UPDATED 05/18/11 6:08 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — Oprah Winfrey says she is just living in the moment, trying to take in the magnitude of her final days of her talk show reign.
Last night at the United Center, a star-studded lineup surprised the TV icon during a special taping of two of her final three shows.
On Wednesday, Winfrey thanked her friends and family during brunch at her favorite restaurant, Table 52.
CBS 2’s Suzanne LeMignot caught up with Winfrey to get her reaction to all the love and accolades as she winds up her quarter-century run.
‘I am still trying to wrap my brain around what last night was,” Winfrey said. “It was such a full-on love festival. It really was.”
“That was an entire United Center, filled with people who were all saying the show has meant something to them and that what we have done in this city, in this country with the show, has mattered to people and that is what meant so much to me, the work has mattered.
“All of it was a surprise. Tom Hanks was a surprise, Tom Cruise was a surprise. Madonna was surprise. The men of Morehouse, biggest surprise.”
415 men graduated from Morehouse, through Winfrey’s generosity, and they were at the UC to thank her. Corey Presley, who is also Oprah’s cousin, was one of them.
“You want to pay it forward,” said Presley. “Every time you sit down with her, you say, ‘You know what? I’ve got to go save the world. I’ve got to go help somebody else and do for somebody else, what she’d done for me.’ ”
Oprah held her thank you brunch at the restaurant co-owned by her one time personal chef, Art Smith.
“I’m just a cook and I’ve just had the privilege to cook for one of the most amazing women, in American history,” Smith said.
Fans gathered outside Table 52 to catch a glimpse of their hero, who stopped to chat and sign autographs.
“All of us are sad and saying goodbye to the show, but this is her new beginning,” said fan Victoria King.