Bye Bye ‘Oprah Winfrey Show': 8 Defining Moments

As daytime talk TV’s queen wraps up 25 years on the air, a look back at her most memorable highlights

Last Updated: May 24, 2011 @ 7:49 PM

Oprah WInfrey leaves the broadcast television world Wednesday, but she won't be forgotten. As Winfrey bids adieu to her 25-year-old talk show to focus on her OWN network, she leaves behind many moments that helped shape television — and our culture. Here are just eight of them.

Oprah Reveals Her Dramatic Weight Loss (1988)

In her first major salvo in her battle against weight gain, Winfrey revealed a shockingly slimmer new figure — and carted a wagon filled with 67 pounds of fat to demonstrate just how much weight she's lost. The move helps establish her as the queen of confessional television, and of self improvement.

Oprah Has a Beef With Burgers (1996)

During an interview with vegetarian activist Howard Lyman about beef-industry practices and mad cow disease, Oprah told Lyman that what he had told her "has just stopped me cold from eating another burger." The episode spurred a lawsuit by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association that — in another victory for Winfrey — was eventually dismissed.

"You Get a Car!" (2004)

Winfrey demonstrated fan appreciation in the extreme by giving every member of her studio audience a brand-new Pontiac G6 sedan. It quickly became an iconic moment for the show, and inspired the video remix below.

Tom Cruise Couches His Emotions (2005)

In an effort to demonstrate just how much he loves Katie Holmes, Tom Cruise hopped up and down on Oprah's couch, like every perfectly normal person in love. Observers noted that he seemed a little jumpy.

Winfrey Confronts James Frey (2006)

After Winfrey heavily promoted James Frey's memoir "A Million Little Pieces" via her book club, reporters discovered that Frey has fabricated numerous elements of the book. Winfrey brought him on the show to tell him she felt "duped" — but resisted the urge to break him into a million little pieces.

Winfrey Addresses Rape Allegations at Her South African School (2007)

The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa began as a noble endeavor, but was bedeviled by accusations of sexual abuse. Winfrey began an investigation and brought much-needed closure to the situation with a news conference detailing her findings.

Winfrey Reveals That She Has a Secret Half-Sister (2011)

Even as she prepared to wrap her daytime show, Winfrey proved that she still had a few secrets up her sleeve: including a half-sister, Patricia, whom she had never met. Naturally, Winfrey arranged for the pair's initial summit to occur on her show in January, and yet another moment of grab-the-Kleenex television was born.

Oprah Interviews the Obamas (2011)

Winfrey expressed her support for President Obama in 2006, before he had even thrown his hat into the ring in the 2008 presidential race. Her support provided what many considered a pivotal endorsement for the then-Senator. Obama and his wife Michelle returned the favor in May.