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Oprah's The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Co-Stars Are Just as Enthralled With Her As You Are

"Oprah" is a name that evokes a sense of reverence in mere mortals. But it turns out other celebrities are pretty enthralled with Oprah Winfrey too.

At least, that was the case when TVGuide.com chatted with several of Winfrey's co-stars in HBO's The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, which premieres Saturday. Winfrey stars in the TV movie -- an adaptation of Rebecca Skloot's 2010 book of the same name -- and also acts as an executive producer.

"She is a hero to me and to many -- a she-ro, I should say," Winfrey's Henrietta Lacks co-star Courtney B. Vance told TVGuide.com at the New York premiere earlier this week.

Skloot -- who worked with the Lacks family for years in order to tell the story of Henrietta, whose cells were harvested without her knowledge and used in scientific developments -- also praised Winfrey's acting skills in her portrayal of Deborah, the daughter of the titular character.

"One of the biggest compliments I can give is that you forget that she's Oprah," Skloot told TVGuide.com at the premiere. "Even I, who knew Deborah and saw these scenes happen, I get lost in it. She doesn't look like her, she doesn't sound like her, but she embodies an important part of her spirit that I think [Deborah] would be ecstatic about."

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks premieres Saturday at 8/7c on HBO.

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