×

Oprah Winfrey Reflects on Toni Morrison’s Legacy: ‘There Is No Greater Writer’

One day after Nobel laureate Toni Morrison passed away at the age of 88, Oprah Winfrey told Variety that she knew the author’s death was coming and “thought (I) would be prepared for it.”

“When it actually does happen it’s always worse than you imagine,” Winfrey told Variety in an interview Tuesday.

Speaking about Morrison’s legacy and impact on African American culture, Winfrey said that in her view “there is no greater writer.”

“She changed the experience of reading for me, it was more than about reading, it was about understanding the deep origins of wounds that have affected the African American culture for years and being able to give meaning to those wounds through her language,” Winfrey said. “For me there is no greater writer, there is no one who has been able to affect and have the impact, particularly on my life, and I think on African American culture the way she did. For me there is no one else.”
Winfrey, who earlier in the day Tuesday had posted a tribute to Morrison on Instagram, was a longtime friend of the author and was instrumental in bringing the adaptation of her novel “Beloved” to the big screen, starring in and producing the 1998 movie. She also appeared in the recent documentary on the writer’s life, “Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am,” and selected Morrison’s novel “Song of Solomon” for her popular Book Club segment on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” back in 1996.

Popular on Variety

More Biz

  • The Ringer Promotes Sean Fennessey, Mallory

    The Ringer Promotes Sean Fennessey, Mallory Rubin to Top Editorial Roles

    Mallory Rubin and Sean Fennessey have been promoted to top editorial posts at The Ringer, the pop culture and sports website and podcast network. Fennessey has been named chief content officer and Rubin has been named editor in chief. Both editors have been with The Ringer since it launched in 2016. Fennessey previously served as [...]

  • RihannaFenty Beauty By Rihanna Launch, Madrid,

    Rihanna's Diamond Ball Will Honor Activist Shaun King, Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley

    Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley and civil rights activist Shaun King will receive this year’s Diamond Ball Award at Rihanna’s fifth annual Diamond Ball, which will also feature performances from Pharrell and DJ Khaled. “I can’t imagine a better night than this year’s Clara Lionel Foundation event with Seth Meyers, Pharrell and DJ Khaled,” said [...]

  • Rules Don't Apply

    Warren Beatty and Arnon Milchan Settle Suit Over 'Rules Don't Apply' Flop

    Arnon Milchan and Warren Beatty have settled their two-year legal battle over the disastrous release of “Rules Don’t Apply,” Beatty’s period drama about Howard Hughes. Milchan’s attorneys have filed a notice with the court dismissing his suit against Beatty. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed. Milchan’s company, New Regency, sued Beatty and other investors [...]

  • A Quiet Place

    Why Dynamic Pricing for Movie Tickets Could Be a Tough Sell

    People aren’t going to the movies as much this summer. Are they staying away because the films are duds, or is it because tickets are getting too expensive? AMC is making a bet that cost, not quality, is behind the recent downturn. Last week, the country’s largest exhibitor announced it will be testing a new [...]

  • Yara Shahidi

    Audible Teams Up With Big Names as Audio-Only Storytelling Expands

    Hobnobbing with the likes of Reese Witherspoon, Kate McKinnon and Yara Shahidi isn’t typically the gloss applied to the cerebral audiobook set, but Audible is putting the humble audio story through its own movie-makeover montage, inking high-profile development deals with entertainment names like “The Walking Dead” comics creator Skybound Entertainment, Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine and Lorne [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content