EXCLUSIVE: Oprah on Her Last Conversation with Maya Angelou


Oprah Winfrey spoke exclusively to ET on Friday in her first interview about Dr. Maya Angelou since her passing, revealing details about Angelou's memorial service and the last time that the two spoke.

LISTEN: Maya Angelou 911 Call

Winfrey tells Nancy O'Dell that she will be speaking at Maya Angelou's memorial service June 7 (a week from Saturday) at Wake Forest. She also revealed that she was supposed to visit the poet after shooting scenes for her upcoming Martin Luther King, Jr. biopic Selma in Atlanta, but spoke with her on the phone. The conversation left Oprah with no regrets.

"Sunday, just before coming down here I had an hour-long conversation with her," said Winfrey. "She was so proud that I was doing this movie, and she said, 'Take it, baby. Take it all the way,' because she was a part of the movement."
Winfrey and Angelou shared a special bond that dates back to before Winfrey was famous.

"We met because when I was a young reporter in Baltimore and she was coming through town she was speaking at a school," said Winfrey. "I called her up and said, 'If you give me five minutes of your time. I promise you I won't take more than five minutes.' And I didn't take more than five minutes and when I finished she said, 'Who are you, girl?'"

When asked what she will say at the memorial service, Winfrey told O'Dell, "I don't know what I will say, but it will just come."

This follows the suspension of an emergency dispatcher after he made disparaging remarks about Winfrey during the Maya Angelou 911 call.

"These comments are unacceptable and we have opened an internal investigation to look into the circumstances surrounding this event," EMS Director Dan Ozimek told ET.

Angelou died at her home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina on Wednesday at age 86.

She was born on April 4, 1928 in St. Louis and in the 1960s served as the northern coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. She also worked alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcom X. Among her achievements, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011 and the Lincoln Medal in 2008.