Betty Lunches with Oprah, Gayle King, Tina Fey, and Sheryl Crow

We were on the scene to see Oprah give her best friend a Matrix Award.
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Betty Lunches with Oprah, Gayle King, Tina Fey, and Sheryl Crow

We were on the scene to see Oprah give her best friend a Matrix Award.

-Myrna Blyth

Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King

BettyConfidential joined a sell-out crowd Monday at New York’s Waldorf Astoria for the star-powered annual event known as the Matrix Awards. Presented by New York Women In Communications Inc., the luncheon honors outstanding women in media. This year’s honorees included Tina Fey, Ina Garten, Sheryl Crow, and Gayle King. The presenters were equally heavy hitters: Katie Couric, Mariska Hargitay, Maria Bartoromo and, yes, even Oprah Winfrey.

The host, NBC anchorman Brian Williams, joked that the audience might wonder why a man was the host of a women’s luncheon and that perhaps he was onstage because the volcanic ash fallout in Europe had delayed everyone else. But he proved himself as adept at stand-up as Saturday Night Live’s Seth Meyers, who gave Tina Fey her award. And Katie Couric noted that the luncheon attendees included several network queens. “No, Brian,” she said. “I’m not talking about you.” The audience roared with laughter.

Read Tina Fey Interviews Oprah

Oprah started the proceedings by sharing that Gayle King, editor-at-large at O Magazine, was not her BFF as everyone thinks. No, Gayle is Oprah’s MSF because she has been “a mother, sister and friend.” Gayle was the only one, Oprah said, who encouraged her to go to Chicago to start her own talk show and told her, “Yes, you can be Phil Donahue.” She also said that Gayle has envied her just once: “The only time she was jealous was when I sang with Tina Turner. Gayle loves to sing.”

Oprah also referred indirectly to Kitty Kelley’s controversial biography of her, calling it a “so-called biography” and saying, “Well, this too shall pass.”

There were a variety of touching moments at the lunch. Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, who was introduced by an admiring Lesley Stahl, explained how her love of history had come from her parents. She said that when she was very young, she listened to the Brooklyn Dodger baseball games and when her father came home from work she recounted the game pitch by pitch. It kept the attention of her adored father and taught her the power of effectively recounting the story of a past event.


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