Oprah Winfrey, born on January 29, 1954, started her media career at the W.V.O.L. radio station in Nashville at the age of 17. While at the radio station, she won a scholarship to Tennessee State University. Young Winfrey would grow older to become the first black female billionaire. Her stellar career as a talk show host would not surprise those who knew her as a kid. As a kid, she would have conversations with crows and corn cobs. Winfrey, a black female, became a force to be reckoned with in a white-male-dominated field. Let’s celebrate this shining star’s birthday.
Oprah Gail Winfrey was born to young Vernita Lee in Kosciusko, Mississippi. Her father was Vernon Winfrey, a former miner and barber. Her mother was a teenager when she had her. As a result, her grandmother, Hattie Lee, had to raise her. Winfrey’s childhood was filled with poverty. Her grandmother was very religious and taught her how to read before she turned three. Hattie also taught her how to be a confident speaker. Winrey was an exceptional student and while in high school, she was transferred to a better school through the Upward Bound program. The transfer was to improve her chances of getting into college.
At 17, she joined W.V.O.L., a local black radio station. Later, she switched to television by joining Nashville’s WLAC-TV (now WTVF). She relocated to Chicago in 1984. She did this to host “AM Chicago.” She transformed the AM Chicago show. Within a few months, the show went from being a poorly rated show to become one of the best shows in Chicago. It was obvious to many media experts that Winfrey is different. In 1986, she renegotiated the rights to the AM Chicago. As a result, AM Chicago was replaced by “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” The deal made her a millionaire. She has interviewed many notable celebrities. Her interview with Michael Jackson in 1993 is one of the most-watched interviews of all time.
With her show, she became a cultural icon. “The Oprah Winfrey Show” ran from 1986 to 2011 with 25 seasons. The show won 18 Daytime Emmy awards, among many others. In 2003, she was valued at a billion dollars. By 2021, her net worth had grown to $2.6 billion. In March 2021, she had an insightful interview with Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan.
She relocates to Chicago from Mississippi to anchor the AM Chicago.
She renegotiates the rights to AM Chicago and renames the show after herself.
The interview becomes the fourth-most watched interview of all time.
She becomes the first black female billionaire.
Her 25-year show comes to an end.
Why We Love Oprah Winfrey
She fights against child abuse
A former victim of child abuse herself, Winfrey helps combat child abuse. She has made it a lifelong activity.
She funds battered women's shelters
Winfrey contributes her resources to help disadvantaged girls and women. She set up a school for girls in South Africa to achieve this purpose.
Winfrey is a committed philanthropist
She contributes significant funds to schools. Chicago public schools and Morehouse College are just some of the institutions that benefit from her philanthropy.
5 Surprising Facts
Winfrey's birth name was Orpah
People mispronounced Winfrey's name as Oprah, so she had to change it eventually.
She won the Miss Black Tennessee pageant
When Winfrey was only 17 years old, she won the Miss Black Tennessee beauty pageant.
The richest black woman
She is the richest black woman in the world.
Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom
Winfrey received the Presidential Medal of Freedom (the highest civilian honor) from President Obama.
She anchored the news at 19
At just 19 years of age, she anchored the news at Nashville's WTVF-TV.
Oprah Winfrey FAQs
Did Oprah Winfrey have a child at 14?
Yes, she was sexually abused as a child. She had a son who died because he was born prematurely.
Why is Oprah Winfrey important?
She is one of the most influential women in America. She is also very wealthy.
How is Oprah Winfrey a billionaire?
She made her money from her Oprah Winfrey network and other investments.
Oprah Winfrey’s birthday dates