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Oprah Winfrey Facts

American media proprietor, talk show host, actress, producer and philanthropist

  • Oprah was born Orpah Gail Winfrey on January 29, 1954.
  • She is popular for her self-titled, multi-award-winning talk show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, which has become the highest-rated program of its kind in history and was nationally syndicated from 1986 to 2011.
  • She has been ranked the richest African American of the 20th century.
  • She was for a time the world's only black billionaire.
  • She was born in rural Mississippi to a teenage single mother and later raised in an inner-city Milwaukee neighborhood.
  • She experienced considerable hardship during her childhood, claiming to be raped at age nine and becoming pregnant at 14; her son died in infancy.
  • Oprah didn't receive her first pair of shoes until she was six years old.
  • She was voted Most Popular in her senior year class and she won the 1971 Miss Black Tennessee beauty pageant.
  • Winfrey landed a job in radio while still in high school and began co-anchoring the local evening news at the age of 19.
  • She helped a third-rated local Chicago talk show to first place.
  • She launched her own production company and became internationally syndicated.
  • In 1985, Winfrey co-starred in Steven Spielberg's The Color Purple as distraught housewife, Sofia.
  • She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance.
  • From 2006 to 2008, her support of Barack Obama, by one estimate, delivered over a million votes in the close 2008 Democratic primary race.
  • In 1993, Winfrey hosted a rare prime-time interview with Michael Jackson, which became the fourth most watched event in American television history as well as the most watched interview ever.
  • On September 10, 2007, David Letterman made his first appearance on her show as its season premiere was filmed in New York City.
  • In 2009, Winfrey was criticized for allowing actress Suzanne Somers to appear on her show to discuss hormone treatments that are not accepted by mainstream medicine.
  • The series finale of The Oprah Winfrey Show aired on May 25, 2011.
  • On an average, approximately 40 million of Americans who watched her show each week.
  • Green is her favorite color.
  • She helped her mom out of a lawsuit claiming Vernita Lee owed $155 000 in unpaid clothing store bills.
  • Her production company, Harpo Productions, is her name spelled backwards.
  • Her magazine is named after her nickname, "O", and the editor is her best friend Gayle King.
  • She became a millionaire at age 32.
  • According to Forbes, in September 2010 Winfrey was worth over $2.7 billion.
  • Oprahfication is a term coined by the Wall Street Journal to mean public confession as a form of therapy.
  • In 2000, she was awarded the Spingarn Medal from the NAACP.
  • In 2004, she became the first black person to rank among the 50 most generous Americans.
  • By 2012 she had given away about $400 million to educational causes.
  • As of 2012, she gave over 400 scholarships to Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • She now resides at The Promised Land, Montecito, California, United States.
  • Winfrey has co-authored five books.

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