Mark Bieganski: June 2009 Archives

oprah_gayle_cruise.jpg

Oprah Winfrey and pal Gayle King took in the sights of Spain earlier this week -- part of a 14-day Mediterranean cruise Winfrey is taking her entire staff on as reported here first.

The duo toured the famous Catholic church Sagrada Familia (Temple of the Holy Family) in Barcelona.

Check out the Faded Youth Blog for more pics of Winfrey and King in Spain

Talk show host Oprah Winfrey made a stop at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, in Henley on Klip, South Africa, last Friday before setting off to the Mediterranean for a 14-day-cruise with her entire staff. Winfrey told the Associated Press that the dream she had for the poor girls attending the school she established in South Africa is coming true.

Photos: AP

Oprah Winfrey: World's greatest boss?

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Oprah Winfrey : the world's greatest boss?

For the second time in recent years, she's making a strong case for that title by taking her entire staff and their families on vacation. This time they're going on a lavish Mediterranean cruise.

Winfrey and her staff will leave Chicago on Saturday. The cruise ship will stop in Spain, Italy, Turkey, Greece and Malta. She is covering transportation, food, drinks and activities at port stops.

In 2005, Winfrey celebrated the end of her "Wildest Dreams" season by surprising her staff with an all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii.

According to Chicago-based Best Travel, a cruise like the one Winfrey is taking her staff on costs about $5,400 a person.

Oprah Winfrey seen around Chicago ...

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... as reported last week, Oprah Winfrey and her team from the Oprah Winfrey Network dined at Spiaggia in Chicago -- a favorite of President Barack Obama's.

By JANET LUNDQUIST Sun-Times News Group

It's been said anything Oprah touches turns to gold.

A 7-year-old from Plainfield is hoping Winfrey will have the same effect on her fundraising project.

Hannah Durante is raising money for A Walk in the Park, an event held by Six Flags and Cure Kids Cancer at parks across the country.

The event raises money for pediatric cancer research.

Hannah was born with one kidney, which necessitates regular checkups at Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago, said her mother Amy Durante.

Hannah is doing fine. But some other children they met at the hospital weren't doing as well, Amy said.

"Every time we'd go, I was in tears. It just breaks my heart to see the other kids," Amy said.

They wracked their brains thinking of ways to help the less-fortunate youngsters. Last year, they discovered A Walk in the Park, and participated at Six Flags Great America in Gurnee.

They decided to do it again this year. Besides the sponsor-gathering e-mail sent to friends and family, Amy decided to send a request to Oprah Winfrey.

She continued calling and e-mailing Oprah, her publicist and other employees of Harpo Productions until Friday, when a member of Oprah's staff called her back.

"He said (Oprah) was inspired. She couldn't believe a 7-year-old was doing this," Amy said. "Persistence totally pays off. It doesn't matter if she's a celebrity. She lives in Chicago. She's aware. I know she does good things."

Hannah's goal was to raise $1,300. Thanks to a financial boost from Oprah Winfrey, who matched the $1,240 Hannah had raised by that point, the total was $2,935.34 as of Wednesday afternoon.

Oprah even posted a message on Hannah's fundraising Web page at my.walkintheparks.org/hannah7: "Hannah, You have inspired everyone to make a difference. Continue!"

Oprah's comment helped draw attention to Hannah's fundraising team, Team Friends, Amy said. There are comments on her Web page from people the Durantes don't even know.

But the Durantes aren't just sitting back, letting Oprah's clout pull in the donations.

They will sell $1 hot dogs at Strack & Van Til, at Route 59 and Caton Farm Road in Joliet, from noon to 5 p.m. Friday.

The store donated the hot dogs, and all the proceeds will go toward Cure Kids Cancer.

Who's the one person capable of knocking Oprah Winfrey out of Forbes' top spot on the list of the world's most powerful celebs?

Angelina Jolie.

Winfrey, who topped the list last year, was dethroned and moved to the No. 2 spot on the annual Forbes list, which came out yesterday.

"Though viewership for the self-made billionaire's flagship chat fest, The Oprah Winfrey Show, continues to erode, her earning power remains resilient," the list said.

The Celebrity 100 list ranks the rich and famous based on media exposure and earnings over the past year.

Although finishing second to Jolie, Winfrey still is the highest earner on the list, raking in more than $275 miliion.

Madonna, Beyonce and Tiger Woods rounded out the top five on the list.

More: Photos of the Forbes's top 10 most powerful celebs

Oprah Winfrey taking her show to Los Angeles?

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Oprah Winfrey, center, enters Wallace Wade Stadium at Duke University where she was the graduation keynote speaker in May.

Oprah Winfrey isn't signing a lease for a Los Angeles studio for her show moving, according to a scoop from Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed today.

A Winfrey rep denies that and a rumor that Winfrey is eyeing at the massive $150 million Holmby Hills, Calif., estate of Candy Spelling, who is the widow of the late TV legend Aaron Spelling. Stay tuned.

Note to blog readers: I'm back Oprah Winfrey blogging after being on other assignments for the past month. Look for an update on what you missed in the next day or so.


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This page is a archive of recent entries written by Mark Bieganski in June 2009.

Mark Bieganski: May 2009 is the previous archive.

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