Sally Jessy Raphael Explains Her Famous Red Glasses

Entertainment Nov. 10, 2010 AT 5:53PM
Sally Jessy Raphael Explains Her Famous Red Glasses Credit: DMI/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

They're perhaps TV's most iconic pair of spectacles: Sally Jessy Raphael's oversized red eyeglasses!

Eight years after her eponymous talk show ended its 19-year run, Raphael, 68, has finally explained why she chose -- and stuck with -- the famous, sometimes-ridiculed eyewear.

"I couldn't see the teleprompter," Raphael told Oprah Winfrey during a Wednesday appearance on Winfrey's show. "So I saw an ad that said, 'We do a Pap smear and give you red glasses.'"

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When Raphael visited the advertised medical office offering the bizarre deal, they tried to convince her to spring for a more expensive pair of frames.  "They were going to trade me up [to a better pair]," she admitted on  Oprah.  "I said: 'You're not going to trade me up. I don't have that kind of money.' It's all they had for $19.95."

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For her Oprah chat, Raphael appeared alongside fellow retired talk show greats Phil Donahue, Ricki Lake, Geraldo Rivera and Montel Williams; the group reminisced about their friendly rivalry with Winfrey and one another, and offered her advice on the impending end of her show.

How has Raphael spent her post-TV retirement? She's traveled the world and spent time on her 18th-century farm in New York state with her husband Karl and their chickens, cats and horses.

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Despite that lovely life, Raphael admits to getting antsy without the daily grind of a talk show. "It was two weeks--great, I don't have to get up. And then it was seven years--why doesn't anybody call me?" she said. "So I'm doing a show now about a talk show host who is asked to leave the air and what happens to her after that."

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