May 24 - A look back at Oprah Winfrey's television career. Kathi Urban reports.
America's most famous chat-show queen will bring her quarter-century reign on U.S. national television to an end. Oprah's last ever show will air on Wednesday, May 25. She's one of the most influential and richest women in the world. Her media empire spans television, films, radio, magazines and even her own book club. But Winfrey had humble beginnings, growing up in poverty in Mississippi and raised by her grandmother and later by her teenage single mother. After rising through the ranks as a news reporter, her eventual breakthrough came when she was offered her own talk show in Chicago in January 1984. The chat show has since become one of the longest-running programmes on daytime TV and covers topics ranging from spiritual to social issues. She has also interviewed some of the world's most high profile celebrities, who have, sometimes on more than one occasion sat on her couch and poured their hearts out. Even U.S. President Barack Obama, who she supported through his 2008 election campaign, has appeared on "The Oprah Winfrey Show", discussing why he decided to release a long form version of his birth certificate. Apart from her TV credentials, Oprah is also credited for her humanitarian work. In 2007 she opened a 40 million USD school for disadvantaged South African girls which she paid for out of her own pocket. SOUNDBITE: U.S. Talk Show Host Oprah Winfrey, saying (English): "I wanted to educate girls because I was a poor girl, a poor girl who grew up with my grandmother as so many of these girls because of Aids, are now left to be raised by their grandmother. And as I was raised by my grandmother, without running water and no electricity, but given the kind of support, and given the desire to have an education by my grandmother who believed that education was everything, so I wanted to be able to give back to African girls what I've been given." Oprah is also a successful producer on a Broadway show and owns her own cable channel. She is now planning to dedicate more time and energy to The Oprah Winfrey Network, otherwise known as "OWN". Oprah's star-studded guests in her final send off will feature Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks and Will Smith amongst the line-up. Kathi Urban, Reuters