One of America’s most recognizable personalities, Oprah Winfrey is a name that has almost become entirely synonymous with success, wealth, and the big-time. But the well-loved and universally adored star hasn’t always been in the limelight, and many still question why Oprah Winfrey originally became famous.
Oprah Winfrey is famous for being a renowned talk show host on ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’. The series – which is commonly referred to as ‘Oprah’ – aired for 25 years from 1986 to 2011 and is generally considered to be one of the highest-ranking daytime talk shows in American television history.
Yet, in many ways, Oprah is famous for so much more than her talk show alone, and the tale of how she rose to fame and became one of the world’s most beloved celebrities is a true rags-to-riches story. Here’s how a rural Mississippi-born child with a teenage single mother became a self-made multi-billionaire, entrepreneur, and philanthropist.
Oprah’s Early Life
Oprah wasn’t born into a life of affluence and stability. In fact, her formative years were dominated by issues of poverty and hardship.
From a young age, Oprah was passed around between a number of different members of her family, living with a series of different close relatives. After a short time living with her grandmother in Tennessee, she went to live with her mother in Milwaukee where she was subject to sexual abuse on several occasions.
Following her time spent with her mother, Oprah then went to live with her father, Vernon Winfrey, who was a barber and a business. It was during her cohabitation with her father that Oprah succeeded in high school and became interested in various academic disciplines.
Oprah and the Entertainment Industry
By the time Oprah was 19, she had gotten a job in Nashville’s news media and in doing so, became the city’s first African American female co-anchor. It was from this job that Oprah first became involved in the world of media and entertainment, and she would go on to change the industry from top to bottom.
In Baltimore, in 1976, she hosted the talk show ‘People Are Talking’ and after making the show a roaring success, she was recruited to host the show, ‘A.M. Chicago’. A decade later and Oprah was hosting her very own show.
It has been said that Oprah revolutionized the entertainment industry. The star had a “humanistic touch” that singled her out from the competition.
One comment on Oprah’s style reads: “Creating an emotional appeal in her show has enabled her to get very close to the people’s heart thus winning a large audience.”
The Oprah Winfrey Show
During its 25 years of broadcast history, The Oprah Winfrey Show collated more than a few hugely impressive statistics. Over the years, the show amassed a total of 25 seasons and an astonishing 4,561 episodes.
One of the most impressive figures about the show concerns Oprah’s famous giveaways. In total, 570 cars were given away.
With a net worth said to be around $2.6 billion, Oprah’s time in the limelight did wonders for the star’s career.
Things You Might Not Know About Oprah
Although much of Oprah’s life is well-documented and available to all who seek to know more, there is still so much that even the celebrity’s most hardcore fans might not be aware of.
When Oprah was a child, she was nicknamed “The Preacher” due to her remarkable ability to recite verses from the Bible. It is said that Oprah became particularly knowledgeable about scripture after her grandmother frequently took her to church.
Oprah is widely known as a talk show host and actor, but some may not be aware that she has also lent her voice to several animated films such as ‘Charlotte’s Web’ and ‘The Princess and the Frog’.
Oprah had a bit of the thing for smashing records, and her high-profile interview with Michael Jackson became the most-watched interview of all-time, after 36 million people tuned in.
Widely believed to be the most influential woman in the world, Oprah is a philanthropist and offers her support to a number of charitable causes. Oprah’s Angel Network was founded to “encourage people around the world to make a difference in the lives of others”.
The Eternally Inspiring Life of Oprah Winfrey
While Oprah’s life certainly hasn’t always been smooth-sailing, the icon and national treasure has always taken the challenges of life in her stride and achieved what many could only dream of.