Oprah Winfrey (born Orpah Gail Winfrey on January 29, 1954) is an American media proprietor, businesswoman, talk show host, actress, producer, and and philanthropist, best known for her self-titled, multi-award-winning talk show, which has become the highest-rated program of its kind in history and was nationally syndicated from 1986 to 2011.
She was originally named "Orpah" after the Biblical character in the Book of Ruth, but her family and friends "didn't know how to pronounce it", and called her "Oprah" instead.
She has been ranked -
the richest African American of the 20th century
the greatest black philanthropist in American history.
Oprah Winfrey currently lives on "The Promised Land", her 42-acre (170,000 m2) estate with ocean and mountain views in Montecito,California,USA.
Oprah Winfrey and her boyfriend Stedhan Graham have been together since 1986. They were engaged to be married in November 1992, but the ceremony never took place.
Forbes' international rich list has listed Winfrey as the world's only black billionaire from 2004 to 2006 and as the first black woman billionaire in world history. According to Forbes, in September 2010 Winfrey was worth over $2.7 billion.
Working in local media, she was both the youngest news anchor and the first black female news anchor at Nashville's WLAC-TV.
She moved to Baltimore's WJZ-TV in 1976 to co-anchor the six o'clock news
She was then recruited to join Richard Sher as co-host of WJZ's local talk show People Are Talking, which premiered on August 14, 1978
In 1983, Winfrey relocated to Chicago to host WLS - TV's low-rated half-hour morning talk show, AM Chicago. The first episode aired on January 2, 1984. Within months after Winfrey took over, the show went from last place in the ratings to overtaking Donahue as the highest rated talk show in Chicago.
September 8, 1986 was the day ‘meaningful entertaining television' changed forever. It was the day Oprah Winfrey, 32 at the time, began her nationally syndicated talk show.
Elizabeth Taylor Interview (1988)
Just before that first legendary interview, Elizabeth Taylor announced that she would not talk about her famous relationships, and gave short answers to all of Oprah's questions. In 2009, Oprah Winfrey said her interview with Taylor was her worst interview in 20 years
Michael Jackson Interview (1993)
In 1993, Winfrey hosted a rare prime-time interview with MJ, which became the fourth most watched event in American television history as well as the most watched interview ever, with an audience of 36.5 million
Nelson Mandela Interview (2000)
On O's show Nelson Mandela(spent 27 years in jail, fighting apartheid) spoke about demanding respect, finding love and what he's learned about the art of peace. “You must fight the battle for dignity from the very first day,” Mandela told Oprah.
The Queen of Pop, Madonna Interview(2004)
Madonna spoke about her marriage to Guy Ritchie, motherhood and her music on the Oprah Winfrey show in 2004.
Aishwarya Rai Interview(2005)
In 2005, Aishwarya Rai(winner of Miss World1994) became the first Indian to feature on the Oprah Winfrey show. The former Miss World looked at ease on the show and taught O to drape a saree. O on her part, found the saree ‘sensual'
Bill Cosby Interview(2007)
America's favourite dad - Bill Cosby (2007)Bill Cosby came on the Oprah show in 2007, and scooped out all the “dirty laundry”. Promoting his book, “Come on, People” Cosby spoke candidly about the issues plaguing the younger generation that was facing isolation .
“Our children are trying to tell us something…and we're not listening," he said.
Tom Cruise Interview(2005)
Tom Cruise first appeared on Oprah's show in 1988 and since then, has appeared on the show 12 times.
The most famous (and parodied) appearance would be the one on May 23, 2005, when Cruise professed his love for his then new girlfriend, Katie Holmes. The world watched as the Hollywood hunk went gaga over his new love, bouncing on Oprah's couch, even hopping on one knee. It was Tom Cruise as never seen before.
The ‘Reluctant' First Lady of California (2008)
After 30 odd years of friendship with Oprah, Maria Shriver graced the Oprah show as the first Lady of California. On the show, she spoke about family, work and how she was asked to quit her job after her husband's(Arnold Schwarzenegger) victory. For her, it was a loss of identity as a working woman which she had carefully built and nurtured.
Aishwarya and Abhishek Bachchan Interview(2009)
Titled the 'Bollywood Love Story', 2009's season featured Aishwarya with husband Abhishek Bachchan on the sets of Oprah. This was their first television interview together. Abhishek even spilled the beans on his decision to marry Aishwarya: "I was filming in New York for a movie," he says. "And I used to stand on the balcony of my hotel room and wish that, 'One day, wouldn't it be nice if I was together with her, married.”
