Oprah Winfrey is an American media mogul, talk show host, a television producer, actress, entrepreneur and philanthropist. She is best known for her television show The Oprah Winfrey Show. Winfrey is the Queen of all media, and is amongst the most influential women in the world.
Oprah Winfrey Background.
Oprah Winfrey was born to a single mother, Vernita Lee but she lived with her grandmother, Presley Lee until she was six. She learned to read and write before 3 and was nicknamed The Preacher because she recited bible verses at her grandmother’s church.
Oprah Winfrey currently lives on her 42-acre estate called – The Promised Land. The estate has ocean and mountain views and it is located in Montecito, California. She has other houses in Lavallette, New Jersey; an apartment in Chicago, an estate on Fisher Island, Florida; a ski house in Telluride, Colorado; and properties on Maui, Hawaii, Antigua and Orcas Island in Washington State.
Educational And Early Career.
Oprah enrolled in an upward bound program at Lincoln High School, Milwaukee. With an excellent result from Lincoln High School, she transferred to Nicolet High School.
She later went to live with her father, Vernon Winfrey in Nashville, Tennessee, who supported and encouraged her educational pursuit. He enrolled her at East Nashville High school where she was elected as the most popular girl of her set. Afterward, she joined the school’s oratory club, and represented the school at a competition and came second. Vernon’s interest in Oprah’s academic success challenged her to succeed and she graduated from the school with honors.
Oprah went for an oratory competition and emerged as the winner, and was awarded a scholarship to study communication at Tennessee State University. While in school, Winfrey worked as a part-time newscaster with WVOL, a local radio station for blacks. Oprah’s hard work earned her a promotion as the co-host of the daylight news. Owing to consistency, she became a co-host of the night news as well.
The Oprah Winfrey Show.
The Oprah Winfrey Show is an American syndicated talk show that ran from September 8, 1986, to May 25, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The show was hosted and produced by Oprah Winfrey and aired nationally for 25 seasons.
The highly influential show was an educational platform and featured interviews, self-improvement segment and other insightful topics. The show penetrated into the American pop-cultural consciousness.
The Oprah Winfrey Show was originally a half-hour morning talk show airing on WLS-TV, an ABC owned and operated station in Chicago. Oprah took over as a host on January 2, 1985 and within a month, took the shows rating to first place from last place in local Chicago rating.
Following Winfrey’s success, awards and nomination for her performance as Sofia in the film the color purple, the show relaunched under the title Oprah Winfrey Show and it picked up nationally.
The show was one of the longest running daytime television talk shows and received over 47 Daytime Emmy Awards.
Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN)
The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) is a paid American TV station owned by Discovery Inc. and Harpo Studios. It launched on the 1st of January 2011 to about 80 million homes as a replacement to the Discovery Health Channel.
Programs aired on the network includes soap operas, comedy shows, lifestyle shows and talk shows. The joint venture between Discovery Inc. and Harpo Studios was initially a 50/50 venture until 2017, when Discovery Inc. acquired the larger shares of the network, leaving Harper studios, a “significant” minority stakeholder. Oprah’s contract with the network will last till 2025.
Oprah Winfrey as a Writer.
Oprah Winfrey has co-authored five books, one of which is her weight loss book which she co-authored with Bob Greene, her trainer. The book broke world record for being the book with the highest advance fee, previously helped by the autobiography of former U.S President Bill Clinton.
Winfrey is the publisher of ‘O, the Oprah Magazine’ and ‘O, at home’ (which was published from 2004 to 2008). The sales of ‘O, the Oprah Magazine’ significantly dropped between 2005 to 2008 and the January 2009 issue was the best-selling since 2006.
Oprah Winfrey’s Philanthropic Activities.
Oprah have received many awards in recognition of her services to humanity. Winfrey became the first black person to rank in the list of 50 most generous Americans in 2004. She remained among the top 50 until 2010.
As at 2012, Oprah had given away about $400 million to educational causes and had also given over 400 scholarships to Morehouse college in Atlanta, Georgia.
Oprah’s Angel Network
In 1998, she created the Oprah’s Angel Network; a charity that supported nonprofit organisations and charitable causes. The charity raised more than $80 million. To ensure all funds raised went to charity causes, Oprah Winfrey personally covered 100% of administrative cost.
Oprah Winfrey went on a 21-day trip to South Africa with her team where she filmed an episode of her show Oprah’s Christmas Kindness. The episode brought to light the plights of children living in poverty and with AIDS. Oprah and her team visited orphanages and schools in poverty stricken areas and distributed school supplies. They also gave presents to 50,000 children.
Winfrey invested her time and $40 million in establishing the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for girls in Henley on Klip, south of Johannesburg, South Africa. The school which is set over 22 acres with state-of-the-art facilities opened in January 2007. Oprah teaches a class at the school via satellite. Nelson Mandela praised her for being a blessing to others and overcoming her disadvantaged youth.
In 2005, Oprah created the Oprah Angel Network Katrina registry in response to Hurricane Katrina. More than $11 million was raised for the cause. Personally, Oprah gave $10 million to the relief efforts of Hurricane Katrina. The donations ensured that homes were built in Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama before one year anniversary of the incident.
With the Oprah Winfrey’s show ending in 2011, Oprah’s Angel Network stopped accepting donations in May 2010 and was shut down.
Awards and Recognitions of Oprah Winfrey.
- CNN and Time.com tagged her as “arguably the world’s most powerful woman”
- The American Spectator tagged her as “arguably the most influential woman in the world”.
- TIME named her as “one of the 100 people who most influenced the 20th Century.
- Life listed Winfrey as the ‘most influential woman’ and the ‘most influential black person of her generation’ at the end of the 20th century.
- Ladies Home Journal ranked Winfrey as first on their list of ‘the most powerful women in America’.
- Life magazine named Winfrey as one of the 100 people who changed the world. She is the only living woman on the list.
- NAACP Image Award Hall of Fame accepted her in 1989.
- Fortune named ‘O, the Oprah Magazine’ as the most successful start-up ever in the industry in 2002.
- TV Guide ranked the Oprah Winfrey show as number 49 on its 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time in 2002.
- Winfrey was the first black to be on the list of the 50 most generous Americans from 2004-2010.
- President Barack Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013.
- Forbes named her the world’s most powerful celebrity in 2005, 2007, 2008, 2010, and 2013.
- Winfrey was named the greatest woman in the history of America in 2009.
- Forbes listed her as one of the most powerful 100 women in the world in 2014.
Oprah Winfrey Net worth.
Oprah Winfrey’s has a net worth of $2.5 billion according to Forbes.