Oprah Winfrey (born Orpah Gail Winfrey on January 29, 1954) is an American television host, actress, producer, and philanthropist, best known for her self-titled, multi-award winning talk 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, 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 in Kosciusko, Mississippi to an unmarried teenage mother, Vernita Lee (born c. 1935). She later said that her conception was due to a single sexual encounter and the couple broke up not long after.After her birth, Winfrey's mother traveled north and Winfrey spent her first six years living in rural poverty with her grandmother, Hattie Mae Lee (April 15, 1900 – February 27, 1963), who was so poor that Winfrey often wore dresses made of potato sacks, for which the local children made fun of her.
Winfrey has stated she was molested by her cousin, her uncle, and a family friend, starting when she was nine years old, something she first claimed to her viewers on a 1986 episode of her TV show, when sexual abuse was being discussed. When she was 14, she became pregnant, her son dying shortly after birth. She later said she felt betrayed by the family member who had sold the story to the National Enquirer in 1990.
In 1983, Winfrey relocated to Chicago to host WLS-TV's low-rated half-hour morning talk show, AM Chicago. The first episode aired on January 2, 1984. Within months after Winfrey took over, the show went from last place in the ratings to overtaking Donahue as the highest rated talk show in Chicago. The movie critic Roger Ebert persuaded her to sign a syndication deal with King World. Ebert predicted that she would generate 40 times as much revenue as his television show, At the Movies. It was renamed The Oprah Winfrey Show, expanded to a full hour, and broadcast nationally beginning September 8, 1986.
Winfrey currently lives on "The Promised Land", her 42-acre (170,000 m2) estate with ocean and mountain views in Montecito, California. Winfrey also owns a house in Lavallette, New Jersey, an apartment in Chicago, an estate on Fisher Island, Florida, a house in Douglasville, Georgia, a ski house in Telluride, Colorado, and property on Maui, Hawaii and Antigua. Her base during filming of Winfrey's show is Chicago, so she spends time in the neighborhood of Streeterville.
Winfrey was called "arguably the world's most powerful woman" by CNN and Time.com, "arguably the most influential woman in the world" by theAmerican Spectator, "one of the 100 people who most influenced the 20th Century" and "one of the most influential people" from 2004 to 2011 by TIME. Winfrey is the only person in the world to have appeared in the latter list on all eight occasions.
Chief Executive, Kraft Foods
Secretary of State
Chief Executive, PepsiCo
Singer and performance artist
Chief Executive, Westpac
Singer, fashion designer
Talk show host
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