This article about a brief story of Oprah Winfrey, from poverty to riches, is writing to inspire you on whatever you are or have passed through is life. The bottom line is that there is still hope for you, the final whistle has not yet been blown, it is not finished until it is finished. Also this article contains affiliate links: as an Amazon Associate we may earn commission from qualifying purchases.

Oprah Gail Winfrey (born Orpah Gail Winfrey; January 29, 1954) is an American media executive, actress, talk show host, television producer, and philanthropist. She is best known for her talk show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, broadcast from Chicago, which was the highest-rated television program of its kind in history and ran in national syndication for 25 years from 1986 to 2011. Dubbed the "Queen of All Media", she was the richest African American of the 20th century and North America's first black multi-billionaire, and she has been ranked the greatest black philanthropist in American history. By 2007, she was sometimes ranked as the most influential woman in the world.

Things You Need to Know About Oprah Winfrey


Winfrey was born into poverty in rural Mississippi to a teenage single mother and later raised in inner-city Milwaukee.

Oprah Winfrey as a lil kid, looking sooo sad
Oprah Winfrey as a lil kid, looking sooo sad/credit: Pinterest

She has stated that she was molested during her childhood and early teens and became pregnant at 14; her son was born prematurely and died in infancy. Winfrey was then sent to live with the man she calls her father, Vernon Winfrey, a barber in Tennessee, and landed a job in radio while still in high school.

By 19, she was a co-anchor for the local evening news. Winfrey's often emotional, extemporaneous delivery eventually led to her transfer to the daytime talk show arena, and after boosting a third-rated local Chicago talk show to first place, she launched her own production company and became internationally syndicated.

Oprah Winfrey, Junior Year of High School (1970)
Oprah Winfrey, Junior Year of High School (1970)

After Winfrey's birth, her mother traveled north, and Winfrey spent her first six years living in rural poverty with her maternal grandmother, Hattie Mae (Presley) Lee (April 15, 1900 – February 27, 1963), who was so poor that Winfrey often wore dresses made of potato sacks, for which the local children made fun of her. Her grandmother taught her to read before the age of three and took her to the local church, where she was nicknamed "The Preacher" for her ability to recite Bible verses. When Winfrey was a child, her grandmother would hit her with a stick when she did not do chores or if she misbehaved in any way.

At age six, Winfrey moved to an inner-city neighborhood in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with her mother, who was less supportive and encouraging than her grandmother had been, largely as a result of the long hours she worked as a maid. Around this time, Lee had given birth to another daughter, Winfrey's younger half-sister, Patricia who later (in February 2003, at age 43) died of causes related to cocaine addiction.

By 1962, Lee was having difficulty raising both daughters so Winfrey was temporarily sent to live with Vernon in Nashville, Tennessee. While Winfrey was in Nashville, Lee gave birth to a third daughter who was put up for adoption (in the hope of easing the financial straits that had led to Lee's being on welfare) and was later also named Patricia. Winfrey did not learn she had a second half-sister until 2010. By the time Winfrey moved back with her mother, Lee had also given birth to a boy named Jeffrey, Winfrey's half-brother, who died of AIDS-related causes in 1989.

Winfrey has stated she was molested by her cousin, uncle, and a family friend, starting when she was nine years old, something she first announced to her viewers on a 1986 episode of her TV show regarding sexual abuse. When Winfrey discussed the alleged abuse with family members at age 24, they reportedly refused to believe her account.

The Oprah Winfrey Show


Winfrey once commented that she had chosen not to be a mother because she had not been mothered well. At 13, after suffering what she described as years of abuse, Winfrey ran away from home. When she was 14, she became pregnant but her son was born prematurely and he died shortly after birth. Winfrey later stated she felt betrayed by the family member who had sold the story of her son to the National Enquirer in 1990.

The Oprah Winfrey Show


Working in local media, 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. In 1977, she was removed as co-anchor and worked in lower profile positions at the station. She was then recruited to join Richard Sher as co-host of WJZ's local talk show People Are Talking, which premiered on August 14, 1978. She also hosted the local version of Dialing for Dollars.

In 1983, Winfrey relocated to Chicago to host WLS-TV's low-rated half-hour morning talk show, AM Chicago. The first episode aired on January 2, 1984. 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. The movie critic Roger Ebert persuaded her to sign a syndication deal with King World. Ebert predicted that she would generate 40 times as much revenue as his television show, At the Movies. It was renamed The Oprah Winfrey Show, expanded to a full hour and broadcast nationally beginning September 8, 1986. Winfrey's syndicated show brought in double Donahue's national audience, displacing Donahue as the number-one daytime talk show in America. Their much-publicized contest was the subject of enormous scrutiny. TIME magazine wrote:

Few people would have bet on Oprah Winfrey's swift rise to host of the most popular talk show on TV. In a field dominated by white males, she is a black female of ample bulk. As interviewers go, she is no match for, say, Phil Donahue ... What she lacks in journalistic toughness, she makes up for in plainspoken curiosity, robust humor and, above all empathy. Guests with sad stories to tell are apt to rouse a tear in Oprah's eye ... They, in turn, often find themselves revealing things they would not imagine telling anyone, much less a national TV audience. It is the talk show as a group therapy session.

