Oprah Winfrey, in Los Angeles to promote a Harpo Productions made-for-ABC film, said she was stunned by the news of Johnny Carson's death, which she heard just as she was walking on to the stage for a press conference.
"He is and has been one of the greats of our time," Winfrey said. "He defined the original talk show."
Winfrey first appeared on his show in December 1985, the year she starred in The Color Purple.
She described her debut on The Tonight Show as "an out of body experience."
You knew "you had made it," she said, when you were asked to be on his show. "His show was in our generation what Ed Sullivan was in that generation," she said.
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