Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Larry King Weekend

Encore Presentation: Oprah Winfrey Discusses Her Success

Aired September 09, 2001 - 21:00   ET



LARRY KING, HOST: She's finally here! Tonight, Oprah for the hour, next on LARRY KING LIVE!

It's been since January, 1995 that Oprah has been on this show, and that is 6 1/2 years, and she has become so huge you don't have to say the last name. It is always great seeing her. We go back a long way. We were kidding before we went on the air, the first time I was on with Oprah, I was on her show in Baltimore, and I think my daughter was 15 and when it was the surprise guest, and now she's 34, Oprah, so -- how do you feel?

OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: How do you feel? The guy I used to co-host with, Richard Sheer, that show "People Are Talking," e- mailed me today...

KING: Really?

WINFREY: ... to ask if I remembered -- because apparently, he knew I was going to be on your show tonight. And he e-mailed me to ask if I remembered when we had Kia on. I said, how could I forget that? What's impressive to me is that you still remember it, all these many years later.

KING: That was a fun show, and I remember when you left to go to Chicago and you were going to try the big time, Oprah, and whatever happened to you?


KING: What is -- do you -- do you ever pinch yourself? Do you ever say that -- I mean, do you ever take a step back and look at you?

WINFREY: Yeah, I do that almost every day, because I spend a lot of time -- I spend time with myself. I think a lot has happened to me since we did that show and Kia was 15 years old. A lot of things have happened to me, but I try to keep my life in perspective, and I have journaled, Larry -- I have the journals since I was 15 years old, actually.

KING: Really?

WINFREY: Yes, I do, and actually of all my -- I would say my most valuable possessions, my journals would probably be my most valuable possessions, so I had journals since I was 15 years old. I still have a journal from when my dad wouldn't let me go to Shoney's with Anthony Yohi (ph), and you know, he wouldn't let me date whoever I wanted to date.

So I still have a record, really, of my life in Baltimore, all of my frustrations, all of my, you know, years of trying to figure out stuff for myself, and so I have been able to look at my rife in a way that I guess a lot of people haven't, because I have cataloged it, you know, my feelings about various things.

KING: And speaking of -- speaking of that, you were going to do a book once. I attended a big party for that book.


KING: Had a lot of food and much merriment, we spoke a lot. You canceled the book, and now that I hear about the journals -- were the journals going to be part of that, and why haven't you done one?

WINFREY: Actually, I canceled that book because I thought I was in the heart of a learning curve. I just decided that it wasn't time and that my reason for doing it wasn't good enough. I had been convinced that I should do the book because I was turning 40. Well, turning 40 doesn't mean that all of a sudden you know more than you did when you were 39 or 38.

And I just decided that it wasn't the time, and that, you know, I had been working for about a year on that book, and I thought that there were a lot of good things about it, but it wasn't where I wanted it to be, and so I really am really proud that I was able to make that decision. At the time, that was the hardest decision I had ever made.

KING: Really?

WINFREY: And it's funny -- yeah, because I had such a disease to please and not wanting to disappoint anybody. It's funny that you mentioned the party, because that's the thing that I was so upset about. I kept saying, but they had the party, they had the party!

KING: That was a huge party.

WINFREY: And when I called up the publisher to say I wasn't going to do it, Larry, I said, "I will pay you for the shrimp. Do you want me to pay you back for the party?" Honest to goodness.

KING: Will there be a book?

WINFREY: When Nelson Mandela was on last year, and then I saw him afterward, he has been saying to me that I really should do one, that it is something I should take very seriously. So perhaps it's sometime, it's not something that I have thought about a lot, but the fact that Nelson Mandela said it to me, I thought, well, maybe it is something. And I will always have the journals, I will always have the journals. KING: I know, they're right there. We got a lot of things to cover tonight. It has been 16 years, you won all these Emmys and Peabodys and everything. Were you confident in yourself that you were going to make it?

WINFREY: Well, Larry, when I -- I have always been confident about this, I have been confident that my life is bigger than I know, I'm confident that everybody's life is bigger than they know. I'm confident that there is a bigger force at work with all of us, and that if you are willing to submit yourself, to allow yourself to align with whatever that is, whatever that dream or vision is for yourself, then you can do great things in your life.

So I have always been confident that there was more at work in my life than just my own little personality. I have always been an orator, I grew up speaking in the church, speaking in the school, dramatic interpretation I won two years in high school. And I remember leaving Nashville, I was one of the, you know, I was always like one of those people hired to be a keynote speaker from the time I was 15 years old at churches and banquets and women's groups.

And I left Nashville, going to Baltimore, and I was speaking at a Baptist church in Nashville, and my speech was, "I don't know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future." So I have always not -- I certainly could not have imagined -- I mean...

KING: This.

