Who doesn’t know the extremely popular American talk show host and TV personality Oprah Winfrey? On this 29th January, let’s wish this lady who is loved by all around the world a very happy birthday.
Oprah Winfrey is an American talk show host, actress, author, television producer, and philanthropist. She is best known for her talk show – The Oprah Winfrey Show. This show was broadcasted for 25 years, from 1986 to 2011, and was the highest-rated television program of its kind in history. Often called ‘the queen of all media’ Oprah was the richest African American in the 20th Century.
Oprah was born as ‘Oprah’ Gail Winfrey on 29January 1954. Even though her birth name was ‘Orpha’ people often mispronounced her name and then the name ‘Oprah’ got stuck. Oprah’s childhood was spent in great poverty and misery. She was born to a teenage mother and was raised by her abusive grandmother. She has later confessed that she was molested by her cousin and uncle from a young age. And was pregnant at the age of fourteen. Her son was born prematurely and died shortly after birth.
During her later teenage years, Oprah was sent to stay with her father in Nashville, Tennessee. Her father was more supportive and encouraged her to study. Oprah won the Miss Black Tennessee beauty pageant at the age of 17 and attracted the attention of a local radio station. The radio station WVOL hired her to do the news part-time. Oprah worked there for a while and attended Tennessee State University with a scholarship. She studied Communication there.
Soon Oprah was scouted into local media, and she was the youngest and the only black female news anchor for the channel she was working for. After she hosted the lowest-rated show – AM Chicago, its rating rose high, and hence the movie critic Rodger Ebert offered her the show which was later named the Oprah Winfrey Show. This show was widely popular and ran for 25 years. From there on it was years of glistening fame for Oprah Winfrey. She even launched her own production company.
She popularized the more intimate, confession type talk shows. In the early years of The Oprah Winfrey Show, the program was classified as a tabloid talk show. In the mid-1990s, Winfrey began to host shows on deeper topics such as geopolitics, heart disease, spirituality, and meditation. She interviewed celebrities on social issues they were directly involved with, such as cancer, substance abuse, or charity work, and hosted televised giveaways.
In 2008, she had supported President Barack Obama and her endorsement of President Obama is estimated to have been worth about one million votes.
She was included in the National Women’s Hall of Fame, In 1994. Oprah Winfrey has won many awards throughout her career which includes eighteen Daytime Emmy Awards, two Primetime Emmy Awards and many others. Oprah Winfrey was elected as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2021
-Written By Poorna Krishnan