- NAME: Oprah Winfrey
- OCCUPATION: Film Actress, Entrepreneur, Producer, Philanthropist, Talk Show Host, Television Producer
- BIRTH DATE: January 29, 1954 (Age: 59)
- EDUCATION: Tennessee State University
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Kosciusko, Mississippi
- Full Name: Oprah Gail Winfrey
- AKA: Oprah Winfrey
- ZODIAC SIGN: Aquarius
Best Known For
Billionaire Oprah Winfrey has hosted her own internationally popular talk show since 1986. She is also an actress, philanthropist, publisher, and producer.
Watch a short biography of Oprah Winfrey who hit the national spotlight with her talk show, "The Oprah Winfrey Show."
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Media giant Oprah Winfrey was born in the rural town of Kosciusko, Mississippi, on January 29, 1954. In 1976, Winfrey moved to Baltimore, where she hosted a hit TV chat show, People Are Talking, after which she was recruited by a Chicago TV station to host her own morning show. Later, she went on to pursue her two-and-a-half decade stint as host of her own, wildly popular program: The Oprah Winfrey Show.
"The whole point of being alive is to evolve into the complete person you were intended to be."
" Excellence is the best deterrent to racism or sexism."
"Cheers to a New Year and another chance for us to get it right."
American television host, actress, producer and philanthropist Oprah Gail Winfrey was born on January 29, 1954, in Kosciusko, Mississippi. After a troubled adolescence in a small farming community, where she was sexually abused by a number of male relatives and friends of her mother, Vernita, she moved to Nashville to live with her father, Vernon, a barber and businessman. She entered Tennessee State University in 1971 and began working in radio and television broadcasting in Nashville.
In 1976, Oprah Winfrey moved to Baltimore, Maryland, where she hosted the TV chat show People Are Talking. The show became a hit and Winfrey stayed with it for eight years, after which she was recruited by a Chicago TV station to host her own morning show, A.M. Chicago. Her major competitor in the time slot was Phil Donahue. Within several months, Winfrey's open, warm-hearted personal style had won her 100,000 more viewers than Donahue and had taken her show from last place to first in the ratings. Her success led to nationwide fame and a role in Steven Spielberg's 1985 film The Color Purple, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Winfrey launched the Oprah Winfrey Show in 1986 as a nationally syndicated program. With its placement on 120 channels and an audience of 10 million people, the show grossed $125 million by the end of its first year, of which Winfrey received $30 million. She soon gained ownership of the program from ABC, drawing it under the control of her new production company, Harpo Productions ('Oprah' spelled backwards) and making more and more money from syndication.
In 1994, with talk shows becoming increasingly trashy and exploitative, Winfrey pledged to keep her show free of tabloid topics. Although ratings initially fell, she earned the respect of her viewers and was soon rewarded with an upsurge in popularity. Her projects with Harpo have included the highly rated 1989 TV miniseries, The Women of Brewster Place, which she also starred in. Winfrey also signed a multi-picture contract with Disney. The initial project, 1998's Beloved, based on Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Toni Morrison and starring Winfrey and Danny Glover, got mixed reviews and generally failed to live up to expectations.
Winfrey, who became almost as well-known for her weight loss efforts as for her talk show, lost an estimated 90 pounds (dropping to her ideal weight of around 150 pounds) and competed in the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC, in 1995. In the wake of her highly publicized success, Winfrey's personal chef, Rosie Daley, and trainer, Bob Greene, both published best-selling books.
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With innovative ideas and charismatic personalities, many African-Americans have made lasting contributions to the country, while also earning millions. Oprah Winfrey emerged as a world-famous one-woman brand with her show, eventually becoming the world's first black billionaire. Robert L. Johnson started BET, the cable channel geared towards African-Americans. Athlete Michael Jordan turned into a household name through numerous endorsement deals. These people were among the first African-Americans to overcome the obstacles of discrimination and achieve top honors in their fields. With talent and determination, each one reinvented not only what it meant to be an African-American, but also what it meant to be an American.
Million-Dollar Ideas 9 people in this group
Taking on topics of politics, entertainment, women's issues and more, female talk show hosts have proven to be every bit as engaging, intelligent, and funny as their male counterparts. Oprah Winfrey's 25-year-reign as the queen of talk is unparalleled, but many other female talk show hosts have come into their own as well, including Tyra Banks, Ellen DeGeneres, Sally Jessy Raphael and Kelly Ripa.
Visit Biography.com's Women's History group to explore more biographies, photos and videos of some the world's most fascinating women.
Female Talk Show Hosts 26 people in this group
It's hard to face weight gain—but it's even harder to face it when the whole world is commenting on your expanding waistline. Here are a group of stars who got in shape despite the scrutiny of the press. Their efforts serve as an inspiration to the millions out there trying to live a healthier lifestyle.
Weight Loss Winners 26 people in this group