Oprah Winfrey has enjoyed incredible success, but she says one of the happiest moments in her life came last May in her own living room.
Oprah Winfrey held a "Legends" Weekend celebration at her 42-acre estate in California. She invited influential black women to a Legends luncheon, held a white-tie ball that evening and then gave a gospel brunch on Sunday.
The event was never aired on TV, but Oprah distributed small video cameras to guests so they could document it. Now she's decided to share the amazing weekend with the public. ABC will air an "Oprah Winfrey's Legends Ball" special on Monday night.
"This is for everybody who has wanted a connection to the past and future, who wants to feel surrounded by hope and love," Oprah said on "Good Morning America."
The talk show star's inspiration came after she accidentally forgot to invite actress Cicely Tyson to her 50th birthday luncheon. When Tyson sent a gift anyway, Winfrey invited Tyson over to thank her.
Then she thought it might be nice to have the actress Ruby Dee over, as well. Then she wanted to have the poet Maya Angelou come too.
Soon, she had a list of 25 people and decided it was time for a bigger event, a celebration on legends. In addition to the older women like Coretta Scott King, Winfrey invited 45 "young' uns," such as singer Alicia Keyes.
Before her big weekend, Winfrey fretted that people wouldn't come. But she needn't have worried -- she even drew Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, in one of their first public appearances, to the ball.
"I wasn't sleeping this time last year because I'd sent out the invitations and there had been the R.S.V.P.'s and then the people who said they weren't able to come. But I wasn't sure that people would actually show up. So there is that moment where I don't know if this is really going to happen."
But when they did show up, it was amazing, she said.
"I have to tell you, singularly, one of the happiest moments of my life is the moment when they all start coming into my living room," Winfrey said.
"Nothing like it, ever."
She described the room as "vibrating" with power and energy. Winfrey said one her favorites moments, which is captured in the broadcast, came when Halle Berry gasped and said, 'Is that Tina Turner?' and Winfrey had the chance to introduce them.
"These are people who are accustomed to being admired who were in the position to now admire each other. It was extraordinary," she said.
One of the "young'uns" described the feeling in a letter she sent to Winfrey: "We were all thrown into the genius of fire and we were licked by its flames."
Winfrey said everyone can have a "Legends" celebration in their own way by telling the special people in their lives how much they mean to them.
"I was able to do this in a really big way because I live a very big life," she said.
"But I think what happens when other people see it, you will want to honor the people who have meant something to you. And everybody can do that in their own way. And to do it while they yet live.
"Don't waste the roses on a casket. Give them to people while they live."