BY KARA SPAK and MARK BIEGANSKI Staff Reporters
The man known around the world as Oprah Winfrey's human hankie during the election night rally for Barack Obama got five more minutes of fame Friday, appearing at a live taping of her show in Chicago.
Winfrey gave thanks to Sam Perry, who up until yesterday was known only as the mystery man Winfrey leaned on, crying, during the victory bash in Grant Park.
Today, Winfrey and Perry shared a brief hug as she apologized for not asking his name during the rally.
"What a night to share. This is the jacket, and you'll see there's no mascara [on it]." Perry said. "My cell phone right from the very beginning was vibrating from calls. People were staked out at my house yesterday as well."
A former reporter with Reuters and UPI, Perry is a Harvard graduate with a passion for hockey, photography and soccer. He is also fluent in Swedish and has studied Russian and Latin.
"I get home [Tuesday] and there are all these e-mails saying to me saying, 'Who's the guy whose shoulder you were leaning on?' " Winfrey said. "We were packed so closely you couldn't move. If I had had my hands down, I would have been in this guy's butt."
Winfrey said she saw the picture of the two in the newspaper the next day, but at the time hadn't even see his face.
"If I had to identify him in a lineup I couldn't," Winfrey said. "At first I did say to him if I could lean into his shoulder."
Winfrey went on TV on Wednesday thanking Perry, who she dubbed "Mr. Man" for giving her a shoulder to cry on. That sent the media into a frenzied search -- with CNN, the Associated Press and the Chicago Sun-Times looking to find the mystery man's identity.
Suntimes.com broke the news Thursday that Perry, a consultant living in northern California, was the guy grooving to Stevie Wonder with the TV superstar before Winfrey broke down in tears on his shoulder.
A panel of co-hosts on today's show poked fun at the moment, saying Winfrey wasn't just leaning on Perry but was draped all over him.
"Can you image this guy? He's watching Obama and all of a sudden he turns around and it's Oprah," joked actor Mark Consuelos.