Oprah Winfrey (born Orpah Gail Winfrey; January 29, 1954) is an American media proprietor, talk show host, actress, producer, and philanthropist. Winfrey is best known for her self-titled, multi-award-winning talk show "The Oprah Winfrey Show" which was 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, the greatest black philanthropist in American history, and was for a time the world's only black billionaire. She is also, according to some assessments, the most influential woman in the world.
Winfrey was born into poverty 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. Sent to live with the man she calls her father, a barber in Tennessee, Winfrey landed a job in radio while still in high school and began co-anchoring the local evening news at the age of 19. Her emotional ad-lib delivery eventually got her transferred to the daytime-talk-show arena, and after boosting a third-rated local Chicago talk show to first place, she launched her own production company and became internationally syndicated.
Howard Stern may be the king of all media, but Winfrey is definitely the queen. This talk-show host/actress/magazine publisher/Broadway and Hollywood producer/studio mogul/philanthropist is consistently cited as one of the entertainment industry's most powerful people. Winfrey worked as a news anchor in Nashville and Baltimore before becoming the host of Chicago's morning talk show in 1984. She was so popular that the series was renamed in her honor and became a national hit in syndication in 1986. Oprah quickly became a household name, a wildly successful yet still accessible woman who struggled with her weight and talked about surviving sexual abuse. Every year, Winfrey seemed to tackle a new business venture, rarely making any missteps, and winning a multitude of awards for her efforts. Although the couple never married, she has dated Stedman Graham for decades.
Oprah Winfrey Photo Gallery