|Line 49:||Line 49:|
Latest revision as of 06:54, 3 November 2011Oprah Gail Winfrey (born January 29, 1954) is an American television presenter, media mogul and philanthropist. Through
Early Life and Education
Winfrey was born in rural Mississippi to a poor teenage single mother and later raised in an inner city Milwaukee neighborhood, Winfrey was raped at age 9 and at 14-years-old gave birth to a son, who died in infancy. Her childhood abuse was revealed dramatically on-air during one of her talk shows. She was later sent to live with her father in Tennessee. There, Winfrey became an honors student, was voted Most Popular Girl, joined her high school speech team, and placed second in the nation in dramatic interpretation. She won an oratory contest, which secured her a full scholarship to Tennessee State University, a historically black institution, where she studied communication.
At age 17, Winfrey won the Miss Black Tennessee beauty pageant. She also attracted the attention of the local black radio station, WVOL, which hired her to do the news part-time.She worked there during her senior year of high school, and during college.
She was both the youngest news anchor and the first black female news anchor at Nashville's WLAC-TV. She moved to Baltimore's WJZ-TV in 1976 to co-anchor the six o'clock news. She was then recruited to join Richard Sher as co-host of WJZ's local talk show People Are Talking. She also hosted the local version of Dialing for Dollars there as well.
The Oprah Winfrey Show
In 1983, Winfrey relocated to Chicago to host WLS-TV's low-rated half-hour morning talk-show, AM Chicago. 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. It was renamed The Oprah Winfrey Show, expanded to a full hour, and broadcast nationally.
In the mid-1990s, Winfrey adopted a less tabloid-oriented format, doing shows about heart disease in women, geopolitics with Lisa Ling, spirituality and meditation, and gift-giving and home decorating shows. She often interviews celebrities on issues that directly involve them in some way, such as cancer, charity work, or substance abuse. In addition, she interviews ordinary people who have done extraordinary things or been involved in important current issues.
Her now internationally-syndicated talk show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, has earned her multiple Emmy Awards and is the highest-rated talk show in the history of television.
Media Empire and Influence
She is also an influential book critic and books placed on the Oprah Book List become immediate best sellers. She has been ranked the richest African American of the 20th century, the most philanthropic African American of all time, and was once the world's only black billionaire. She is also frequently cited by Forbes and other magazines as one of the most influential woman in the world.
Credited with creating a more intimate confessional form of media communication, she is thought to have popularized and revolutionized the tabloid talk show genre, creating "confession culture".
Winfrey publishes two magazines: O, The Oprah Magazine and O at Home. She has co-authored five books; has a website, oprah.com, and through Harpo Productions, her management company, she has produced films (Beloved).
In early 2007, Winfrey funded a $40 million school complex for girls in South Africa. The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls has been beset by controversy involving alleged abuse of the girls; it has also been criticised for its lavishness which some commentators suggest would be more efficiently spent helping greater number of girls and children.
- Noon, Chris (January 2, 2007). "Oprah The Educator". Forbes. http://www.forbes.com. Retrieved August 25, 2008.
- Urban Mecca (November 19, 2004). "Oprah Winfrey Debuts as First African-American On BusinessWeek's Annual Ranking of 'Americas Top Philanthropists'". Press release. http://www.urbanmecca.com. Retrieved August 25, 2008.
- "The 50 Most Influential Boomers". LIFE. http://www.life.com. Retrieved March 6, 2007.
- TV Guide: Oprah Earns $385 Million Per Year
- "Forbes topic page on Oprah Winfrey". Forbes. Retrieved 2010-04-05.