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Oprah Winfrey's Biography

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Oprah Winfrey was born on 29 January 1954 in Kosciusko, Mississippi.

When she was born, Oprah Winfrey's parents, Verrita Lee, a housemaid, and Vernon Winfrey, a soldier, were unmarried teenagers.

When she was nine, Oprah was raped by a cousin. In her childhood she was sexually abused by other family members and family friends. At 14 Oprah became pregnant but the baby was born stillborn.

Oprah Winfrey studied speech communication and performing arts at Tennessee State University. Afterwards she became the first black woman newscaster in Nashville's WTVF-TV. She was also the youngest person to anchor the news there.

Oprah became a reporter in Baltimore but soon became host of the AM Chicago TV show and in the mid eighties Oprah established her hugely popular national chat show, The Oprah Winfrey Show. Her show became the highest-rated talk show in television history, with an estimated audience in the USA alone of 48 million viewers a week.

Oprah was Oscar nominated for her role as Sofia in The Color Purple.

Oprah Winfrey is far from being just a chat show host. In 1988, she set up a production studio called Harpo Studios with a film division Harpo Films, and, in 2000, Oprah and Hearst Magazines launched O, The Oprah Magazine.

Oprah Winfrey is involved in a variety of charitable causes.

Oprah regularly features on Time Magazine - 100 Most Influential People in the World and was number one in the Forbes Celebrity 100 list.

Oprah Winfrey was the first by a mile in Forbes 2007 list of highest earning TV stars with an estimated $260m earnings between June 2006 and June 2007.

Oprah Winfrey also topped Forbes's list of the world's most powerful celebrities in 2008.

In September 2008, Oprah Winfrey was named as the most generous celebrity by The Giving Back Fund's annual list.

In November 2009, it was revealed that The Oprah Winfrey Show would end in September 2011.

In June 2010 Oprah Winfrey was named the most powerful celebrity in the world by Forbes.

In January 2011, Oprah Winfrey revealed that she has a half-sister, whom she only found out about recently.

In August 2011, it was announced that Oprah Winfrey would receive an honorary Oscar.

In June 2013, it was revealed that Oprah Winfrey was donating $12m to a new museum in Washington DC dedicated to African American history.


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