Celebrities Bid Oprah Farewell at Chicago Show

Oprah Winfrey, Tom Cruise, Patti LaBelle, Josh ... AP

Hollywood’s A-list celebrities are bidding a star-studded farewell to Oprah Winfrey.

Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks, Madonna and Beyonce were atChicago’sUnitedCenteron Tuesday night for double-taping of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” as it approaches its finale next week. Winfrey received a standing ovation from about 13,000 fans.

Josh Groban and Patti LaBelle sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” as Winfrey sat in a white chair onstage.

Madonna told the crowd she is among the millions of people who are inspired by Winfrey. Madonna called Oprah “a self-made woman who has been on top of her game for 25 years.”

The recording star also said Winfrey’s construction of a school in Africa has encouraged her to stay the course in her own effort to build a school inMalawi. “Thank you for inspiring me,” Madonna told Winfrey.

The stadium was decorated with pictures of Winfrey at seminal moments over the course of her talk show. Boxes of tissues were on scattered seats throughout the audience.

Harpo Productions got more than 154,000 ticket requests for seats to Tuesday’s event. Tickets were free; winners were determined by lottery.

The shows will air May 23 and 24. The content of the final episode of “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” which will air May 25, remains a closely guarded secret.

Winfrey announced in November 2009 that she would end her popular talk show after 25 years.

(The Associated Press, ABC News)

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