WINFREY: I couldn't have imagined this. Are you kidding? When I came to Chicago, I was just hoping to maintain some kind of number up against Phil Donohue, because when I came to Chicago Phil was on, and Phil was king. And Dennis Swanson who was the general manager here said to me, "We know you can't beat Phil Donohue, so just be yourself." Which was the greatest gift that anybody could have offered to a talent, you know, on TV to say, we don't want you to try to beat the other guy, you don't have to copy the other guy, just be yourself.

KING: Looking back -- in 16 years, how much has your show changed?

WINFREY: Oh my goodness. You know, we used to sit, you know, people -- we used to sit two, three, four people in a chair for an hour and just, you know, talk. And now the show has evolved, as we have evolved, as all of us have grown up with the show, I think there is as much production in our show on a daily basis -- I do believe I have the best team in TV.

I have met some of your staff. They are pretty good, but I have the best team in TV. We every day put on what I think is a prime-time show in daytime. So it has evolved, amazingly so, over the years. As I have. As I have evolved.

KING: Sure.

WINFREY: Yeah. KING: Have you -- every year, there are rumors that -- I mean, obviously financially you don't need this, but that you are going to drop it.

WINFREY: I have got enough shoes, Larry.

KING: Imelda!

WINFREY: I have shoes as you have suspenders. We were during the break saying, wonder who had more -- you had more suspenders or I had more shoes -- anyway.

KING: Close. Have you ever thought of dropping it, dropping the show?

WINFREY: I think of dropping it every contract, every time every contract is up. I really thought that I was going to drop it in 1998. I really thought, and then I had my beloved experience and recognized that how dare I complain about being tired. You know, I have come from a legacy of people of who know what "tired" is. And so, for me to complain about oh -- I don't know if I'm tired, can I go on?

I decided that's -- that's when I came up with the theme song, "I believe I will run on and see what the end will be," because I believe that those of us -- you, me, and other people -- who have this medium, this forum -- I think it is the greatest forum in the world. I would rather do this than be any -- hold any political office in the world.

KING: Me too.

WINFREY: Because -- wouldn't you?

KING: Sure.

WINFREY: There we are, there we are sitting right now, and CNN is around the world. That's what I love about CNN. When you are out of the country, CNN is your friend.

KING: And it beats work.

WINFREY: And it beats work.

KING: We will be right back with the delightful, talented -- if I have to tell you all these things. Oprah Winfrey, so many things to talk about. We'll include your calls as well. Her 16th year. It's ours, too. Hey, life goes around. Don't go away.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I came to Oprah's charity sale.

WINFREY: I had a charity sale where I sold all my clothes, OK? And shoes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I didn't have much money because I didn't have a job. And one of the least -- things, you know, little bitty price, a little pair of black shoes. I wear seven and she wears another size.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, I bought the shoes and I really loved them and I kept them in my bedroom. And when I got really, really depressed, and I couldn't find anybody to talk to, I took the shoes out and I...

WINFREY: Stood in my shoes. She would stand in my shoes. To make herself feel better, she would stand in my shoes, and now she says she doesn't have to stand in them, that she's much -- because she is standing on her own.


WINFREY: Isn't that the best story you ever heard?






WINFREY: Thanks. Thank you. I'm Oprah Winfrey, and welcome to the very first national "Oprah Winfrey Show!"


KING: That was number one. I guess you remember that day very well.

WINFREY: I do, 16 years.

KING: Yes, 16 -- it is good and bad to be Oprah. Bad, "Oprah Breaks Down" "The Globe." Shocking to you in a tabloid. However, "'Oprah saved my life,' says Rosie O'Donnell." How do you live with all that on a weekly basis?

WINFREY: Well, I have done pretty well by it. I used to get really upset by all this stuff. And I can honestly tell you that, I remember when I was shooting "The Color Purple," Larry. Steven Spielberg was on the cover of "Time," and all of us were so excited and we were reading, and you know, and he said, put that away.

And I was like, put that away? He goes, because I don't -- I never read that stuff. And I go, but this isn't stuff, this is "Time." And he said, he doesn't read the good stuff, so that he doesn't have to believe the bad. And I couldn't imagine anybody, you know, being on the cover of a prestigious magazine like that and not reading about themselves. Now I completely understand. It really took me a solid 10 years, I would say 10 years, to get over not being disturbed about what people wrote about or said about me. And now I honestly don't, I don't read it. I don't read it anymore.

KING: Don't read at all?

WINFREY: I really don't.

KING: You would read "Newsweek" when they do the age of Oprah, and put you on the cover.

WINFREY: I did read that.

KING: Women of the new century, that you would read because of the quality of the magazine, right?

WINFREY: I did read that yes, I did.

KING: Do you -- when you -- when a private life everywhere, by the way, your boyfriend was great on this show. Did you see him on this show?

WINFREY: I did watch him on that show. I thought he was great. You know, I thought he needed phone calls, though. I kept waiting on the phone calls.

KING: We taped. We'll take phone calls for you tonight.

