Oprah Winfrey Story: Groundbreaking Yet Tragic Journey

Oprah Winfrey is one of the most powerful women globally. However, she was born in extreme poverty, was abused many times by her relatives but still made her way to success.

By Aashi Jain May 26 2021 10:05PM 7735 Read
Life Biography of Oprah Gail Winfrey - The Queen of Daytime TV

To go through so much in your life and then stand in front of the entire world, explaining your complete tale, requires many guts. With a cumulative net worth of US $2.7 billion, Oprah Gail Winfrey is a well-known American talk show host, television producer, actress, author, and philanthropist. She was the wealthiest African American of the twentieth century and North America’s first black multi-billionaire. Not only that but she was also granted the distinction of America’s greatest black philanthropist.

The Oprah Winfrey Show

Her chat program ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show,’ which aired from Chicago, was her best-known work. It was one of the highest-rated television shows of its kind, and it aired for 25 years on a national broadcast from 1986 to 2011. She is also known for her dubbing skills since she was dubbed “Queen of All Media”. By 2007, she had established herself as one of the world’s most powerful women.

Winfrey Childhood

Oprah Gail Winfrey was born in Kosciusko, Mississippi, on January 29, 1954, to an unmarried single mother. At the time of her birth, her name was Orpah (a biblical figure from the Book of Ruth), but owing to people’s mispronunciation, it became Oprah. Winfrey was born into an impoverished household, and her mother moved north after her birth, leaving Oprah with her grandmother for six years. Because her grandmother’s financial situation was unstable, Winfrey was forced to wear potato sacks as clothing and was repeatedly mistreated by her grandmother. She was taught to read at age three and was taken to church to recite passages, where she was frequently referred to as a preacher.

Family and Marriage

Because of her profession as a maid, Winfrey’s single mother, Vernita Lee, was less positive and loving. According to Oprah, she was not adequately mothered, which made her fearful of being a mother. She had a grandma called Hattie Mae Lee, who looked after her when she was a child. Patricia and Jeffery were her half-siblings. Patricia died in February 2003, at the age of 43, and Jeffery died at the early age of 8 due to AIDS. Until 2010, Winfrey had no idea that she had another half-sister other than Patricia and Jeffrey, who was given away for adoption.

Oprah has been in a relationship with Stedman Graham for about 35 years, but they have decided not to marry because they think it would complicate the situation. Gayle King, the editor of O magazine, has been Winfrey’s best friend since 1997.

Oprah Winfrey Story: Abuse and Trauma

Oprah went to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with her mother and half-sister Patricia when she was six years old. When the family’s finances became strained, and it became impossible to handle two kids, Lee sent Oprah to her father Vernon’s house in Nashville, Tennessee. Her uncle, cousin, and a family acquaintance abused her when she was nine years old. In a 1986 edition of her TV show, Oprah revealed this to the entire globe. She ran away from home at the age of 13 after years of abuse and discovered she was pregnant at 14. She gave birth to a premature baby boy who died after birth.

Oprah Winfrey’s Career Timeline

Oprah has progressed from her first job as a teenager at a local grocery store to where she recently conducted a high-profile interview with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. Her talk show was as well-known as she was, with her interviewing all of the era’s luminaries, including Tom Cruise and Michael Jackson. Let’s take a look at her professional history to see how she became America’s wealthiest woman.

