- NAME: Oprah Winfrey
- OCCUPATION: Film Actress, Entrepreneur, Producer, Philanthropist, Talk Show Host, Television Producer
- BIRTH DATE: January 29, 1954 (Age: 60)
- Did You Know?: In 1986, Oprah Winfrey became the first black female host of a nationally syndicated daily talk show with the premiere of The Oprah Winfrey Show.
- Did You Know?: In 2002, Oprah Winfrey was named the first recipient of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' Bob Hope Humanitarian Award.
- Did You Know?: Oprah Winfrey became the first black female billionaire in the United States in 2003.
- 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 is best known for hosting her own internationally popular talk show from 1986 to 2011. 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 television chat show, People Are Talking. Afterward, she was recruited by a Chicago TV station to host her own morning show. She later became the host of her own, wildly popular program, The Oprah Winfrey Show, which aired for 25 seasons, from 1986 to 2011. That same year, Winfrey launched her own TV network,
"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."
"What I learned at a very early age was that I was responsible for my life. And as I became more spiritually conscious, I learned that we all are responsible for ourselves, that you create your own reality by the way you think and therefore act. You cannot blame apartheid, your parents, your circumstances, because you are not your circumstances. You are your possibilities. If you know that, you can do anything."
"What other people label or might try to call failure, I have learned is just God's way of pointing you in a new direction."
"This is what I know for sure: In order to be truly happy, you must live along with and you have to stand for something larger than yourself. Because life is a reciprocal exchange. To move forward, you have to give back."
"Learn from every mistake because every experience, encounter and particularly your mistakes are there to teach you and force you into being more who you are."
"When you're doing the work you're meant to do, it feels right and every day is a bonus, regardless of what you're getting paid."
"Every right decision I've made—every right decision I've ever made—has come from my gut. And every wrong decision I've ever made was a result of me not listening to the greater voice of myself."
"[F]ame is a trip. People follow you to the bathroom, listen to you pee. It's just—try to pee quietly. It doesn't matter, they come out and say, 'Ohmigod, it's you. You peed.'"
"No matter what triumphs, defeats, sad times, painful times, whatever you have to go through in life—you are your own best thing."
"You're never going to run out of people who are looking for a more joyful life."
"I've always known that life is better when you share it. I now realize it gets even sweeter when you expand the circle."
"There is no greater gift you can give or receive than to honor your calling. It's why you were born. And how you become most truly alive."
"When you do well, do your best, people notice."
"Nothing about my life is lucky. Nothing. A lot of grace, a lot of blessings, a lot of divine order, but I don't believe in luck. For me, luck is the moment of preparation meeting the moment of opportunity. There is no luck without you being prepared to handle that moment of opportunity. Every single thing that has ever happened in your life is preparing you for the moment that is to come."
"Everything passes in time. It doesn't matter how much money you have, how much power you have, how high you sit on the 'Forbes' list, how many times you make the 'Most Influential' list—all of that changes. But what is real, what is lasting, is who you are and what you were meant to bring."
"You will find true success and happiness if you have only one goal. There really is only one, and that is this: to fulfill the highest, most truthful expression of yourself as a human being."
"I really believe when you give to other people, you give to yourself."
"When your to-do list has you coming undone, you have to step back and come back to center. Without a connection to something that is real, you will lose your way."
"I don't believe in failure. It's not failure if you enjoyed the process."
"You know you are on the road to success if you would do your job, and not be paid for it."
"Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment."
the Oprah Winfrey Network.
American television host, actress, producer, philanthropist and entrepreneur 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.
Check out BIO’s original video series, American Freedom Stories, about the historic events of the Civil Rights Movement in Alabama, and the leaders and everyday heroes who fought to make racial equality a reality. Watch videos.
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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.
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