WINFREY: Good I like phone calls.

KING: Everyone is interested, so I might as well ask it. It is not my normal area. Are you going to get married or what?

WINFREY: Or what.

KING: Well, it is either yes or no or what.

WINFREY: I don't know. I don't know the answer to that question. For the past 15, 16 years the answer has been no. I will say that our relationship has gotten you know, increasingly better over the years in terms of us bonding and supporting one another. I think I'm more in love with him today than I was even five years ago. I think we had a lot of things to get through, as he talked about, not as candidly as I know would you have wanted him to on the show.

KING: No, but he was good.

WINFREY: But the whole issue of him wanting to define himself as not being Oprah Winfrey's boyfriend, which I completely understand, wanting to develop his own identity, wanting to have his own work, his own business, and not, you know, just be identified as somebody who was, you know, a walker for me, I thought was very important for him, and has been very important in the relationship.

And so I wished I could. I knew this question was going to come up. I wish I could say.

KING: Is marriage important at this point or can you just live the rest of your life just being a couple?

WINFREY: It has never been important to me. It was only important to me to be wanted enough to be married.

KING: Ah. Big difference.

WINFREY: That is what was important to me, to be wanted enough to be married. But I think the relationship as it is works really, really solidly well, and because I knew this question was going to come up tonight, I was just thinking about all the people who have -- you know, celebrities -- who have gotten married and are now divorced since we have still been together. And I really do think, I don't know if you were to ask him, I think if we had gotten married, we probably wouldn't still be together because of the pressure.

Because each of us has always known that we were free to go our separate ways or free to support or not support each other, I think that has really helped, has been an advantage in a relationship of such, where our whole lives are always either in the tabloids or people are looking at everything that you do or say.

KING: Is your private life -- and a lot of times you refer to your life on your show, you are included in, your are an involved host -- is your private life the public's business?

WINFREY: It really isn't. But I happen to be the kind of person who is just, you know, open, and you know, I have nothing to hide about anything. And so I recognize if you have watched over the past several years, I don't mention his name hardly at all because I realize oh, that is why people think I want to get married. People think me talking about him, just casually mentioning him has something to do with oh, my God I wish he would marry me, which is not the case. Not the case at all.

KING: Do you wonder why people are absorbed in that subject? Why people get so interested in whether Oprah is or isn't married?

WINFREY: Well, I have been doing this show now for 16 seasons, and America is obsessed with getting married. What America is obsessed with is not actually the marriage itself. America doesn't care if I'm happily married, they want a wedding. They want a wedding, they want some Doves to fly, they want doves to fly, they want a pretty Oscar De La Renta gown. They want to know what I wore, how much you spend on the cake. Who came? Was Larry there?

They are not interested in my life, is it meaningful, you know, or is there a real intimacy a there, is there a connection. They just want to know, was it a nice wedding. And then the thing will be, where are the children? I think my eggs are getting too old for that, Larry. Yeah, but I see yours are not.

KING: No. No. They are great little boys. You should try it. Oprah is an industry. We will ask about the magazine. But the thing that puzzled me, and I will get to that right after the break, she mentioned "The Color Purple," why doesn't Oprah do more film? We will find out after this. Don't go away. We'll be right back.


CHRIS ROCK, COMEDIAN: Four years of "The Chris Rock Show," no Oprah Winfrey jokes, and no Bill Cosby jokes.

WINFREY: Why is that?

ROCK: Well.


ROCK: Why is that? How many black people got money? Why should I (EXPLETIVE DELETED) off the only two I know?






WINFREY: All my life I had to fight. I had to fight my daddy, I had to fight my uncles. I had to fight my brothers. Girl child ain't safe in a family of mens. But I ain't never thought I had to fight in my own house!


KING: Oprah in the brilliant "The Color Purple." Wonderful, why not more movies?

WINFREY: Well, I have a day job and now a night job.

KING: You were so good at that.

WINFREY: Well, thank you, Larry. It is the thing that I thought in my life that I wanted to do the most. And now I recognize that it is not the thing I want to do the most. What I really want to do the most is to use my life in whatever form to affect other people's lives for the good, and so if that's a film that I can produce, like "Tuesdays With Morrie," where there is no role for me, or you know, any other person of color really it in, then that's OK, because I think the impact and the message of that movie was important that, you know, letting people know you need to love and love now, because you never know when the day will be your last.

And so, that movie was important to me. "Before Women Had Wings" was important to me, as a part of, you know, Oprah Winfrey Presents. I'm working on now doing "Their Eyes Were Watching God," which is my favorite book of all time. I don't think there is a role in it for me, but I think the message is so important, so strong. So I, you know, have gotten sort of off track with this day job, you know, which is exactly the reason why when I first had gone to Baltimore I wanted to be a part of arena players, and then I had this television job doing news, so I never had time to attend any of the plays.

KING: Does producing bring as much rewards as performing?