Abhishek said years later, after the premiere of Guru, he took Aishwarya to the same balcony and proposed to her.
Justin Bieber Interview (2010)
Oprah asked Justin what he did to maintain his ‘kid-ness' and the pop star confessed that on his one off day per week, he sometimes just sleeps in.
Lady Gaga Interview (2010)
It's a side of Lady Gaga we would never believe exists – on the Oprah show the pop star spoke about the message behind her music, how she got her name what she really wants her fans to know. Lady Gaga also gifted Oprah a special hair bow made by her.
Julia Roberts Interview(2010)
In 2010, the Eat, Pray, Love actress made an appearance on Oprah with the author of the best-seller Liz Gilbert, and gave an insight into her journey as an actress and her personal journey while shooting for the film in India and Italy.
Celine Dion Interview - most-frequent celebrity guest with 27 appearances
The singer first appeared on Oprah in 1996 after Oprah surprised her audience with a trip to Disney World.
The Obamas Interview(2011)
Oprah hosted a sitting President and First Lady for the first time in 25 years. The Obamas spoke about life in the White House, marriage, the controversy over the President's place of birth and his birth certificate. ‘Air Force One has landed in Chicago!' said Oprah. The President on his part said, "It's always nice to find an excuse to come home."
Audience members at the taping of the final show on May 17,2011
Kimberly Adams of Chicago stands outside Harpo Studios holding a poster of her favourite icon, before the final taping of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in Chicago, Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Oprah on the final show on May 25,2011
Christmas Kindness in South Africa (2002)
In 2002, the Christmas Kindness Journey to South Africa remains an unforgettable memory for O and her staff. `They traveled to South Africa to bring holiday joy to schoolchildren and orphans devastated by the AIDS epidemic
The Pontiac G6 giveaway(2004)
Oprah is more than known for her generosity on the show and over the years her audiences have benefitted from her magnanimity. The year 2004 marked a whole new chapter, when O gave every audience member a brand new Pontiac G6. Who will ever forget Oprah's joy as she told the audience of 276 people, "You get a car! You get a car! You get a car!"
Baby Shower Surprises at the Army Base (2004)
640 moms-to-be at the Fort Campbell Army Base in the US got a surprise baby shower from Oprah.
Paying it forward(2006)
Pay it forward was the theme, when on a 2006 show, Oprah gave each member of the audience $1000 and a camera. They were asked to pay it forward in inspirational ways and record themselves helping others.
A flash mob dances for Oprah (2009)
Oprah's producers were the ones giving a surprise this time around when in September 2009 they organized a flash mob of more than 20,000 people in Chicago. The show got the mob to dance to The Black Eyed Peas' "I Got a Feeling." The show was nothing short of mesmerizing.
Favorite Things (2010)
Oprah gave plenty of freebies on her 2010 show of Favourite Things! She gave away candles, refrigerators, books and plenty more to a crowd of screaming, crying audience.
Once-in-a-lifetime Down Under (2010)
Oprah began her talk show's 25th and final season in style with the surprise of a lifetime for her audience - John Travolta piloted the plane that flew the 300 audience members to Australia - courtesy of Winfrey - on an 8 day,7 night trip that took her producers almost an year to plan.
In 1998, Winfrey created the Oprah's Angel Network, a charity that supported charitable projects and provided grants to nonprofit organizations around the world. In 2005 she became the first black person listed by Business Week as one of America's 50 most generous philanthropists, having given an estimated $303 million as of 2007.Just 6 months after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2006, Oprah pledged $10 million of her own money toward building homes.
Oprah Winfrey co-starred in Steven Spielberg's 'The Color Purple(1985)as distraught housewife and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performancein the film.
Oprah Winfrey produced and starred in the film 'Beloved'(1998), based on Toni Morrison''s Pulitzer Prize winning novel of the same name.
Publishing and writing
Oprah Winfrey publishes magazines: O,The Oprah Magazine from 2004 to 2008, Oprah also published a magazine called O at Home
Winfrey has co-authored five books. At the announcement of a weight loss book in 2005, co-authored with her personal trainer Bob Greene, it was said that her undisclosed advance fee had broken the record for the world's highest book advance fee, previously held by the autobiography of former U.S.President Bill Clinton.