Short Biography of Oprah Winfrey
"The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams."
- Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey was born in Kosciusko, Mississippi. Her parents were unmarried and broke up soon after conception. Oprah had a difficult childhood. She lived in great poverty and often had to dress in potato sacks for which she was mocked at school. She was also sexually abused at an early age.
"Turn your wounds into wisdom."
- Oprah Winfrey
From the age of 14 she went to live with her father. Oprah says he was strict, but she was in the mood to be disobedient during her teenage years. After working her way through college she became interested in journalism and media and got her first job as a news anchor for a local TV station.
Her emotional style did not go down well for a news programme so she was transferred to an ailing daytime chat programme. After Oprah took over, the daily chat show took off and this later led to her own programme - The Oprah Winfrey Show.
The Oprah Winfrey show has proved to be one of the most successful and highly watched TV programme of all time. It has broken many social and cultural barriers such as gay and lesbian issues. Oprah has also remained a powerful role model for women, and black American women in particular.
In recent years, the Oprah Winfrey show has focused on issues of self-improvement, spirituality and self-help. Diet has also been a big issue with Oprah once successfully losing a lot of excess weight. Her subsequent diet book sold millions of copies. However, like many dieters Oprah has suffered from a yo-yo weight loss and gain.
The Oprah Winfrey book club has become the most influential book clubs in the world. A recommendation from Oprah Winfrey frequently sends books to the top of the best seller lists. Many commentators agree that Oprah Winfrey exerts enormous influence. Some estimated her support for Barack Obama helped him gain 1 million votes in the 2008 election.
As Vanity Fair said of Oprah Winfrey
"Oprah Winfrey arguably has more influence on the culture than any university president, politician, or religious leader, except perhaps the Pope"
Oprah Winfrey was also nominated for an Oscar in the film - A Color Purple. Produced by Steven Spielberg, the epic Color Purple told of segregation in America's deep south. Oprah was widely admired for her role as Sofia.