WINFREY: Actually, I am the happiest -- if you asked me the times that I have been the happiest in my entire life, I mean, out of my mind -- you know those moments? I hear people say this about having children, when their babies first come out of the womb and stuff, but I have those moments when I am acting in the two movies.

"Color Purple" first, it's when I first recognized I think what love was. I just fell in love with everybody on that movie set. I thought, this is what passion is. And also working with Jonathan Demme, Kate Forte and that whole group on "Beloved." Those are the two times I just -- you should see me, I'm just like so happy, like, on the way to work in the morning I'm rolling down the windows, saying to people, "I like your dress. Would you like some coffee, ma'am?"

KING: By the way, you mentioned motherhood. Would you like to be a mother, would you like to either have or adopt or have children?

WINFREY: I do not think that adoption is out of the question for me, that's about all I could tell you right now. And since I haven't discussed it with Stedman -- I heard there was a tabloid out that said I did or he denied me, or whatever. But I haven't discussed it with him. But I would -- I don't think it's out of the question for me, Larry.

KING: Don't you think you would be a terrific mother?

WINFREY: I don't think I would be a terrific mother in the current state that I have created for myself. I think mothers who stay at home and take care of their children, who have the opportunity to do that -- because I realize most people who are working mothers don't have the opportunity to do that -- but I think that's the most powerful job on earth, I really do.

And I don't think you can do everything as well as it needs to be done when it comes to mothering when you have a schedule like I do. I don't think I could be a good mother with this schedule. No, I do not. I think I could have...

KING: But you are not ruling it out.

WINFREY: No, I am not ruling it out. But I do think this, Larry, I think you can have a lot of people who mother, who help you mother your children, but that's not what I would want. And I also see myself as administering in a way nurturing, supporting, you know, the world's children.

One of the things I want to be able to do with my life in the future with all of this wealth that I have accumulated -- because what good is it once you got enough shoes and houses and stuff? Is to be able to use the money in a way that educates, helps, nurtures young girls and women around the world. I think, you know, it is the single defining purpose in a woman's life, education. That changes every single thing else in her life.

Women who are educated don't have the mortality rate in births, they don't stay in marriages that make them miserable, they don't allow themselves to be abused. I mean, education changes everything. So I would like to use myself, my money, my whatever to help change that for women and girls.

KING: Right on the money. We are going to go to calls in a couple minutes for Oprah.

WINFREY: I love calls!

KING: And she loves calls, so we are going to take them.

And by the way, tomorrow night, Cadee Condit, an exclusive interview with the congressman's young daughter. Her first appearance ever on television tomorrow night.

We'll be right back with Oprah. Don't go away.


WINFREY: I got a tree on my back, and I hate my house. And nothing between but the daughter I'm holding in my arms, no running from nothing. You hear me? I will never run from another thing on this earth! Come. You can sit down and eat or you can be (UNINTELLIGIBLE).





KING: It is the most successful new magazine since "In Style" and "Sports Illustrated," and they go back a way. It is "O," the Oprah magazine. How did you get into this business?

WINFREY: Ellen Levin -- I call her Queen Levin -- came to see me with Kathy Black one day and said, "why don't you do a magazine?" Lots of other people had been approaching me about doing a magazine. So, you know, I think, you know, all of our lives we get signs, so I kept thinking, OK, now Ellen Levin, whom I had a lot of respect for because of her work at "Good Housekeeping over the years." They had always been very, you know, treated me fairly and everything.

So I took the meeting, and we are sitting in a meeting, Larry, and she said, "you really should do this, they have this great proposal." And I was, you know, I'm flattered, I said, "oh, that's very nice, but you know, I do have a day job, I have a show. I think I have a pretty strong voice on that show, I don't see any reason to do a magazine."

And she said, "oh, but there is a reason, because it's the written word. And people come back to the written word. Once you say something on the air, it's out there, it's gone, but the written word is a tangible piece that people can hold on to. And we could use this as a personal growth guide, as a way of, you know, doing, executing in the print what you try to do every day on your show." And that was -- that was the key for me.

KING: Why are you on every cover?

WINFREY: Because I can't think of anything else to put on the cover. If you've got any ideas -- because I get tired of shooting covers. I said to them from the beginning, "I'm not going to go down the celebrity road of trying to every month figure out what celebrity do you put on the cover."

And you know, I'm in a position in my life right now where people are trying to get me to go on their covers to sell their magazines, so the real reason I'm on every cover, the real reason is, is because we don't have a better idea. If you -- if somebody has a better idea -- because I think like Martha for the first 17 issues was on her cover, and then they decided that they could do flowers, and bumble bees, and snow cones, and pumpkins, and lots of beautiful things.

Our magazine isn't about things. Our magazine is really about the intangible things, the things that, you know -- you can't take a picture of. So that's why.

KING: And are you hands-on, do you read -- do you see every page before we see it?

