Oprah Winfrey

Born:January 29, 1954 (age 70)

Oprah Winfrey is an American media proprietor, actress, producer and philanthropist. She is best known for her talk show "The Oprah Winfrey Show," which was nationally syndicated from 1986 to 2011 and was the highest-rated television program of its kind.

Winfrey was born on January 29, 1954, in rural Mississippi and spent much of her youth in inner-city Milwaukee. In high school, she was sent to Tennessee to live with her father, where she was was an honors student and joined the school's speech team, placing second in the nation in dramatic interpretation. She won an oratory contest, giving her a full scholarship to Tennessee State University, where she studied communication At age 17, she won the Miss Black Tennessee beauty pageant, which led to a part-time radio news job while she was still in high school. At age 19, Winfrey began co-anchoring the local evening news, the youngest news anchor and the first Black female news anchor at Nashville's WLAC-TV. She moved to Baltimore in 1976 to co-anchor the six o'clock news but lost that position. In 1978, she became co-host of a local daytime talk show.

In 1983, Winfrey moved to Chicago to host the half-hour morning talk show, "AM Chicago." Within months, the show moved from last place in the ratings to the highest-rated talk show in the city. It was renamed "The Oprah Winfrey Show," expanded to an hour and broadcast nationally beginning September 8, 1986. Winfrey also co-founded the women's cable television network Oxygen and is the president of Harpo Productions. In 2000, she launched a monthly magazine, "O: The Oprah Magazine." On January 1, 2011, the OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network channel was launched. In January 2017, CBS announced that Winfrey would join "60 Minutes" as a special contributor on the Sunday evening news magazine program starting in September 2017.

"Life" magazine has hailed her as the most influential woman of her generation and "Business Week" named her the greatest Black philanthropist in American history. Oprah's Angel Network has raised more than $50 million for charitable programs, including girls' education in South Africa and relief to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. In 1994, President Bill Clinton signed a bill into law that Winfrey had proposed to Congress, creating a nationwide database of convicted child abusers. She also founded the Family for Better Lives foundation. In the 2008 presidential campaign, Winfrey campaigned for Barack Obama.

In 2013, Winfrey was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama. In January 2018, Winfrey became the first African American woman to be honored with the Golden Globes' Cecil B. DeMille Award, for lifetime achievement.