Few entrepreneurs of any race or gender have achieved as much spectacular success as Oprah Winfrey (1954– ). From her early success as the host of A. M. Chicago, Oprah has built a media empire that extends far beyond The Oprah Winfrey Show, although the show, which has been America's highest rated talk show for eighteen seasons, has won thirty five Emmy Awards, and is broadcast in 109 countries, remains at the heart of Oprah's success.

Oprah's success

The spectacular achievements of her company, Harpo Productions, have made her the first African American female billionaire. Oprah's meteoric rise is perhaps due to her ability to embrace a wide range of projects, including acting and producing for television film, publishing O magazine, devising the influential Oprah's Book Club, and donating large sums of money for philanthropic causes both at home and abroad. Inarguably a household name, Oprah represents a high water mark of success for entertainers and businesspeople everywhere.

Winfrey has co-authored five books. At the announcement of a weight-loss book in 2005, co-authored with her personal trainer Bob Greene, it was said that her undisclosed advance fee had broken the record for the world's highest book advance fee, previously held by the autobiography of former U.S. President Bill Clinton.

Winfrey's company created the Oprah.com website to provide resources and interactive content relating to her shows, magazines, book club, and public charity. Oprah.com averages more than 70 million page views and more than six million users per month, and receives approximately 20,000 e-mails each week. Winfrey initiated "Oprah's Child Predator Watch List", through her show and website, to help track down accused child molesters. Within the first 48 hours, two of the featured men were captured.

In 2004, Winfrey became the first black person to rank among the 50 most generous Americans and she remained among the top 50 until 2010. By 2012, she had given away about $400 million to educational causes.

Winfrey
Winfrey visits evacuees from New Orleans temporarily sheltered at the Reliant center in Houston following Hurricane Katrina.


Winfrey currently lives on "The Promised Land", her 42-acre (17-ha) estate with ocean and mountain views in Montecito, California. Winfrey also owns a house 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.

Aerial view of Oprah's Montecito estate
Aerial view of Oprah's Montecito estate
Winfrey's best friend since their early twenties is Gayle King. King was formerly the host of The Gayle King Show and is currently an editor of O, the Oprah Magazine.

Winfrey's best friend since their early twenties is Gayle King

Oprah's Favorite Things



Items personally favored by Winfrey were featured on the show and given away to audience members. Since its launch in 1996, the "Favorite Things" episode quickly became the hottest ticket in television. When a product was featured, its sales skyrocketed. Select groups were sometimes chosen to receive the items. In 2004, the audience was made up of educators from across the country. Hurricane Katrina volunteer workers were invited to the 2005 show. Winfrey has said that the iPad, given away to her 2010 audience, was her all-time favorite "Favorite Thing". During a Season 25: Oprah Behind the Scenes episode documenting the production of the giveaway, Winfrey talked about why the event resonates with viewers:

The things of "Favorite Things" is the least of the experience. It's sharing that moment with 300 other people, acknowledging that surprise and fantastical, sensational, wonderful, happy things can still occur in your life.

Oprah was raised a Baptist. In her early life, she would speak at local, mostly African American congregations of the Southern Baptist Convention that were often deeply religious and familiar with such themes as evangelical Protestantism, the Black church, and being born-again.

She was quoted as saying: "I have church with myself: I have church walking down the street. I believe in the God force that lives inside all of us, and once you tap into that, you can do anything." She also stated, "Doubt means don't. When you don't know what to do, do nothing until you do know what to do. Because the doubt is your inner voice or the voice of God or whatever you choose to call it. It is your instinct trying to tell you something is off. That's how I have found myself to be led spiritually, because that's your spiritual voice saying to you, 'let's think about it.' So when you don't know what to do, do nothing."

Oprah has stated that she is a Christian and her favorite Bible verse is Acts 17:28.

Winfrey at the White House for the 2010 Kennedy Center Honors
Winfrey at the White House for the 2010 Kennedy Center Honors

Winfrey endorsed presidential candidate Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election, the first time she endorsed a political candidate running for office. Winfrey held a fundraiser for Obama on September 8, 2007, at her Santa Barbara estate. In December 2007, Winfrey joined Obama for a series of rallies in the early primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. The Columbia, South Carolina, event on December 9, 2007, drew a crowd of nearly 30,000, the largest for any political event of 2007.

Winfrey and Obama at Williams-Brice Football Stadium in Columbia, SC (December 9, 2007)
Winfrey and Obama at Williams-Brice Football Stadium in Columbia, SC (December 9, 2007)

Oprah Winfrey's endorsement of Barack Obama was one of the most widely covered and studied developments of the 2008 presidential campaign, as she has been described as the most influential woman in the world. Winfrey first endorsed Obama in September 2006 before he had even declared himself a candidate. In May 2007 Winfrey made her first endorsement of candidate Obama, and in December 2007, she made her first campaign appearances for him.