WINFREY: Every single page. Every single page. That's why I have a day job and I have a night job. I do this job, and then about 3:00 I go on a computer and start working on the magazine. I see every single thing.

KING: We are going to take a break, and when we come back we will include your phone calls. Our guest is the wonderful Oprah Winfrey. This is LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.


WINFREY: You say in "A Charge to Keep," your autobiography, you say that "no one should let themselves be defined by other people." I want to know how you, George W. -- do you like "W" as a nickname?


WINFREY: OK. I heard your mom doesn't like it, but anyway sounds good to say it. W, W, W, is in the house. Yeah.





KING: I'm back with Oprah. Before we go to your phone calls, we'll get to as many calls as we can. I didn't think talk shows had seasons, but this is a new season for you. Is anything coming that we should be interested in?

WINFREY: Well, we call it a new season because this is when we started, you know, 16 years ago. It's on September 8 we started. Our new season starts September 10. We're starting the new season with Dr. Phil, who I think is one -- over the years, of interviewing guests and experts and you know, people who are supposed to know what they're talking about, I have not come across anybody who I think knows their stuff, particularly when in regard to human functioning, better than Phil McGraw.

KING: And he's on with us the next night?

WINFREY: Next week, right?

KING: On 11, right.

WINFREY: OK, so on September 10, we start our new season with him with a series, Larry, of -- that begins on Monday and Tuesday and then will be for the following Tuesdays, until because we're still in the process of editing them all.

It is a study in human functioning and dynamics because what we are trying to do with this show, what I'm trying to do with the show is the same thing I'm trying to do with my life, is to get people to see where they are stuck and be able to live up to whatever is their human potential.

I'm trying to do that for myself. That's why I'm never satisfied where I am in my life. I'm always trying to push the envelope. What is next level? What is next level? How I do grow myself to be a better person?

And I think that Phil, I mean I never had a shrink, but if I had a shrink, it would it be Phil Mcgraw.

So what we did was we put 42 people in a room, 42 people, 12 cameras, 5 days locked in a room with Phil. With all of their -- dysfunction. And what came out as a result of that, I think, was every single person transformed in some way.

KING: And we will see this over a succession of Tuesdays?

WINFREY: Yes, you'll see it over a succession of Tuesdays beginning this Monday, September 10.

KING: Wow!

WINFREY: It's powerful.

KING: Wow, great idea. Let's take some calls for Oprah. Clinton Township, Michigan, hello.

CALLER: Hello.


CALLER: Hi. I want to say, Oprah, you've inspired me to be a better mother and to quit smoking. And just what you just said, how you push yourself to the next level?


CALLER: Your show does that for me. So thank you. And my question would be, what -- is there is new goal for yourself that you're going to push to next level? Is there anything going on like that for you?

KING: Anything you want to do, you haven't done?

WINFREY: You know, I just kind of keep myself open, Larry. I don't, you know, because I've have done a lot of things that I'd never even expected to do.

One of my philosophies is that, you know, I used to dream that I could -- when I was in Baltimore make $22,000 a year when you saw me, Larry. When I was in Baltimore, I used to think, "If I could just match my salary to my age." And so about now, I'd be make $47,000.

So I now believe that God, the force that created us, can a bigger dream than you can ever dream for yourself. So I try to keep myself open, Clinton, Michigan. I try to keep myself open to whatever that possibility is.

There's a beautiful quote, that I love, by Emily Dickinson, where she says "I dwell in possibility." And that's how try lead my life. I dwell in possibility. So I'm open to whatever is the next thing that shows up.

KING: A question from on the Internet. When will Oprah be taking her show on the road again?

WINFREY: Well, I don't know, because it's so expensive to do that, as you know.

KING: Yes.

WINFREY: The last time I think we were on the road was like in the Bahamas or something. And we only did that because it was so darned cold in Chicago that we had the luxury...

KING: Well, it's going to get cold this winter, too.

WINFREY: I hear it's going to be bad. So I don't know, we take show on the road, I used to say we take the show on the road, when it when we feel that it's appropriate, but I can't say that because we just felt like it was cold. I don't know the answer to that question.

KING: By the way, you bought huge house in Santa Barbara, right?

WINFREY: Yes, I did.

KING: Are you going to be a Californian?

WINFREY: Well, not a resident of California because the show will always remain here in Chicago because that's where studio is. And there's not even, I wouldn't even entertain the idea of moving the show there. But I also -- I used to have a house in Florida, Stedman and I did. And I gave up the house in Florida for Santa Barbara.

I saw this house, Larry. It wasn't even for sale, Bob and Marlene Vilos, this was going to be their dreamhouse, the Vilos'. And I saw this house.

KING: And?

WINFREY: And the rest is her story. It really -- I just thought -- I felt like Scarlet in "Gone with the Wind." It is my Tara.

KING: So you left Fisher Island?

WINFREY: Yes, I'm gone.

KING: Columbia, South Carolina hello.

