Happy Birthday, Oprah!
Oprah Winfrey, born January 29th, 1954, is an American media personality, best known for her talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show. She is also an actress, producer, author, philanthropist and according to various sources, one of the most influential people in the world. Oprah's talk show was the highest rated talk show in history and ran for 25 seasons between 1986 and 2011. Her empathy, openness and deeply personal discussions with her guests resulted in an effect the Wall Street Journal called "Oprahfication". The term referred to her revolution and popularization of the tabloid talk show as therapy through mass communication. In addition to her talk show, Oprah is known for co-authoring five books, publishing O: The Oprah Magazine, creating her own production company and television network and appearing in films such as The Color Purple (1985). Oprah was ranked one of the wealthiest African-Americans in the 20th Century.
"The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future by merely changing his attitude."
Oprah Winfrey's early life contained much hardship and woe. She was born in rural Mississippi to a young, single mother who could not afford to look after her. As a result, Oprah bounced between the homes of her grandmother and father, the former of which she accredits her courage to becoming a public speaker. Oprah's grandmother Hattie Mae said that ever since Winfrey could talk, she was on stage. Her confidence and intelligence led Oprah to become the most popular girl in her high school, an honors student, receive a full scholarship to Tennessee State University and win the Miss Black Tennessee beauty pageant. While still in high school, Oprah was hired to work for the local radio station part-time.
After helping boost the ratings of a Chicago talk show in 1983, Oprah was given her own talk show. It became syndicated and beat out Phil Donahue's daytime show, which had previously been the most popular show of its kind. Over the course of its broadcast, The Oprah Winfrey Show won 47 Daytime Emmy Awards and revolutionized the genre. Oprah was known to conduct deeply intimate conversations with her guests, who responded to her warmth and confided in her in a way they wouldn't with anyone else. In 1986, Oprah revealed her own tribulations and spoke of being abused by her relatives as a young child. Such personal conversations ascended the themes being discussed on her talk show to subjects such as drugs, health, religion and politics. The show is credited as one of the first media platforms to include mainsteam discussions of LGBT concerns.
The First Commercial for The Oprah Winfrey Show
Oprah invited many celebrities and political figures onto her show. The highest rated of these was the interview with Michael Jackson in 1993. The segment became the most watched interview in history as well as the fourth most watched event on American television ever. Oprah also shared the stage with Elizabeth Taylor, Tom Cruise, David Letterman and Barack Obama. Her support and close friendship with the Obama family is said to have pulled in over a million votes in the 2008 election.
Full Interview with Michael Jackson
Oprah is a much loved figure in American pop culture, being praised with "overcoming adversity to become a benefactor to others". From 2004 to 2008 Oprah published her magazine O: The Oprah Winfrey Magazine which was reported to be one of the most successful start-ups in the industry. Her website Oprah.com continues to be a sanction for fans and advice seekers, reaching more than 70 million page views a month. Oprah is a philanthropist and has shown much generosity over the years. She has given more than 400 scholarships to Morehouse College in Atlanta, created the Oprah's Angels Network to provide grants to nonprofit organizations worldwide and raised more than $11 million in Hurricane Katrina aid.
The Opera Winfrey Show aired its final episode on May 25th, 2011. At its end, she stated: "I love this show. This show has been my life. And I love it enough to know when it's time to say goodbye. Twenty-five years feels right in my bones, and it feels right in my spirit. It's the perfect number—the exact right time. So I hope that you will take this 18-month ride with me right through to the final show." The show was the number one rated daytime talk show from the very debut. Oprah continues to do charity work around the globe and lives on "The Promised Land", her 42-acre (170,000 m2) estate in Montecito, California.
Oprah's Next Chapter, her interview program and return to television, was released on January 1st, 2012. It airs on Sundays at 9pm on her network OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network.
- Birthday Date: Wednesday, 29 January 2014