Oprah Winfrey Biography
Oprah Winfrey (full name: Orpah Gail Winfrey) is an American media proprietor, actress, talk show host, producer and philanthropist from Kosciusko, Mississippi. She is an international celebrity most known for her show The Oprah Winfrey Show. Nicknamed as the “Queen of All Media”, Oprah became North America’s first black multi-billionaire and has been ranked the greatest black philanthropist in American history.
Oprah Winfrey Age
The media executive was born on 29 January 1954 in Kosciusko, Mississippi, United States. She is 64 years old as of 2018.
Oprah Winfrey Mother
Oprah was born to Vernita Lee and Vernon Winfrey. At the time of her birth, Oprah’s mother was a teenager and was unmarried. Her mother was born in 1935 and passed away in 2018. She spent her life as a housemaid. Her father, Vernon Winfrey (born in 1933) worked as a coal miner before turning to be a city councilman who had been in the Armed Forces when she was born.
Despite her wealth now, Oprah was born in an economically troubled neighborhood and to a teen-aged mother. She left young Oprah traveled to the north leaving her daughter in the hands of her mother (Oprah’s grandmother), Hatti Mae Lee. Living with her grandmother, Winfrey lived in terrible conditions: her only friends were farm animals.
She was quite imaginative since her young days. She would frequently give the animals dramatic parts and included them in games. This was perhaps where she had gotten the craze for acting, and would soon be seen in legendary masterpieces such as The Color Purple.
Because of her grandmother’s values, Oprah had religion and God instilled in her at a very young age. During church, she would often recite poems and Bible verses. Soon the church and the entire neighborhood knew she had a gift and was nicknamed, “The Little Speaker”. It would soon prompt her to become a woman with a strong perspective, which millions across the world would want to have insight on. This prepared her for The Oprah Winfrey Show which started airing in 1986.
Is Oprah Winfrey married? Oprah Winfrey’s Husband
Oprah Winfrey got into a romantic partnership with Stedman Graham, an educator, author, businessman, speaker and podcaster with whom they have been together for over thirty years but have never tied the knot officially.
Oprah Winfrey (L) and with her Husband (R)
Oprah Winfrey’s Children
Oprah has no child. She, however, had a son when she was 14 years old after being molested. He was born in 1968 but sadly passed on the same year.
Oprah Winfrey Education
Oprah was sent to live with her father, Vernon Winfrey who was quite the strict one. He made education her first priority and enrolled her at Nashville East High School. It was during her high-school that Oprah got a job in radio.
At first, she wasn’t certain of what she wanted to do though she knew it was something to do with speaking or drama. She got elected as the school president and met with President Richard Nixon being a part of public speaking classes in her high-school. During her last year of high school as she was rehearsing with her drama class, a local radio station, WVOL spotted her and asked her if she would have like to read on radio. She took up the job
Oprah was also elected school president and met with President Richard Nixon being a part of public speaking classes in her high-school. It was during the last year of high school while she was rehearsing with her drama class that a local radio station, WVOL spotted her and asked her if she would like to read on radio. Oprah was then given a job reading the news on the radio.
Oprah Winfrey’s Career
She joined a public speaking contest whose grand prize was a scholarship to Tennessee State University. Luckily, she won the contest and received the scholarship to Tennessee State University where she majored in Speech Communications and Performing Arts.
During her studies at the University, Oprah got a job offer to be a co-anchor on the CBS television station. She declined several times before being convinced by her speech professor that it may be the ultimate step to launch her career. Oprah wanted to find work outside of Nashville Tennessee and was soon offered a job in Baltimore, Maryland. The job offer came up a few months before her graduation and she had to choose between the job and graduating, so she decided to choose the job in Maryland as the offer was very tempting.
At the job in Maryland, she wasn’t a very good reporter and was shortly fired. Oprah’s boss set her up as a talk show host on a morning talk show called, People Are Talking in 1978. Immediately after the first show, Oprah knew that that was what she wanted to do for the rest of her life. She strengthened the talk show for seven years and then she decided it was time to move on.
In 1981, Oprah Winfrey sent recorded tapes of the show to a talk-show in Chicago called “A.M. Chicago” who immediately offered her the job. It soon became the No. 1 local talk show and in September of 1985 the name of the show changed to, “The Oprah Winfrey Show”.
The first broadcast of The Oprah Winfrey Show was on September 8th, 1986. The Oprah Winfrey show first targeted women, however soon due to controversial topics and intriguing topics that Oprah brought on to the show it appealed to people of all genders, ethnics, and ages. Oprah promoted many things on her show such as books, movie releases all of which people were eager to know what her opinions were of them.
The show went on to become the highest-rated talk show in television history and that put made her famous. It also earned Oprah her first million as well as earning her prestigious awards such as Day Time Emmy Awards and several others. Winfrey expanded the Oprah Winfrey show and started releasing a monthly magazine: The Oprah Magazine with the first issue being in the year 2000.
