb, knocked up and cooking meals for a man, presumably as God intended. Males like Dylan are truly effective arguments for sexual abstinence or, at the very least, birth control.

      By the way, Oprah won’t have to worry about any doors hitting her on the way out. Rest assured someone will eagerly open the door for her. Class, grace and a loving heart generates kind gestures from others. But you wouldn’t know anything about this, would you Dylan? You’d be lucky if someone offered to spit on you if you were on fire.

      • Miss Presley

        Drew, I don’t think I could’ve said it any better….Oh and Dylan, you really should thank Drew for enlightening you…or at least TRYING.

      • Goodbye Vajayjay!!!

        Nice alias Drew. You are obviously a feMALE.

    • Roberta Waker

      “Jealousy, night and day you torture me”. Sound familiar, Dylan? Bet you couldn’t be a talk show host; it DOES take talent and smarts to be able to talk with these A-listers and have them trust you. Oprah has brought a lot of women’s issues to the forefront like abuse, incest, various illnesses, and too many more to list. She WILL be missed. If you know so much about the shows you are slamming, you must have watched them. What’s great about freedom is you can change the channel, turn off the tv, or ignore fools like you.

  • Laughing


  • O WOW

    Can you say H8TR???

    • Goodbye Vajayjay!!!

      Can you spell it??? “O WOW”???

  • Sharon

    Dylan — you obviously don’t have a “woman” around to make you a sandwich (unless it’s your mom — they love their kids regardless). I work 50-60 hours per week and still “watch” Oprah at 11:00 pm when I finally get my relax time – that is “after I make MYSELF a sandwich!

    • Drew

      You tell him, Sharon!!!

      • Goodbye Vajayjay

        Yeah you tell him ladies. The fact that I emphasized the male part of female in my last reply really boils your hormones!!! Doesn’t it “”Drew!?!?””

  • Euro73

    If You will know JUST little bit about her life You will understand what people see in her…!!!

    • Goodbye Vajayjay!!!!

      Everyone knows more than a “little” about Oprah because its been shoved down our throats for 20 years. Stedman( the man she wont marry because of her own insecurities and distrust of all men), Gayle(who oprah probably has a more intimate relashionship with than stedman), Dr. Phil(who I’m sure worked hard to become doc but gets paid to tell stupid people common sense solutions to stupid problems), and Dr. Oz( who every other day tells us to look at our poop to see if we’re dying). I don’t even watch but know more than I ever cared too about her and her cronies. Sure she came from humble beginnings and was an African-American girl in the south, which assuredly had its disadvantages, but she self-promotes more than anyone and makes it seem like she broke away from the chains of slavery itself. Give me a freaking break. Stop acting like she changed the world. You all will survive when Oprah’s off TV and you’re watching some other blow hole tell you how to live your life this week. Guess what she doesn’t care about you unless you’re making her more money. Truth. Accept it.

  • Name

    Oprah should pay off my tuition loans

  • Pothead

    Oprah never gave an audience member anything. It was all donated by sponsors. Oprah opened a school in Africa for girls when she could have helped the women here in Chicago where she made all her money. Oprah is a farst.

    • Monica

      THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! for seeing the real Oprah. These crazy women in Chicago think she’s a goddess. All she does is give to middle-class white women – and she isn’t doing the giving. When she starts helping out her own community, you can talk about her doing some good. I think it’s really sad too that the Bulls had to have their playoff schedule re-arranged for her.

    • Drew

      Oprah Winfrey has given generously to deserving students in the Chicago area, in addition to providing college scholarships. She opened a school in South Africa to provide much needed educational support to girls who might otherwise have had to do without. Harpo Studios is located in Chicago, yet one cannot state that she made her money EXCLUSIVELY here. Do you recognize the difference between ‘local celeb’ vs. ‘international star’? Her income derives from reaches far removed from the rather pompous city by the lake.

      Jealousy and bitterness are at the root of your message, and it doesn’t look attractive on you. Nor does your inability to spell correctly. ‘Farst’? It’s f-a-r-c-e. Spellcheck does have a purpose, you know. I suggest you become acquainted with it–the sooner the better.

