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Kitty Kelley responds to Oprah Winfrey's complaints; are the Obamas up next?

May 6, 2010 | 10:06 am

Kitty kelley oprah obama

We at the Ministry were (naturally) drawn to Kitty Kelley and the buzz surrounding her book "Oprah: A Biography."

Attention-grabbing headlines surrounding the heat-seeking tome have teased to scandalous revelations about Oprah Winfrey, the queen of daytime TV -- leaving some media outlets accused of shying from Kelley, perhaps in fear of the wrath of Harpo.

Not us. 

The biographer, who has tackled icons including Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Frank Sinatra, will host a conversation Thursday about the project with comedian Kathy Griffin. We chatted with Kelley earlier this week about the big O and her reaction to the bio, and the author's road ahead.

"What amazes me is that this is the first full, comprehensive biography ever done," Kelley said of her subject, who recently addressed Kelley's effort as a "so-called biography."

"Oh, honey, if this is a 'so-called biography,' all 550 pages, 850 interviews, documents, letters and diary extracts, I'd like to see a real biography," Kelley said.

Then there's the matter of Winfrey's biological father, whom Kelley says is not Vernon Winfrey, the man widely known as her dad.

Kelley says she had a "serious conversation" with Katherine Carr Esters -- a cousin whom Winfrey calls "Aunt Katherine" -- and that Esters "went into great detail" about Oprah's real father.

Esters has since denied telling Kelley the name of the TV host's father, with Kelley saying after that denial that her source "may have come under some pressure" since the interview.

In her recent comments, Winfrey said the book has "all my new daddies coming out" to claim her.

"If Oprah gets pursued by fools who want new cars, then I'm very sorry," Kelley said.

And then there's the response of Winfrey's peers, who have condemned Kelley and even shut her out.

"I think when the book was published, I ran into a celebrity wall. Celebs circling to protect Oprah, like Barbara Walters and Larry King," Kelley said.

The response outside of that group has simply been "wonderful," the author said.

Although her chat with Griffin regarding Oprah will no doubt be interesting ('She doesn't genuflect," Kelley said of Griffin), there's always the question of what's ahead. 

"I feel like right now I'm on an Oprah bender," Kelley said. So, next up? She said her publisher has asked her to "please consider signing up for the Obamas."

-- Matt Donnelly

Photo: Kitty Kelley has written a new biography about Oprah Winfrey. Credit: Andy Kropa / Getty Images

Visit Amazon’s Kitty Kelley page to view all her books

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