Oprah is one of the few people so famous that she is known by only one name. She shares this unique quality with Jordan, Ali, LeBron, Mozart, and a few others. Oprah was born Oprah Gail Winfrey, in a little known, rural Mississippi town named Kosciusko. Her accolades: philanthropist, children's rights activist, philanthropist, media maven, business mogul, and network producer.
Oprah's effective communication abilities earned her a full scholarship to Tennessee State University where she majored in communication. After a promising start to her career at a local radio station, Oprah was given an opportunity to report the news at a Nashville television station. There, she became the first Black woman to anchor the news. But Oprah didn't stop there.
Oprah moved to Chicago to anchor the popular morning news show AM Chicago. Within months Oprah brought AM Chicago to prominence, quickly leading in the polls. It was only a matter of time before Oprah's hard work, charm, and wit would land her at the top of the television world. In 1986 Oprah one-hour long show aired and for the next twenty years, Harpo Productions (company that produced Oprah's show, which she was the president) owned daytime television.
Oprah's uncanny ability to connect with her audience made her show unique and impossible to reproduce. Oprah's willingness to be open with her audience gave her an audience the authentic host they desperately craved. She was real, and tangible. When she interviewed guests, Oprah had a way of devoting 100 percent of her focus on the guest, eliciting more and more revealing information that would otherwise not have been disclosed. Oprah was the Beethoven of television talk show hosts.
Oprah was mesmerizing on camera and her influence extended far beyond her immediate audience. Oprah became such an influential force that her impact on decision making became known as the Oprah effect. She could persuade anyone to do anything because she was so trustworthy. During all of her years on camera, she never gave her audience a reason to disbelieve any information she shared. She was open with her weight loss battles, being sexually assaulted as a minor, and even her troubled romantic life. Oprah was unafraid and after a few years on set, she was emboldened to continue.
When her contract with ABC ended in 2011, she didn't renew. Oprah took over full time responsibilities of running the Oprah Winfrey Network ("OWN"). Though Oprah is best known as a television talk show host, her work in the 1985 film "The Color Purple" earned an Academy Award nomination.
With a net worth nearly topping $3 billion, Oprah is the world's first Black female billionaire and wealthiest self-made woman.