CALLER: Yes, Oprah, I would like to commend and thank you for not compromising the content and quality of your show for sake of ratings, when other shows have stooped to what I consider to all-time lows.

My question is, what do you attribute to the rise of popularity with such shows as "Jerry Springer" and "Jenny Jones," whose content I think is less than desirable and certainly not in the same league or caliber as what you produce?

WINFREY: Well, first of all, let me just tell you, they're not rising in popularity anymore. For about two years they were. And I know Jerry was, specifically, because he beat us in several markets. And now that has all leveled off, I think, because they cut out all the fighting.

But I will have to say this. I think that it's a glorious thing that we live in a country that allows so many different voices to be heard. And I think the rise in popularity when it was actually rising is because there were people who wanted to watch that, wanted to see that, who felt that there was some kind of common denominator there for them.

What I believe is that that only lasts for a short time. And that each of us has to find a way, our own way. And my way isn't everybody else's way. I don't want a -- you know, what? I don't want everybody doing the show like mine.

So I think that there's room for everybody. And we offer what we offer because that's what I believe. I mean, this show on a daily basis reflects my personal beliefs and standards. And other shows reflect the beliefs and standards of whoever is programming for them. And I've...

KING: Were you were shocked...

WINFREY: ...been really lucky because I have those wonderful King boys all these years. I had Roger King, Michael King, who were my distributors, but they never, ever, to their credit, tried to tell me how to produce the show.

KING: I nearly went to work for them once.

WINFREY: You did?

KING: Yes, 1990.

WINFREY: Yes, they're quite...

KING: They're amazing.

WINFREY: Great guys.

KING: They're wild.


KING: Like Roger is.

WINFREY: Roger, best salesman in the world.

KING: That ever lived.

WINFREY: Yes, that ever lived. He's one of the reasons I am where I am today. He really is.

KING: We'll be back with more of Oprah and more of your calls. Don't go away on this edition of "LARRY KING LIVE." Tomorrow night, Cadee Condit, the daughter of Congressman Gary Condit. Don't go away.


WINFREY: Do you feel like you really on top of the world, like everything's clicking for you now?

JULIA ROBERTS, ACTRESS: It's just like, yes. But you know, I'm terrified of heights, so I'm a little trepidacious.

WINFREY: Really?

ROBERTS: Well, yes. Yes, yes. But you don't want to, you know, I try be really grateful, but at same time, you don't want to say, "Oh, perfect, perfect wonderful, wonderful." It's like your teasing the gods to change that around for you.





KING: We're back with Oprah. And before we take the next call, you still have the weight thing up and down, the weight? Is that is a constant Oprahism?


KING: Is that life's battle?

WINFREY: I'm -- you know what? I'm finally -- I think I'm licking it because I now understand that it is so connected to emotions. It's almost like an addict in that, you know, I don't have, you know, a lot of bad habits.

And I used to think that I don't have a lot of bad habits because I eat them all away. And I used to think that it was all just about whether you exercised or not, or whether or not, you know, you liked potato chips or didn't like, you know, certain fatty foods.

But it really is -- you can tell when I'm not balanced myself well enough, because it's all, you know, my weight shoots right up. So I'm really now trying to work on my emotions and dealing with my emotions and feeling stress, actually allowing myself to feel stress instead of eat stress.

KING: One would say, I think it was F. Scott Fitzgerald said, "the rich are different than you and I." But one would say maybe watching, saying, "Oprah's got everything in the world."


KING: Got all the money anyone could ever wish for. She's one of the richest women in the world, if not up there with -- what could be stress to her?

WINFREY: Something just happened.

KING: Oh, did you lose me?

WINFREY: This is one of those moments when you say we're having technical difficulties.

KING: OK, we'll be right back. We'll take a break and straighten them out. Don't go away.




KING: All right, before we were so rudely interrupted. WINFREY: Yes.

KING: By the powers that be. The question was F. Scott Fitzgerald said once "the rich are different from you and me." And one wonders, one thinks of someone sitting back now in an easy chair, hearing Oprah discuss stress, when she appears to have it all.

WINFREY: Yes, well, I certainly do have -- well, I was saying to you, I don't have a lot of stress because I eat it all. And I'm trying not to do that. I'm trying to just allow myself to feel whatever it is I need to feel in any given time and not, you know, reach for the chip or a peanut or grape or some cranberries or whatever.

It's -- this whole, at another time, you and I, because we're going to run out of time, but I would love to talk about this whole phenomenon of fame because it truly is -- I've never, you know, I interview people just like you do. And I've never gotten anybody to be really honest about it. Because Larry, it is a thing that lives outside yourself.

You know, I just taped the book club today. And some of the guests on that book club show were saying to me, "Oh, do you realize impact that you have on people all over country?" And I was saying, "I really don't," because who has time to sit around and think about the impact that you are having on people, number one.

