Names in the news, May 19

Posted May 18, 2011, at 5:23 p.m.

Oprah Winfrey wiped away tears as celebrity after celebrity surprised her during a farewell double-episode taping Tuesday night of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” that will precede her finale. “Thank you is not enough, but thank you,” Winfrey told the crowd of 13,000 gathered at Chicago’s United Center for “Surprise Oprah! A Farewell Spectacular.” Aretha Franklin sang “Amazing Grace.” Tom Hanks acted as host for the evening. Michael Jordan, who led the Chicago Bulls to six NBA championships during the 1990s, told Winfrey she inspires him. Tom Cruise, famous for his couch jumping on Winfrey’s show, was there. Jerry Seinfeld wore a tuxedo to give a comedy routine. And Madonna said she is among the millions of people who are inspired by Winfrey. Winfrey announced in November 2009 that she would end her popular talk show after 25 years. Tuesday’s taping will air May 23 and 24, before Winfrey’s final show on May 25. About 300 Morehouse College scholarship students walked along the United Center aisles as Kristen Chenoweth sang “For Good” from the musical “Wicked.” Grammy winner John Legend was beamed in from a New Orleans school, and Winfrey’s book club was lauded for getting millions to read. … Pete Townshend has more to say about his generation. The Who’s guitarist and songwriter, known for such classics as “My Generation,” “I Can See for Miles” and the “Tommy” rock opera, is writing his autobiography. HarperCollins announced Tuesday that the book, so far untitled, would come out in the autumn of 2012. Townshend, who turns 66 on Thursday, has long been one of rock’s most introspective and self-consciously literary artists. In a statement issued through his publisher, he said the book was “not a vanity for me,” but an “essential rite of passage.”

 

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