In 1985, she debuted her acting prowess in the drama “The Color Purple.” For this, she was nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe. She has appeared in various high-profile films, including 2018’s “A Wrinkle in Time” and 2014’s “Selma,” as well as prestige television series and plays.
She also has a radio channel, a cable channel by the name Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) that she launched after partnering with Discovery Communications and is also involved in charity works. On June 15, 2018, Apple announced a multiyear content deal with Winfrey reportedly worth $1 billion.
How Rich is Oprah Winfrey? Oprah Winfrey Net Worth 2019
Oprah Winfrey is one of the richest and most powerful American women. Her net worth in 2019 is 2.7 billion USD.
Oprah Winfrey House
Oprah has many multimillion-dollar homes, at least 6. She spends most of her time in her 23,000-square-foot Montecito, California mansion that is also known as “the Promised Land.” She has another one in Maui, Hawaii for when she wishes to escape the fast-paced Californian lifestyle and a second Montecito home known as Seamair Farm Estate.
She bought another estate on Orcas Island in the Pacific Northwest of the United States and it is a 43-acre property. She bought it in May 2018 for $8.28 million. After selling her Chicago Water Tower Place Complex in 2017 for $4.625 million, Oprah went on to buy a $14 million ski chalet just a few months later.
The Promised Land is a mansion that is secluded in the hills. She bought the mansion in 2001 and reportedly paid $50 million for it. Now it is worth over $100 million.
It has a Neo-Georgian architecture design with 6 bedrooms, 14 bathrooms, a gourmet kitchen, 10 fireplaces, two home theatres (one inside and one outside), a large guesthouse with a private pool, a wine cellar and tennis courts.
Super Soul Sunday, her Emmy Award Winning show that is aired on the Oprah Winfrey Network is filmed under the massive oak trees located on this very property.
She also formerly owned dual Chicago condos — one with 4,607 square feet of space and the other 9,625.
Oprah Winfrey’s Promised Land mansion (top-left & bottom-left) and Maui Farmhouse (top-right & bottom-right)
Oprah Winfrey Quotes
- Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.
- Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not.
- When you undervalue what you do, the world will undervalue who you are.
- Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.
- Challenges are gifts that force us to search for a new center of gravity. Don’t fight them. Just find a new way to stand.
- Surround yourself only with people who are going to take you higher.
- The thing you fear most has no power. Your fear of it is what has the power. Facing the truth really will set you free.
- Do the one thing you think you cannot do. Fail at it. Try again. Do better the second time. The only people who never tumble are those who never mount the high wire.
- Everyone wants to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.
- Everybody has a calling. And your real job in life is to figure out as soon as possible what that is, who you were meant to be, and to begin to honor that in the best way possible for yourself.
Oprah Winfrey Speech
8 Oprah Winfrey Leadership Style Secrets
Based on leadership evaluation, Oprah Winfrey is a transformational leader who rules by inspiring others. She has the charisma and confidence to influence other people. Transformational leadership is covered in four components:
- Inspirational motivation – Ability to inspire followers through motivation and by clearly expressing high expectations to them.
- Individualized consideration – Ability to listen carefully and consider individual concerns of each follower.
- Idealized influence – Attracts attention and admiration while inspiring and influencing others at the same time.
- Intellectual stimulation – Encourages followers to be creative and innovative.
Here is a look at Oprah Winfrey’s leadership style.
- She strategically selects members of her team.
A true leader acknowledges the fact that success need not be a solo endeavor. When forming a team, however, Oprah Winfrey only hires and supports talented people that she believes in. Dr. Oz, Suze Orman, and Liz Dolan are just some of the people that she surrounds herself with. The benefits work two ways – they boost her brand and they get wide exposure in return. Working with one of the world’s powerful women is not too bad either.
- She values excellent mentorship.
According to biographer Kitty Kelley, Oprah credits her initial success with her long-term partnership with lawyer Jeff Jacobs. He was one crucial factor, that is. She also made it a point to build mentor relationships with industry experts, especially during her earlier years. This only shows that it is wrong to think that leaders only lead. They need guidance too from trusted mentors and industry insiders. So anyone who claims they don’t need anyone’s advice and input to perform their duties is not a true leader.
- She values her customers.
In the business world, clients bring in the profit. Without them, a company would fail, which is why excellent customer service is a top priority. Oprah recognizes this and shows her appreciation to her viewers by giving them generous gifts, and the studio audience gets so lucky, especially during the holidays or even when there is no particular occasion. She can be very extravagant too. More than the gifts, however, she also listens to them and even integrates them in her shows. Gifts and an ear who listens would make anyone wish they can be one of Oprah’s studio audience.
- She strategically extends her brand.
