Oprah Winfrey: Education, Career & Net Worth

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey is an American talk show host, television producer, actress, author and philanthropist who is widely known for the popular talk show, ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’. Winfrey is the first African-American woman to be named to Forbes magazine’s billionaire list in 2003.

Did you know Oprah was born into poverty and got pregnant at the age of 14 but unfortunately lost the child? Her son was born prematurely and didn’t survive. Her selflessness and zeal to help the masses won her several awards and accolades including being inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1884.

Early Life

She was born Orpah Gail Winfrey on January 29, 1954 in Kosciusko, Mississippi, to unmarried parents Vernita Lee (mother) and Vemon Winfrey (father). Due to the difficulty in pronouncing and spelling her birth name ‘Orpah’, people got hooked to ‘Oprah’ which has been her name since child birth.

Soon after Oprah’s birth, her mother left her in the hands of her maternal grandmother who took care of her for six years while living in poverty. Her grandmother taught her how to read before the age of 3 from home.

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At age 6, Oprah joined her mother in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where she had given birth to another daughter who was Winfrey’s younger half-sister, Patricia. Due to difficulties in taking care of both daughters, she sent Winfrey to live with her father in Nashville, Tennessee.

According to Winfrey on a 1986 episode of her TV show, she was abused by family members. At the age of 13, she ran away from home and got pregnant at the age of 14 but unfortunately for her, she lost the child. Her son was born prematurely and die shortly after birth.

Education

She attended Lincoln High School in Milwaukee and later transferred to Nicolet High School, Glendale, Wisconsin after succeeding in the Upward Bound program. Winfrey was later sent to her live with her father again in Nashville where she attended East Nashville High School. She excelled and was voted Most Popular Girl and also joined the school’s speech team, where they placed second in the nation in a dramatic interpretation.

Oprah Winfrey

Career

Television

Winfrey started working at a local media, WLAC-TV (WTVF-TV), Nashville as a news anchor. She was the youngest new anchor and the first black female to work with the Television station.

She later joined WJZ-TV, Baltimore as a co-anchor for their six o’clock news in 1976 but the following year she was demoted to a lower position.

Oprah co-hosted WJZ’s local talk show, ‘People Are Talking’ in 1978’.

The Oprah Winfrey Show

Winfrey relocated back Chicago and was recruited by WLS-TV, where she host their talk show ‘AM Chicago’. The show became very popular and highly rated few months she took over.

The television show was renamed ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’ after noticing the success it was gaining. It started airing on September 8, 1986 and since then, the show has been very successful, attracted much viewers and won much accolades and awards.

She interviewed celebrities who were involved in social issues like drugs, charity work and more. Alongside her talk show, she produced and co-starred in ‘The Women of Brewster Place” drama in 1989.

Winfrey is the President of a film and TV production company, Harpo Productions, who have produced a couple of TV shows including ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show, Dr. Phil, Rachael Ray and The Dr. Oz.

The series finale of The Oprah Winfrey Show aired on May 25, 2011 and joined ‘60 Minutes’ television news magazine as a contributor in 2017. In 2018, she left the television news magazine.

Apple Partnership

In June, 2018, Apple and Winfrey entered a content partnership where it was agreed that she would create new original programs exclusively for Apple’s streaming service, Apple TV+.

The created shows like, ‘Oprah’s Club Book’ (first show), ‘COVID-19’ during the pandemic period (second show) and the third show, ‘The Oprah Conversation’.

Other Media

She co-starred as a housewife ‘Sofia’ in ‘The Purple Color’ in 1985 produced by Steven Spielberg. As a producer, she produced and played a role in the ‘Beloved’ film. Oprah was the voice behind Gussie the goose in Charlotte Web in 2006 and Judge Bumbleton in Bee Movie in 2007.

Winfrey voiced the character Eudora in The Princess and the Frog in 2009 and narrated the US version of the BBC nature program ‘Life’ for Discovery.

She is a co-author of five books; a weight-loss book including ‘The Life You Want’ (2017), ‘O, The Oprah Magazine’ (2000), ‘Fortune called O’ (2002) ‘O, At Home’, (between 2004-2008).

Her company owns Oprah.com

Personal Life

Relationship, marriage and children

Oprah Winfrey has been in several relationships but have never been married. She is currently in a relationship with Stedman Graham, they have been together for over 30 years. They were set to get married after their engagement in 1992 but was called off.

She previously dated Anthony Otey during high school days. Also, she had been in a romantic relationship with John Tesh, William Taylor, Lloyd Kramer, Roger Ebert, Randolph Cook and Reginald Chevalier.

Winfrey has no biological child as at now but she previously had a child who died prematurely when she was pregnant at age 14. On the other hand, through her foundation, ‘the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls’ in South Africa, she has adopted girl children.

She also has a step-daughter, Wendy Graham, the biological daughter of her lover, Stedman Graham.

Net Worth 

As of 13/10/2022, Oprah Winfrey is a billionaire worth $2.5B according to Forbes.

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