      • Pothead

        Prove it.

      • Drew

        You’re to be admired, Sharon. It’s great to know people like you exist. It’s my hope that you’ll forever be blessed with good fortune, but it’s clear your value and appreciate what’s important in life. God’s best to you always.

        As for ‘Name’, believe when I write that I’m completely relaxed. I could care less was ‘Pothead’ calls himself. Ignorance is just that–ignorance. If you choose to put up with worthless praddle, fine. Most of it worthy of ignoring anyway; I’ll grant you that. Today wasn’t Pothead’s lucky day. Have a great afternoon. Oh, and THANK YOU!

      • Sharon

        Drew — right on!!! No room for jealousy at all — too much of it — if you don’t have the $$$$ to help others — why not just “pay it forward” in some other way — work in a soup kitchen — I used to volunteer at a Mission on Wabash Dr -you would be very thankful for what you do have – and be amazed at the extraordinary kindness and generosity of those that have absolutely nothing but their pride. In today’s world, that’s one of the hardest things to hold on to and keep because of all the jealousy & bitterness. Trust me, I know. I had it all and lost everything! Making it back little by little now ON MY OWN. Treat others as you would have them treat you.

      • Name

        Dude calm down. Didnt you see? It says Pothead above his/her comment. Let the individual live in peace. Thank you

  • The Cheese

    Don’t forget to close the door behind you on your way out Oprah. BUH-BYE!!

  • Just Me and the Dogs

    Oprah Winfrey is a woman who went through a hell of alot in her early life but she perservered, rose above and succeeded. She does not take that lightly and gives back to numerous charities and helps those in need. Can she help everyone? I’m sure she probably would if she could. Does everyone deserve her help? No! Those looking for a “hand out” just because she is successful and financially stable do not. I can only imagine the hoards of people looking for her help. Those that stand out as true achievers, as well as givers themselves are the ones she helps — God Bless her — I will miss her “feel good” and entertaining show.

    • Drew

      Well stated. Haters, be damned.

      • Mike

        You be damned.

  • Jacque

    Oprah is da bomb!

  • giving Oprah the middle finger

    oprah is a nobody..who cares??????? i wanna see the Bulls play!!!

    • Chicago

      I agree…… It was great having Oprah, but it’s time to go bye-bye!!

  • http://assetprotection365.com Gary Fales


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  • US Citizen


  • joe

    lisa morin is hot

  • Johana

    It is a pity to see the haters out in force dumping on Oprah and her fans…you bunch of pathetic losers…it tell me more about you then about Oprah.

    As for the fans that support her, when we see Oprah we are not blind we see a black, fat, ugly women a women that on the surface should have not made it…but she did and that story alone is inspiring. Why she is so influential? Why the goddess status? Well it not only being a good interviewer there are many that are good…her magic is her ability to do so in a way that is compassionate, intelligent and interesting..in the end you end up caring for whatever she shows.

    If you all think for a moment all legendary entertainers have one thing in common that is knowing what the audience wants..in the case of Oprah she never lost touch of the audience she knew what matter to people, she always knew the questions that was needed to be asked and asked them in a respectfully and classy matter..no screaming, no spinning.

    In the end the charities, the book club, the children schools…come secondary to the fact that she has touch million of viewers individually through the stories she decides to put on her show. If you compare the Oprah show to what you normally see on TV then you will understand why Oprah will be missed.

  • http://fresh1059.radio.com/2011/05/18/oprah-wows-united-center-with-madonna-tom-hanks-beyonce-will-smith-michael-jordan-omg/ Oprah WOWs United Center With: Madonna, Tom Hanks, Beyonce, Will Smith, And MICHAEL JORDAN… OMG!!

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  • j

    A lot about nothing, not impressed.

  • fugfuu

    Wow, Oprah is so so full of herself its amazing.

  • Sly

    Dont go away mad Oprah, just GO AWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!

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