And what kind of an ego brain would that be? So fame is this thing. I tell you that there are times, because I am on the cover of my magazine, and there have been times before when I like walked into Walgreens to get some Nivea lotion or something, and I would see my picture on a magazine. And there's that moment. I would be drawn to it because I'd say, "Oh, there's a black woman. Wonder who that is."

And there is myself on a cover. It's like an out of body thing. It's a strange thing because I still think of myself as a woman in process. I'm just still trying to be the best person I can be. I came from Baltimore. I got this really great job. Lots of people see me every day, but I am struggling with the same issues that other people are.

KING: Sure.

WINFREY: I want to -- when I take my last breath, to know that I had no regrets, that I just you know, I want my last thought to be, "I blew that one out. I really blew that one out." I took that earth thing and I did it. You know, I want to be high fiveing with angels. Really. So I don't think of myself. And I think it is a good thing, actually, that I don't -- I can't -- I don't see myself I guess the way other people do.

KING: Yes, it would make a fascinating discussion. We ought to do it one night, just on being famous.

WINFREY: Yes, because how would could you. And you should you do it with lots of other people. KING: Yes, what's it like. What do you think it must've been like to have been Frank Sinatra for like 70 years?

WINFREY: Yes, now see, I think that was very different. I think that was a very different time, because you were literally idolized by a world that had so other few people to look at, you know, and admire.

KING: Yes.

WINFREY: And the medium wasn't what it is now.


WINFREY: You didn't have, you know, you didn't have 500 channels. You didn't have all of these magazines, and you know, access to so many different kinds of personalities and weren't bombarded. So I think being a famous person, a star in Frank Sinatra's era -- my good friend Quincy Jones, who you should have on for his autobiography.

KING: Yes, it's coming out. We will, we will. I love...

WINFREY: I read it. It's amazing. OK. I love him. And so Quincy's autobiography is coming out in October. It's amazing. He has most interesting life of anybody I know living, because he spans that whole era. Frank Sinatra. He was conducting for Frank Sinatra when he was 25.

KING: Yes.

WINFREY: So he lived in that era with Billy Holiday, Frank Sinatra, Count Basie, all those guys when "big" was really big. And I think it was very different than it is now.

KING: Yonkers, New York, back to calls for Oprah. Hello.

CALLER: Hello.

KING: Hello.

CALLER: I'm Sherry Nickel and I just wondering who is -- was -- Oprah's role model when she was a kid.

KING: How old are you dear?


KING: Nine. Is Oprah your role model?


KING: All right, you're her role model. Who was yours, Oprah?

WINFREY: I had authors who were my role models. Maya Angela was a role model for me. Growing up, reading her book, "I Know Why the Cage Birds Sing" really, kind of, opened up my life in a way, that made me think for the first time, that being colored and being poor had some validation.

So it is an amazing thing, I tell you, to have a role model and then to grow up to have that role model be your friend.

KING: Sure, well, that's weird.

WINFREY: Maya has become a good friend of mine. So yes, she was the only role model that I can, you know, really identify. Other than that, role models were books for me. I mean that's why...

KING: Are you surprised that you're a role model to a nine-year- old?

WINFREY: Am I surprised?

KING: Yes.

WINFREY: To be honest, no. Because...


WINFREY: No, because I hear -- I do hear that a lot. And I speak to a lot of children. And I do believe this though, Larry. I believe that we all are role models for each other in ways that you don't even know. I think a nine-year-old, thank you very much, you know sees me on television, likes whatever that image happens to be, but her mother, her aunt, her teachers, whomever she comes in contact with on a daily basis, is a stronger role model than I could ever be.

KING: But also, many girls would say the same, maybe Britney Spears is a role model or Barbie dolls.

WINFREY: Yes, I think -- well, I never did like Barbie, but that's OK. I thought Barbie needed a job, you know. Never was a Barbie girl.

KING: Was there a black Barbie?

WINFREY: No. And there was not a black Barbie, let me tell you that.

KING: Burlington, Vermont, hello.



CALLER: Hi, this is...

WINFREY: Now there is a black Barbie because I know Mattel's going to call me, but there wasn't one.

CALLER: Oh, I'm having some problems in the background here. Oprah, Larry, it's a pleasure to speak with both.

KING: Thank you. CALLER: I'm a stay at home mother, mother two of boys, and I relish every free moment of free time I have. I'm wondering Oprah, do you have any free time? And what do you do with your spare time?

WINFREY: Mm-hmm, I have lots of free time.

CALLER: What are your favorite things to do?

WINFREY: I have lots of free time. I just came back from a trip in Spain. I had lots of free time this summer. And I give myself free time. Every Sunday, you can believe that wherever I am on a Sunday, I'm having some free time because I do have a lot of things going on, whether I let them stress me or not.

I have a lot of things going on and I find that if you don't at least give yourself a day to rejuvenate yourself, to revive yourself, just to be silent with yourself, to do nothing, then you end up burning out really quickly.

