Media Mogul and Philanthropist Oprah Winfrey Celebrates Her 67th BirthdayJan 31, 2021 08:00AM ● By Kassidy Garland
Billionaire and media mogul, Oprah was born Orpah Gail Winfrey in Kosciusko, Mississippi on January 29, 1954. She was named after a biblical character from the book of Ruth, but people constantly mispronounced her name.
Oprah had a troubled childhood. She was raised in poverty in a small rural town. In her youth, she suffered sexual abuse at the hands of relatives and family friends, causing her to decide to move to Nashville, Tennessee to be with her father.
In 1971, Oprah enrolled and began classes at Tennessee State University, where she began working in radio and television broadcasting. After attending TSU, Oprah Winfrey moved to Baltimore, Maryland in 1976. In Baltimore, she starred as the host of People Are Talking, a TV chat show. Although she remained there for 8 years due to her success, she eventually left to host her own morning show, A.M. Chicago.
Her major competition at the time was Phil Donahue, but because of her welcoming and bright personality, she surpassed him in viewers. In 1986, The Oprah Winfrey Show was launched as a syndicated program, earning her $30 million. Running until 2011, the show lasted for 25 years and grew an audience of about 10 million people worldwide. Oprah eventually bought the rights to her show from ABC under Harpo Productions.
During the 1990s, with TV shows growing exploitative in the form of tabloids. She kept her show at a tier above the rest, scoring interviews with celebrities, diplomats, authors, and those of high moral character, keeping her show respectable.
In 2009, she announced that once her two year contract was up, she would end her program, but that was hardly the last the world would see. Since the ending of her show, Oprah created her own TV network, OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) housing, sitcoms, movies, and talk shows.
In addition to her new network, Oprah has appeared in a number of roles on the big screen, whether they were voiced or making a physical appearance. She has also produced a number of films, and launched her OWN show, Super Soul Sunday into a podcast, and holding large conventions and speaking engagements. In addition to her TV show, network, and movie roles, she has also written a book and published a magazine: O, The Oprah Magazine.
Oprah Winfrey has been named the richest African American of the 20th century, the world's only Black billionaire for three years running, and she has been named the greatest Black philanthropist in American history. Oprah’s Angel Network raised more than $50 million for a number of charitable programs, some of which include, those affected by Hurricane Katrina, and funding education for young girls in Africa. In 1994, President Bill Clinton signed a bill into law that was actually suggested by Ms. Winfrey. The bill created a national database of convicted child abusers in order to inform the public.
Oprah Winfrey has been a force to behold since her early days, and has been awarded as the first recipient of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ Bob Hope Humanitarian Award in 2002, and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in 2016.