  • 1971- Winfrey secured a job at a grocery store and was later named Miss Black Tennessee in the state beauty contest. She was also employed as a part-time newsreader by a local radio station, WVOL, and worked there throughout her high school and college years.
  • 1984- In the early 1970s, she worked as a news anchor for WLAC-TV in Nashville and WJZ-TV in Baltimore, eventually hosting WJZ’s local talk show “People Are Talking” with Richard Sher in 1978. She subsequently moved to Chicago to host the WLS-TV network’s low-rated discussion show AM Chicago. But the greatest thing was that when Winfrey arrived, the show’s ratings skyrocketed.
  • 1985- When Steven Spielberg’s debut picture, “The Color Purple,” was premiered in theatres, Winfrey received a lot of attention. The period drama was nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for Oprah’s performance, which was based on a novel by Alice Walker.
  • 1986: The Winfrey-revitalized AM Chicago show became a smash hit in September 1986, and it was renamed “The Oprah Winfrey Show” shortly afterwards. And with the blink of an eye, the show became the highest-rated daytime talk show in the US.
  • 1993: With her program becoming a big success, Winfrey interviewed Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, on February 10, 1993. Michael’s first television interview, in which he spoke about his childhood trauma and disclosed that he had vitiligo, a skin disorder. The program was seen by almost 90 million people in the United States and is now remembered as one of the most memorable episodes of “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”
  • 2000: Winfrey ventured out into the realm of magazines with the self-branded O, ‘The Oprah Magazine,’ after establishing herself as a considerable force in the publishing business with her televised Book Club suggestions. The magazine was printed till 2020, after which it went online.
  • 2002: The Bob Hope Humanitarian Honor is the most remarkable of all the accolades and recognitions that Oprah has won in her career since she was the first-ever winner of the award. She received the prize during the Emmy Awards ceremony for her contributions to television and movies.
  • 2003: In 2003, Forbes’s annual list of the world’s billionaires announced that Oprah Winfrey had become the first black woman worth more than a billion dollars.
  • 2006: Obama’s visit to The Oprah Winfrey Show in October of 2006 is seen as pivotal in his campaign for the presidency. Winfrey’s show, a smash, indicated her complete support for him as a contender in the elections.
  • 2011: 2011 began with the debut of Oprah’s television network and finished with the successful conclusion of her most significant program, the one that provided her with everything she needed, whether it was fame or money. In 2011, The Oprah Winfrey Show aired its final episode.
  • 2013: President Barack Obama dubbed Winfrey “one of the world’s most successful broadcast journalists” and honored her with the country’s highest civilian honor in 2013.
  • 2021: Meghan (the Duchess of Sussex) and her husband Prince Harry was interviewed in 2021. The interview was televised worldwide and was a big success, garnering worldwide media attention.

Oprah Winfrey: Achievements

  • Winfrey was called “arguably the world’s most powerful woman” by CNN and Time.com
  • Winfrey was called “One of the 100 people who most influenced the 20th Century” and “one of the most influential people” by TIME
  • She is the only person to have appeared on the latter list of ten occasions
  • Life listed Winfrey as “the most influential woman” and “the most influential black person of her generation.”
  • Was listed on the top of the most powerful women in America by Ladies Home Journal
  • Became the first African American to top the Entertainment Weekly’s list of 101 most powerful people in the industry.
  • Life Magazine named Winfrey one of the 100 people who changed the world, along with Jesus Christ, Elvis Presley, and Lady Mary.

Oprah Winfrey: Books Written

With a total of 20 books written by Oprah, here are some exceptional and must-read books by her:

  • What I Know for Sure (2014)
  • What Happened to You? (2021)
  • The Path Made Clear (2019)
  • The Wisdom of Sundays (2017)
  • Food Health and Happiness (2017)

Final Motivation Thought

“It is not your fault if you are born poor. But it’s your fault if you die poor. “And Oprah Winfrey has certainly demonstrated this. Of course, forgetting your history and having the will to face the world and fight back hard enough to become the best is not simple. However, it is a natural law that “the harder you work, the luckier you become.” Winfrey didn’t have it easy when she was born, but she overcame her obstacles and demonstrated how to achieve them via her skills.

Aashi Jain
Aashi Jain View More Posts

I've completed my graduation and will be pursuing a master's degree in a couple of months. I've developed an immense interest in the field of content writing and gained experience by interning with companies. I am an ambitious person and look forward to living an independent life.

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