Oprah Winfrey





1/29/1954 , Kosciusko, Mississippi, USA

Birth Name

Orpah Gail Winfrey




Orpah Gail Winfrey was born on January 29, 1954. She was named "Orpah" after the Biblical character in the Book of Ruth but after her family couldn't pronounce it, they "r" and "p" were switched. She was born in Kosciusko, Mississippi to unmarried teenage parents. Her mother, Vernita Lee was a housemaid and Oprah believed her father was Vernon Winfrey but this could never be determined. Winfrey spent her first six years living in rural poverty with her grandmother, Hattie Mae Lee. Her grandmother taught her to read before the age of three and took her to the local church, where she was nicknamed "The Preacher" for her ability to recite Bible verses. When she turned six, she moved to an inner-city neighborhood in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with her mother and was abused there by her uncle and cousin which she later discussed in 1986 on The Oprah Winfrey Show. When Oprah was 13-years-old, she ran away from home. When she was 14, she became pregnant, her son dying shortly after birth. She was sent to live with Vernon in Nashville, Tennessee. She started going to school and became an honors student and won an oratory contest that got her a scholarship to Tennessee State University. When she was, she won the Miss Black Tennessee beauty pageant. She got a job the WVOL radio station reporting the news part-time. She became the youngest news anchor and the first black female news anchor at Nashville's WLAC-TV. She then moved to Baltimore's WJZ-TV in 1976 to co-anchor the six o'clock news. She was also asked to join Richard Sher as co-host of WJZ's local talk show "People Are Talking". In 1983, Oprah moved to Chicago to host WLS-TV's low-rated half-hour morning talk show, "AM Chicago". In a few months, she transformed the show to receive the top ratings. Roger Ebert then told her to sign a syndication deal with King World. The show was renamed The Oprah Winfrey Show and began to run for an hour starting in September of 1968. She helped co-found the Oxygen channel and started Harpo Productions. She has since done a number of exclusive celebrity interviews. She co-starred in The Women of Brewster Place in 1989 and played Sofia in The Color Purple in 1985. She was the voice of Gussie in Charlotte's Web in 2006 and and the voice of Judge Bumbleden in Bee Movie in 2007. And in 2009, she voiced the character of Eudora in The Princess and the Frog and in 2010, narrated the US version of the BBC nature Life for Discovery. She has published five books and puts out "O, The Oprah Magazine" and "O at Home" each month. She also started her successful website, Oprah.com. She has since been named the richest African American of the century and is the richest self-made woman in America with a net worth of over $2.7 billion. She's been in many romantic relationships throughout her life but she has been with her partner Stedman Graham since 1986. She is very close with her best friend, Gayle King. She currently lives on her 42-acre estate in Montecito, California. She also owns a house in Lavallette, New Jersey, an apartment in Chicago, an estate on Fisher Island, Florida, a house in Douglasville, Georgia, a ski house in Telluride, Colorado, and property on Maui, Hawaii and Antigua.