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An award-winning author, renowned poet, and civil rights activist, Dr. Maya Angelou – who passed away on May 28 at the age of 86 – was also a beloved mentor to TV host Oprah Winfrey. "She is one of the greatest influences in my entire life," Winfrey has said of her longtime friend, seen together in 2013. One of the best lessons Angelou taught Winfrey: "When you know better, you do better."
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President Bill Clinton chose the celebrated poet to read at his inauguration in 1993, when she recited the original composition "On the Pulse of Morning." In 2009, the former president escorts Angelou when she accepts a Glamour Women of the Year award. "Be as beautiful as you can be, for yourself first, and then to anyone else with enough good sense to see it, too," the author shares in her speech.
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The longtime Clinton family supporter shares a candid moment with Senator Hillary Clinton, who makes a campaign stop at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., in 2008. "I made up my mind 15 years ago that if [Hillary Clinton] ever ran for office I'd be on her wagon," Angelou, a professor of American Studies at Wake Forest, remarked.
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Known as much for her civil-rights activism as for her work as an artist, Angelou joins forces with famed feminist Gloria Steinem at the March on Washington in August 1983.
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Angelou was fluent in seven languages and the recipient of 13 honorary degrees, so it's no surprise the open-minded icon mingled with modern-day celebs like rapper Common, with whom she connects in 2008 at The Edmont Society Affair: A Benefit for Readers amp Writers in N.Y.C. In 2012, the two artists joined forces for the BET documentary Soul Mates: Dr. Maya Angelou and Common, a special sit-down conversation that opened dialogue between generations.
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An American poet laureate and top chef! In 2011, Dr. Angelou dines with Good Morning America's Robin Roberts in celebration of her second cookbook, Great Food All Day Long: Cook Splendidly, Eat Smart. "It's a wonderful treat to me to cook well and to serve beautifully and to eat carefully," Angelou explains of her kitchen prowess. Of the juicy roast chicken, Roberts raves it "makes you want to smack your mama."
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Angelou was nominated for a Tony award for her acting (in 1973 for her performance in Jerome Kilty's Look Away), and in 2013, she meets another Tony – Bennett, that is. The two legends make a beautiful duet at The Norman Mailer Center gala in N.Y.C.
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President Barack Obama gives Angelou a sweet kiss after awarding the literary great the Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, at a February 2011 White House ceremony. "Her soul-stirring words have taught us how to reach across division and honor the beauty of our world," Obama said at the time.
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Michelle Obama presents the Literary Arts award to Angelou, one of the first African-American women to make the best-sellers list with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, whom she calls one of her "she-roes" at the January 2012 BET Honors in Washington, D.C.
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At the Straight for Equality awards, which honors heterosexuals who support gay, lesbian, bi and transgender people, in New York City in February 2009, Angelou gets to know actress Sigourney Weaver.
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Angelou and Goldberg team up at the Women of Achievement award ceremony, where both were recognized, in June 1998 at Tavern on the Green in N.Y.C.