Winfrey joins Barack and Michelle Obama on the campaign trail (December 10, 2007)

Two economists estimate that Winfrey's endorsement was worth over a million votes in the Democratic primary race and that without it, Obama would have lost the nomination. Then-Governor of Illinois Rod Blagojevich claimed that the endorsement was so significant in electing Obama president that he considered offering Obama's former seat in the Senate to Winfrey.

In 2009, Winfrey filmed a series of interviews in Denmark highlighting its citizens as the happiest people in the world. In 2010, Bill O'Reilly of Fox News criticized these shows for promoting a left-wing society. Following the launch of the Super Soul Sunday and SuperSoul Sessions programs on Harpo Productions' SuperSoul TV, in 2016 Winfrey selected 100 people for the SuperSoul 100' list of "innovators and visionaries who are aligned on a mission to move humanity forward."

Winfrey filming in Denmark in 2009
Winfrey filming in Denmark in 2009

On using the N-word, Winfrey said, "You cannot be my friend and use that word around me. ... I always think of the...people who heard that as their last word as they were hanging from a tree."

Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls



The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls – South Africa (OWLAG) is a boarding school for girls, grades 8-12, in Henley on Klip, Gauteng Province, South Africa.Coordinates: 26°32′49″S 28°03′19″E The school is a project begun by the American entrepreneur and philanthropist Oprah Winfrey in 2002, born out of a discussion she had with South African president Nelson Mandela in 2000. OWLAG opened in 2007 and its inaugural class of 72 girls graduated in 2011.

Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls

Inspired by her own disadvantaged childhood, Winfrey stated that she founded the Leadership Academy to provide educational and leadership opportunities for academically gifted girls from impoverished backgrounds in South Africa who exhibited leadership qualities for making a difference in the world. She wanted to help girls who grew up like her, "economically disadvantaged, but not poor in mind or spirit".

Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls

The school teaches the Independent Examinations Board (IEB) curriculum writes the South African National Senior Certificate.
Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls


Oprah now smiles all the time


Oprah Always smiles

Oprah Always smiles

Oprah Always smiles

Oprah Always smiles

Oprah Always smiles

Oprah Always smiles

Oprah Always smiles

Oprah's favorite quote:



Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough.
Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.
Turn your wounds into wisdom.


Oprah's Net worth: US$2.7 billion (October 2019)



Oprah's Books:


Oprah's Books


1. The Path Made Clear: Discovering Your Life's Direction and Purpose


The Path Made Clear: Discovering Your Life's Direction and Purpose

Everyone has a purpose. And, according to Oprah Winfrey, "Your real job in life is to figure out as soon as possible what that is, who you are meant to be, and begin to honor your calling in the best way possible."

That journey starts right here. 

Price: 14 At Amazon



2. What I Know for Sure


What I Know for Sure

After film critic Gene Siskel asked her, "What do you know for sure?" Oprah Winfrey began writing the "What I Know for Sure" column in O, The Oprah Magazine. Saying that the question offered her a way to take "stock of her life", Oprah has penned one column a month over the last 14 years, years in which she retired The Oprah Winfrey Show (the highest-rated program of its kind in history), launched her own television network, became America's only black billionaire, was awarded an honorary degree from Harvard University and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, watched friends and colleagues come and go, lost beloved pets and adopted new ones, and celebrated milestone birthdays. Throughout it all, she's continued to offer her profound and inspiring words of wisdom in her "What I Know for Sure" column in O, The Oprah Magazine.

Price: $12.59 At Amazon



3. The Wisdom of Sundays: Life-Changing Insights from Super Soul Conversations


The Wisdom of Sundays: Life-Changing Insights from Super Soul Conversations

Oprah Winfrey says Super Soul Sunday is the television show she was born to do. “I see it as an offering,” she explains. “If you want to be more fully present and live your life with a wide-open heart, this is the place to come to.”

Now, for the first time, the aha moments of inspiration and soul-expanding insight that have enlightened millions on the three-time Emmy Award-winning Super Soul Sunday are collected in The Wisdom of Sundays, a beautiful, cherishable, deeply-affecting book.

Price: $13.74 At Amazon


4. Oprah Winfrey: The Life, Lessons & Rules for Success


Oprah Winfrey: The Life, Lessons & Rules for Success

When Oprah Winfrey speaks, the world listens. Health – both emotional and physical, and general wellness are the topics she often focuses upon. She is completely transparent with her own struggles in these areas, allowing herself to be relatable whilst also inspiring change

She has been ranked the richest African American of the 20th century, the greatest black philanthropist in American history, and was once the world’s only black billionaire.

In short, Oprah Winfrey is a boss.

Price: $10 At Amazon



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