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(Chicago Sun Times) — Madonna said Oprah Winfrey was her only living female role-model. Dakota Fanning, speaking for a group calling itself The Oprah Show Babies, said Winfrey had been there as a mother, through all their crises of girlhood. . Jada Pinkett Smith used the word “goddess.” And Maya Angelou, America’s most illustrious living poet, turned her adopted name (she was christened “Orpah,” from the Book of Ruth) into a custom-created, populist, onomatopoetic refrain.  “Op-rah. Op-rah. Op-rah.”  And many ordinary people who grew up thousands of miles from poetry or Hollywood, or the City of Big Shoulders, said that Winfrey had been their motivator, teacher, guide, sponsor, mentor, mother. Especially if their real mother was dead.  But in the end, it was Stedman Graham, the individual in the Winfrey orbit who seems the least comfortable and thus the most authentic and complex, who asked the most compelling question at “Oprah’s Surprise Spectacular,” staged at the United Center on Tuesday night as part of the expansive conclusion to 25 years of “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”

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