And there have been times when I didn't do it. You can tell the times when I don't do it. And so, I try to, on regular basis give myself a day a week to just do nothing. I have a farm in Indiana. I have a nine dogs.

Stedman and I go there. We talk about things that are important to us. We talk about -- you know, people think we're sitting around talking about having babies. Larry, you've talked to Stedman. We talk about education a lot.

KING: I know.

WINFREY: And how we're going to help educate the world. So he's a big motivator for me. He has a lot of influence in my life in terms of you know, inspiring me to always try to move to the next level. So we spend a lot of time, sort of like jiving with each other, you know, jiving and vibing, at our farm.

KING: And by the way, don't forget that big kind of encounter series starts Monday on the new Oprah season. Dr. Phil is a part of it.

WINFREY: Yes, it's called the get real challenge, the get real challenge with Dr. Phil.

KING: It's called the get real challenge. And Dr. Phil will be on this program next Tuesday to discuss it as well. We'll be back with our remaining moments with Oprah. We'll take this final break. Don't go away.


WINFREY: And what we want to do is start a book club here on the Oprah show, because I know a lot of you are in reading clubs out there. And you have a book of the month and so forth. And I want to get the whole country reading again. Those who haven't been reading, I think books are important! (APPLAUSE)





KING: We have one question submitted through America Online. And that is, will Oprah run for political office in the future? And if not, why not?

WINFREY: Well, for the same reason that I said earlier when we were talking, Larry, that I just do think that television is the greatest medium for communication, for the ability to touch people, reach people, inform people, educate people. I think it's the best job there is. And I -- and the pay is pretty good.

It's been far more than I ever expected it to be. And I just -- I think there's too much, you know, the reason why I had never done politicians until this year is because you just can't break through that wall of stuff. I do wish more informed, passionate, caring people would run for office. That is you know, speaking with forked tongue because I am an informed, passionate person, but I don't want to do it.

KING: By the way, were you one of those, after Congressman Condit?


KING: Not your ball of wax?

WINFREY: No, not my ball of wax at all.

KING: Did you watch the Chung interview?

WINFREY: No, but I'm going to be watching -- I happened to be in Spain during the Condit interview. Matter of fact, I was watching you with Roseanne.

KING: She was great that night.

WINFREY: Yes, it was fun that night.

KING: She gets a kick out of you.

WINFREY: Yes, I was on a boat watching you. That's what I love about CNN. You're in middle of the ocean.

KING: We're everywhere.

WINFREY: You're there with Larry and Roseanne.

KING: What can't Oprah do that she used to like to do?


KING: Like Sinatra told me once, he missed shooting pool, just going down to a pool hall and shooting pool.

WINFREY: Now see, but I don't -- we were talking earlier, that why I'm telling you I think you should do that show with like a panel of famous people to talk about...

KING: We will do it.


KING: And you'll be included, but what can't do you, you used to do?

WINFREY: OK, so my answer is, I don't I don't have that kind of life. I do everything.

KING: You take a walk down 5th Avenue?

WINFREY: I walk down 5th Avenue. I walk down Madison. Madison is my favorite for the shopping. And you know why.

KING: Yes I'll tell the wife.

WINFREY: I walk to Marshall Fields to get, you know, the Clinique special. I go everywhere. I go to the grocery store. I go to Walgreens. I don't...

KING: So there's nothing it has done to force you to miss something you would like to do?

WINFREY: No. The only thing I don't do, because I do recognize this, that if I sometimes it feels like being in parade when I go outside. Hi, hi, hi. And that's because I think I'm on TV. And everybody knows me. And it's so familiar.

I've actually been in a restaurant -- I was in restaurant in Los Angeles. And Elizabeth Taylor was at one table. This was several years ago. And I was at another. People would come over to me and say, "Oprah guess who's here. Elizabeth Taylor."

KING: Oprah, it is always great seeing you. We're out of time. It went by too fast. And let's not wait another 6.5 years to talk again soon.

WINFREY: Let's not.

KING: And best of luck on the new season starting Monday, with the whole thing with Dr. Phil.

WINFREY: Thank you.

KING: And we'll see lots of you. WINFREY: Be good to Dr. Phil next week. Hey, Larry, enjoy your vacation.

KING: Thank you.

WINFREY: Are you taking the boys?

KING: No, we're going to leave them home for a while. It's anniversary time.



WINFREY: Maybe hearing about some more.

KING: Thanks. You got to meet the boys, though.

WINFREY: I would love to.

KING: You like the name Canon, right, Chance, OK, but Canon, you like that name?

WINFREY: I love the name Canon. I'd always thought if I had a son I would name him Canaan.

KING: Thanks, we're out of time.


KING: Bye, dear.

Stay tuned for "CNN TONIGHT." See you tomorrow night with Cadee Condit. For the whole crew and everybody in Chicago, good night.