Oprah Winfrey is one of the most successful television personalities of all time. But her life began very humbly.
- Oprah was born in 1954 in Mississippi. Her mother was a maid and her father was a coal miner and a barber.
- Oprah’s mother was just a teenager when Oprah was born. She named Oprah Orpah after the Biblical character in the Book of Ruth. But no one could pronounce Orpah so the name was changed to Oprah.
- Oprah lived with her grandmother, who taught her how to read and write before the girl was three years old. They were terribly poor. Oprah didn’t have shoes until she was six. But she enjoyed talking to the farm animals living there.
- When she started kindergarten, Oprah wrote a letter to her teacher asking the teacher to move her up to first grade. After reading the letter, Oprah’s teacher agreed. Oprah was moved ahead several more grades later.
- From an early age, Oprah liked to put on plays and shows. She was curious about other people and she had a lot of opinions.
- Oprah spent time living with her mother in Milwaukee and later, her father in Nashville, Tennessee. She was abused by several members of her family and had a baby who died when she was fourteen.
- Oprah was a good student and was also named the most popular person in her class when she graduated from high school.
- She won a scholarship to the University of Tennessee where she majored in drama and communications. She had jobs reading on the radio and later as a news anchor.
- In 1978, she got her first job as a talk show host in Baltimore, Maryland. Later she sent some tapes of her show to a station in Chicago. They immediately offered her a job doing a show there. She changed the name of the show to The Oprah Winfrey Show.
- The Oprah Winfrey Show ran for 25 years. It covered many controversial topics and also focused on giving to others.
- Oprah has always loved books and started her own book club. She also has her own magazine and has acted in many films.
- Oprah was raised by her grandmother to believe in God. She is still deeply spiritual.
- Since 1986, her partner has been Stedman Graham. Her mentor is the poet Maya Angelou.
- Oprah is worth more than $2.6 billion (2019).
Watch a video about Oprah Winfrey.