Oprah Gail Winfrey, an American talk show presenter, television producer, actress, author, and media mogul, was born on January 29, 1954. She is most known for her Chicago-based talk show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, which aired from 1986 to 2011 and was nationally syndicated for 25 years. She was known as the "Queen of All Media" and was once the only black billionaire in the world. She was the richest African-American of the 20th century. By 2007, she frequently appeared on lists of the most powerful women in the world.
Winfrey was reared in the inner city of Milwaukee after being born into poverty to a single, adolescent mother in rural Mississippi. She has claimed that she was abused as a kid and in her early adolescence. She got pregnant at the age of 14, and her son was born prematurely and died in infancy. After being transferred to live with Vernon Winfrey, a barber who she refers to as her father, in Nashville, Tennessee, Winfrey found work in radio while still a high school student. By the age of 19, she was a co-anchor for the neighbourhood nightly news. After making the transition to daytime talk shows because to her frequently passionate and spontaneous delivery, Winfrey established her own production business after elevating a third-rated local Chicago talk show to the top spot.
By the middle of the 1990s, Winfrey had changed the direction of her programme, emphasising literature, personal development, mindfulness, and spirituality. She has received criticism for encouraging a confessional culture, endorsing dubious self-help concepts, and taking an emotion-focused approach, but she has also received acclaim for overcoming hardship to help others. With her support of Barack Obama believed to have been worth roughly one million votes during the 2008 Democratic primary, Winfrey also became a political influence in the battle for the presidency in 2008. Obama presented Winfrey with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013; she also earned honorary doctorates from Harvard and Duke. She established the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) in 2008 as her own network.
Phil Donahue's tabloid talk show genre, which Winfrey popularised and revolutionised, is credited with inventing a more personal and candid style of media communication. She was admitted to the National Women's Hall of Fame in 1994. Winfrey has received numerous honours throughout her career, including two Primetime Emmy Awards, a Tony Award, a Peabody Award, the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award from the Academy Awards, and 18 Daytime Emmy Awards, including the Chairman's Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award. She has also been nominated for two prestigious Academy Award nominations. In 2021, Winfrey was chosen to join the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Early Life & Education
Born on January 29, 1954, Orpah Gail Winfrey's initial name was written as Orpah on her birth certificate after the biblical character from the Book of Ruth. However, "Oprah" remained since it was frequently mispronounced. Vernita Lee, her adolescent mother, and Vernon Winfrey, her father, gave birth to her in Kosciusko, Mississippi. The parents of Winfrey were never wed. Housekeeper Vernita Lee (1935–2018). She was born to Vernon Winfrey (1933–2022), a former coal miner who later worked as a barber and served as a municipal councilman. Her matrilineal line originated among the Kpelle ethnic group in the region that is now Liberia, according to DNA testing done in 2006.
She was found to have 89% Sub-Saharan African, 8% Native American, and 3% East Asian genetic composition. However, the East Asian markers could possibly be Native American, given the limitations of DNA testing.
When Winfrey was born, her mother left for the north, and Winfrey spent her first six years with her maternal grandmother, Hattie Mae (Presley) Lee, in a remote area of abject poverty. Winfrey's grandmother was so destitute that she frequently donned outfits made of potato sacks, which led to other kids making fun of her for it. Before she was three, her grandmother taught her to read and took her to church, where she earned the moniker "The Preacher" for her ability to memorise Scripture. Winfrey's grandma allegedly mistreated her as a youngster.