Isobel wrote a post on Lady Gaga, so I'm doing one on Oprah. I got this information from academyofachievement.org but I wrote the actual text myself.
Oprah Winfrey as born in Kosciusko, Mississipi until she turned six. It was at this farm that she "began her broadcasting career" by learning to read and perform recitations.She learned to do this at the age of three. When she was six, she moved to Milaukee to live with her mother. At the age of thirteen, she ran away after suffering abuse and molestation. She was then sent to a juvenile detention home, but they had no room for her so she was sent back to her mother. Her mother then decided that there had to be something to do with her daughter, so she sent Oprah to live with her very strict father. Vernon Winfrey immediately gave his daughter a midnight curfew. He also required her to read a book and write a report every week. Oprah later said about this time, "As strict as he as, he had some concerns about me making the best of my life, and would not accept anything less than hat he thought was my best."
Her broadcasting career started at the age of seventeen. She was hired by WVOL radio in Nashville as an anchor. She then majored in Speech Communications and Performing Arts at Tennessee State University.
IN 1976 she became co-anchor for WJZ-TV news in Baltimore. Then, two years later, she discovered her talent for talk show hosting when she became the co-host of the same channel's, "People Are Talking," but continued to work as an anchor and news reporter.
Much later, in 1984, Oprah moved to Chicago to host WLS-TV's "AM Chicago," which as a local talk show. In less than one year after her first appearance, "AM Chicago"became the most popular show in the city. Because of this, they expanded the show to one hour, and then in 1985, they even renamed it "The Oprah Winfrey Show."
Seen nationally since September 1986, "The Oprah Winfrey Show" became the number one talk show in national syndication in less than a year. In 1987, "The Oprah Winfrey Show" got three Daytime Emmy Awards in the categories of Outstanding Host, Outstanding Talk/Service Program and Outstanding Direction. In 1988, "The Oprah Winfrey Show got it's second consecutive Daytime Emmy Award as Outstanding Talk/Service Program, and later Oprah herself got the Internation Radio and Television Society's "Broadcaster of the Year" Award. She was the youngest person and only the fifth woman to ever receive the honor in IRT's 25-year history.
Before everyone began to love Oprah Winfrey the talk show host, she captured the nation's attention with her poignant portrayal of Sofia in Steven Spielberg's 1985 adaptation of Alice Walker's The Color Purple. Her performance got her nominations for an Oscar and Golden Globe Award as best supporting actress. Another movie the critics loved her in was Native Son, a movie based on a book by Richard Wright.
Oprah's love of acting is what inspired her to form HARPO, her production company. She did so in 1986. Nowadays, HARPO is an amazing force in film and television production. HARPO is over all in charge of producing The Oprah Winfrey Show, which makes her the first woman ever to own and produce her own talk show. The year after HARPO became in charge of Oprah, it made it's first television miniseries, The Women of Brewster Place, where Oprah starred and worked as Executive Producer. It was followed by the TV movies There Are No Children Here (1993,) and Before Women Had Wings (1997). She appeared in and produced both. Then, a year after Before Women Had Wings was made, she starred in Beloved, a movie based on a book written by Toni Morrison.
In 1991, Oprah was motivated by her memories of child abuse to initiate a campaign to establish a national database of convicted child abusers, so she did. She testified before a US Senate Judicary Committee on behalf of a National Child Protection Act. President Clinton signed the "Oprah Bill" into law in 1993.
Oprah Winfrey was named one of the 100 Most Influential People of the 20th Century by Time magazine. In 1998 she recieved a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Oprah Book Club selections became instant bestsellers, and in 1999 she received the National Book Foundation's 50th anniversary gold medal for her service to books and authors.
In 2003, Forbes Magazine declared Oprah Winfrey to be the very first African-American woman to have over a billion dollars.