Note: This article was written by an Associated Content Contributor. To become a Contributor and start publishing your own articles, click here to sign up at Associated Content.
As the "Oprah Winfrey Show" begins its 25th and final season, surely the talk show hostess will end her run with a bang. Big name stars such as Liza Minnelli, Jon Stewart, and Martha Stewart will appear on the final season, according to BroadwayWorld.com. "The Oprah Winfrey Show" has had more than 5,000 episodes, but these guests stand out as the most prominent. Some are well-known celebrities, while others were just ordinary people who did extraordinary things.
On Oprah's season premiere of her 20th season, the queen of interviews got the big one: Oprah had Jennifer Aniston sit down and talk about her life after the famous divorce from Brad Pitt in January 2005. Amongst other things, People magazine says, Aniston talked about yoga, moving on, and dating. Later on in the show, Oprah announced she was donating $10 million to help victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Dr. Phil McGraw
During the Amarillo Texas beef trial in which Oprah was sued for libel, she was so impressed by Dr. Phil McGraw's company that she touted him on the "Oprah Winfrey Show" every Tuesday starting in April 1998. Four years later, McGraw started his own show. Winfrey's success would continue with Dr. Oz, who created his own show after several appearances as well.
Michael Jackson finally sat down with Oprah Winfrey on February 10, 1993, in what would be her most-watched interview. Years later she reflected that it was one of the most memorable interviews she had ever done. One of the poignant moments was when Jackson told her how much he missed being a normal kid. Instead of playing in the park like anyone his age, he would be in the recording studio working. Hence Jackson's Neverland Ranch that he created as a monument to all things a child would want.
Before he was the president-elect, Barack Obama sat down with Oprah Winfrey several times. Obama even did an interview for her magazine in November 2004 when he was just a senator from Illinois. Oprah even said long before Obama was considering a run that she would rather support Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton even though Clinton had already announced her candidacy.
Johnny Lee Clary
Oprah hosted religious leader Johnny Lee Clary and interviewed him about his background. What is most amazing and shocking at the same time is Clary's childhood when he chose to join the Ku Klux Klan and eventually became the organization's Imperial Wizard. Since then he has become a motivational speaker about forgiveness and tolerance as it relates to Christianity.
James Frey was an author who had written a book titled A Million Little Pieces as an autobiographical work regarding drugs and rehab. It turns out many of the instances in the book were fabricated. Initially Oprah loved the book and had Frey on her show. Later, after she had discovered the truth, she confronted Frey. He was summarily dropped from his publisher.
Children of 9/11
One of the most gripping and touching shows to watch was six years after the September 11 terrorist attacks when Oprah Winfrey hosted some of the children who lost parents that day. Some interviews she conducted at a summer camp specifically held for children who have lost their parents. Other children she hosted in her studio. Either way, these kids showed courage and heart that made every person watching want to reach out and hug every one of them.
Zachary Collinger and his younger sister had just lost their mother to lung cancer in 1997 when Oprah invited them to her show. Collinger met author Mitch Albom on the show when he was just 13, and the talk show diva had told him that it was one of her favorite shows. In a recent interview with the website Parent Dish, Collinger writes his own column about how the show seemed to be "highbrow exploitation" to him and offered him no real solutions. Five years later, he came back to appear as one of her "favorite guests" alongside Sidney Poitier and Nelson Mandela. Collinger explains that he felt he didn't earn anything just because his mother died when he was a young teenager.
In addition to opening an academy for girls in South Africa, Oprah Winfrey has interviewed Nelson Mandela for her show and magazine multiple times. Winfrey remembers vividly the day he was released from prison and then getting to meet and interview him a few years later. Mandela was completely undeterred in his quest for a peaceful end to Apartheid, which inspired Winfrey to open her academy.
Brad Pitt has been on the show more than once. His most recent take was in 2008 when he was promoting "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" and he spoke about his relationship with Angelina Jolie and having children. Pitt's previous interview was in 2004 before he and Jennifer Aniston broke up.
Yahoo! TV, "Oprah Winfrey Show Television Show", tv.yahoo.com.
BWW News Desk, "Minnelli to Guest on 'Oprah' in Final Season", BroadwayWorld.com.
Silverman, Stephen M., "Jennifer Aniston Opens Up to Oprah", People magazine.
Dr. Phil Show, "Dr. Phil: Bio & TV Show Info", DrPhilShow.com.
Oprah.com, "Barack Obama's Oprah Show Appearances"
Winfrey, Oprah, "Oprah Talks to Barack Obama", Oprah.com.
Clary, Johnny Lee, "Rocky Mount News", JohnnyLee Clary.com.
Oprah.com, "The Children of September 11"
Oprah.com, "Children of 9/11 Remember"
Collinger, Zachary G. "Oprah Winfrey's Favorite Guest Talks About Life Without the 'Oprah Effect'", ParentDish.com.
Winfrey, Oprah, "Oprah Talks to Nelson Mandela", Oprah.com.
Oprah.com, "Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett"