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April 15th, 2010
06:30 AM ET

Excerpt: 'Oprah: A Biography'

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Oprah Winfrey at a screening Of "Precious" on November 1, 2009 in Hollywood, California."]

From "Oprah: A Biography"
By Kitty Kelley


I MET OPRAH WINFREY when I was on a book promotion tour in Baltimore in 1981, and she was cohosting WJZ’s morning show, People Are Talking, with Richard Sher. We sat down before the show began, and as I recall, Richard did most of the talking, while Oprah seemed a bit standoffish, which I didn’t understand until later. He interviewed me on the air and then joined Oprah on the set with a compliment about our lively exchange. Oprah shook her head with displeasure. “I don’t approve of that kind of book,” she said. “I have relatives she wrote a book about and they didn’t like it at all.”

I looked at the producer and asked what in the world she was talking about. I understood what she meant by “that kind of book”—an unauthorized biography written without the subject’s cooperation or control—but I was perplexed by her reference to my having written a book about her relatives. The only biography I had written at the time was the life story of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (Jack Oh!), and my research had not turned up with any Winfrey relatives in that family tree.

The producer looked slightly uncomfortable. “Well…Oprah is close to Maria Shriver, plus she’s very much in awe of the Kennedys…I guess she considers herself part of the family in a way and…she knows they were upset by your book because it was so revealing…and…well, that’s why we decided to have Richard do your segment.” READ MORE

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