Her accomplishments as a television pioneer, producer, publisher, educator, and philanthropist have established her as one of the most respected and admired public figures today.
Also a talented actress, in 1985 she made her movie debut in The Color Purple (based on the Alice Walker book) and was nominated for an Oscar.
Oprah was so successful that subsequently built a media empire. In 1988 she established Harpo Studio, a production company responsible for numerous telefilms and movies.
In September 1996 Winfrey started an "Oprah's Book Club," on-air reading club with a focus on literature, self-improvement, and spirituality.
In 1999 she established Oxygen Media, which produces women's programs on cable television and the Internet. In 2000 she joined with the Hearst Corp. in creating O: The Oprah Magazine, a monthly women's lifestyle publication.
Oprah has been ranked the richest African American billionaire and philanthropist in American history.
Her Net worth is US$ 3.1 billion (2015).
By 2012 she had given away about $400 million to educational causes. She donated $12 million to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (2013).
She began her career as a Nashville radio reporter at age 17, worked in television news. At 19 she was offered a job at CBS. She was Nashville's first black female on the evening news
Winfrey moved to Chicago, Illinois, in January 1984 and took over as anchor on A.M. Chicago, a morning talk show that was consistently last in the ratings.
In September 1985 the program, renamed the Oprah Winfrey Show, was expanded to one hour.
The show was a smash hit and within a decade she was one of the richest women in the United States. With its placement on 120 channels and an audience of 10 million people, the show grossed $125 million by the end of its first year, of which Winfrey received $30 million. The Oprah Winfrey Show won 8 Emmys for Best Talk Show, and Winfrey was honored as Best Talk Show Host.
Her understanding of the show business laws, knowledge of psychology, based on rich experience, her communicative talent, charm, and warm-hearted, unpretentious style made Oprah one of the most influential, admired and successful woman in the world.
Winfrey renewed her contract with King World Productions to continue The Oprah Winfrey Show through the 2003–2004 television season.
She announced in November of 2009 that she would end her TV show when her contract ended in 2011.
Her occupations: Former host of The Oprah Winfrey Show (1986 - 2011), Chairwoman and CEO of Harpo Productions, Chairwoman, CEO, and CCO of the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).
The Oprah Winfrey Network launched on January 1, 2011. It boasts a variety of new popular shows.
She was a producer of the comedy-drama film The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014) with Helen Mirren and British-American historical drama film Selma (2014), which had four Golden Globe Award nominations.
At twelve years old she was sent to live with her father in Nashville, Tennessee. Feeling secure and happy for a brief period she began making speeches at social gatherings and churches, and one time earned five hundred dollars for a speech. She knew then that she wanted to be "paid to talk."
Two times at six and thirteen years old Winfrey was sent north to join her mother s in a Milwaukee ghetto, an extremely poor and dangerous neighborhood. She experienced considerable hardship during her childhood, including sexual abuse by her cousin, her uncle at the age of nine. She becoming pregnant at 14 and her son died in infancy.
When Winfrey has returned to her father, she stated that he saved her life. Winfrey became an excellent student, participating as well in the drama club, debate club, and student council. In an Elks Club speaking contest, she won a full scholarship to Tennessee State University. In 1972 she won the "Miss Black Tennessee" and in 1976 Graduated from Tennessee State University. In 1987 she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech and Drama from Tennessee State University.
Winfrey has no surviving biological children showed her maternal feelings towards the girls at Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls: “Winfrey later confirmed to Larry King that she now felt like she was mother of 151 girls. But, according to Winfrey, none of her achievements make her more proud than the two schools she opened for South Africa's neediest girls.
She has raised and personally donated millions of dollars to victims of poverty and disease and openly speaks about her own experience with sexual abuse as a child. Winfrey and her partner Stedman Graham have been together since 1986.
They were engaged to be married in November 1992, but the ceremony never took place.