Oprah Winfrey

 

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Biography

Oprah Gail Winfrey was born on January 29, 1954 in Kosciusko, Mississippi. Her parents were an unmarried, teenage Baptist couple. Her father was a former coal miner who later on worked as a barber before becoming a city councilman while her mother was a housemaid. When Oprah was born, her father was in the Armed Forces and her mother had to travel north where Oprah grew up in rural poverty with her grandmother. Her grandmother had served as an early influence, teaching her to read books, and taking her to the local church. When Oprah was six, her mother took her to Milwaukee, Wisconsin where they lived for a while in a dysfunctional home. Oprah's mother was not as supportive as her grandmother, and she was often molested by her cousin, uncle and family friend. When Oprah reached her teens, she got a scholarship at Nicolet High School in Glendale, Wisconsin. Later on in her youth, she rebelled and got pregnant, but lost the baby soon after she gave birth. She was then sent by her mother to live with her father in Nashville, Tennessee. There her father gave her an education, through a scholarship at Tennessee State University. At the age of seventeen, Oprah worked at a local radio station, while completing her college studies. This is where her career on television started.

Oprah Winfrey hosts her own show, the highest rated talk show in television history. This massively wealthy woman who grew up in poverty became a millionaire at age 32 when her talk show was aired all over the United States. The revenue the show earned was so massive that she was given the option to own the show and start her own production company. In the early 1990s she was considered the richest women in entertainment and in 2000, they put a price on her net worth resulting to $800 million. From the television talk show stemmed her magazines entitled O, The Oprah Magazine and O at Home. She also released a few books, and established her own book club.



(Photo courtesy of Harpo, Inc.)
 

Biography

Multiple-Emmy award winning host Oprah Gail Winfrey was born January 29, 1954 in Kosciusko, Mississippi to a poor and unwed teenage mother.  At the age of nine, Oprah was raped but despite the incident, she remained focused on her studies.  She skipped two grades and even attended Nicolet High School through a scholarship.  At age 14 though, she became pregnant and gave birth to a son who immediately died in infancy.  Because of her rebellious ways, her mother sent Oprah to her father, a barber in Tennessee who was strict but supportive of his daughter.  During her high school years, she ended in second place at a national dramatic interpretation and this earned her full scholarship to Tennessee State University.

By the time that she was 17, Oprah Winfrey already began working for a local radio station.  She became the youngest and first black female news anchor at WLAC-TV.  In 1976, she moved to WJZ-TV and co-anchored the six o'clock news.  She was later asked to co-host talk shows People are Talking and Dialing for Dollars.  In 1983, Oprah went to Chicago and hosted AM Chicago.  From being the lowest rating talk show, it became the highest rated one.  It was later renamed The Oprah Winfrey Show and the rest is history.

Oprah played lead role Sofia on the film adaptation of Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize Winning Novel The Color Purple.  Her performance on the movie earned her a Golden Globe, an Image Award and an NBR Award. Among her other films are Beloved and Native Sons.  She also lent her voice for the characters Judge Bumbleton in Bee Movie and Gussy the Goose in Charlotte's Web.  She made TV appearances on shows There Are No Children Here, Before Women Had Wings, Ellen and The Women of Brewster Place.

In 2007, Oprah Winfrey produced ABC's Oprah's Big Give .  A reality game show, it features 10 contestants who are given large sums of money.  The contestants compete against each other in finding “the most powerful, sensational, emotional and dramatic ways to give to others.”

(Photo courtesy of ABC)
 

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Oprah Winfrey
 

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Oprah Winfrey
 

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