Oprah Winfrey is an actress, media executive, and philanthropist who is famous for being the host of a talk show from 1986 to 2011. Her talk show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, aired for 25 seasons, enjoying global popularity.
Winfrey was the wealthiest African American of the 20th century, and around the year 2007, she was voted the most influential woman in the world. Later in 2008, she launched her own TV network, the Oprah Winfrey Show (OWN).
Oprah was born in Kosciusko, Mississippi on January 29, 1954. She had a troubled life during her teens while living in a tiny farming community. Here, she endured sexual abuse by her mother’s friends and her male relatives. Later, she went to Nashville to stay with her father, Vernon, a businessman and barber. She joined Tennessee State University in 1971 and later began working in television and radio broadcasting in Nashville.
Starting her career
In 1976, Winfrey moved to Baltimore, where she hosted the show People Are Talking. The show was popular, and she ran it for eight years. Afterward, a Chicago TV station recruited her to be a host in her own morning show.
Phil Donahue was her main competitor. Their shows aired at the same time. Winfrey had gained 100,000 more views within a matter of months than Donahue due to her warm and straightforward approach. Her show also had the best ratings overall.
Oprah started the show The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1986. It was aired on 120 channels and had an audience of over ten million people. Her show generated $120 million after running for one year, and Oprah was paid $30. Soon after, she got ownership rights of the program and earned more money due to syndication.
Her show enjoyed immense popularity throughout the 25 years that it was aired. During the period she was hosting the show, she introduced a segment called Oprah’s Book Club, which helped make many books bestsellers, even those written by unknown authors.
Awards and philanthropy
In 2007, Oprah helped campaign for Barack Obama. Later in 2013, President Obama gave her the Presidential medal of Freedom to award her for her great contribution to the country.
In February 2018, she donated half a million dollars to the March for Our Lives demonstration that was held after a high school shooting in Florida. In the same year, she received a Golden Globes Award for lifetime achievement.
Presently, she lives with her longtime partner Stedman Graham in Chicago. She has three other homes in California, Indiana and Colorado