What started out as a brand in television, branched out into radio, magazines, movies, subsidiary TV shows, and then an entire network. She made all these happen by extending her brand strategically. Because of this strategy, Oprah Winfrey is not only a celebrity but also a tycoon.
- But there is one important leadership trait that transformational leaders share, they are focused on the one thing they have mastery and expertise over. While she may seem to be everywhere, she is focused on one area – media, with the exception of charity works. Media is where she excels at, which is why she concentrated on it and worked to have dominance over it.
- She takes care of her employees.
If customers bring in the profit, employees are the lifeblood of a company. They make the wheels turn, so business operation goes smoothly. As a way of thanking them for their efforts, Oprah has been known to lavish her team praises and vacations. She even gives handpicked gifts to top staff members. Who doesn’t want a leader like that?
- It would not be hard to imagine the efforts that her staff put in to ensure she succeeds, which definitely works to her advantage.
- She dreams big.
Most successful people have big dreams and goals that they worked hard to see through. Oprah is no different. Although she came from nothing, she managed to find a platform to build herself on and succeeded. She always believed that she can turn her dreams into a reality and, with confidence in her abilities, she found the ultimate success – from talk show host to the owner of an entire network.
- She clearly communicates her visions.
Remember inspirational motivation? Oprah Winfrey definitely has this particular characteristic. She not only dreams up a vision but also communicates it with her team with clarity and then inspires them to help her see it through. Motivating her staff comes naturally for her, and this is one ability that is often considered the best in her list of best leadership practices.
- She cares for the community.
Her dedication to her charitable works and foundation is a testament to Oprah’s social conscience. It also made her one of those people who is lauded for her positivity, self-improvement, and charity. Such traits allow her to gain and sustain loyalty from her followers and from the community.
Lead like Oprah Winfrey and you are likely to write your own success story.
Oprah Winfrey 14 Facts – Interesting Facts About Oprah Winfrey
- her producer once suggest to her change her name.
- she was fired from her first job as an anchor.
- she spent a part of her life on a farm since her mother was just merely 19yrs when she was born.
- she kept kindergarten.
- she broke up with her high school boyfriend on valentine’s day.
- she doesn’t allow gum at her workplace.
- she had a son that died shortly after birth.
- she is at least 8% native American.
- she bought a 25m miniature pony farm next to her 50m mansion.
- she was the 1st African American named to the Forbes list of billionaires.
- she has been engaged to Stedman Graham for around 25yrs.
- she conducted the most watched interview in television history.
- she owns a $42m custom jet.
- Oprah’s pet will inherit millions when she dies.
Golden Globes Speech
Ah! Thank you. Thank you all. O.K., O.K. Thank you, Reese. In 1964, I was a little girl sitting on the linoleum floor of my mother’s house in Milwaukee, watching Anne Bancroft present the Oscar for best actor at the 36th Academy Awards. She opened the envelope and said five words that literally made history: “The winner is Sidney Poitier.” Up to the stage came the most elegant man I had ever seen. I remember his tie was white, and of course, his skin was black. And I’d never seen a black man being celebrated like that. And I’ve tried many, many, many times to explain what a moment like that means to a little girl — a kid watching from the cheap seats, as my mom came through the door bone-tired from cleaning other people’s houses. But all I can do is quote and say that the explanation’s in Sidney’s performance in “Lilies of the Field”: “Amen, Amen. Amen, amen.” In 1982, Sidney received the Cecil B. DeMille Award right here at the Golden Globes, and it is not lost on me that at this moment there are some little girls watching as I become the first black woman to be given this same award.
It is an honor, and it is a privilege to share the evening with all of them, and also with the incredible men and women who’ve inspired me, who’ve challenged me, who’ve sustained me and made my journey to this stage possible. Dennis Swanson, who took a chance on me for “A.M. Chicago”; Quincy Jones, who saw me on that show and said to Steven Spielberg, “Yes, she is Sophia in ‘The Color Purple’”; Gayle, who’s been the definition of what a friend is; and Stedman, who’s been my rock — just a few to name. I’d like to thank the Hollywood Foreign Press Association because we all know that the press is under siege these days.
But we also know that it is the insatiable dedication to uncovering the absolute truth that keeps us from turning a blind eye to corruption and to injustice. To tyrants and victims and secrets and lies. I want to say that I value the press more than ever before, as we try to navigate these complicated times. Which brings me to this: What I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have. And I’m especially proud and inspired by all the women who have felt strong enough and empowered enough to speak up and share their personal stories. Each of us in this room is celebrated because of the stories that we tell. And this year we became the story. But it’s not just a story affecting the entertainment industry. It’s one that transcends any culture, geography, race, religion, politics or workplace.
So I want tonight to express gratitude to all the women who have endured years of abuse and assault because they — like my mother — had children to feed and bills to pay and dreams to pursue. They’re the women whose names we’ll never know. They are domestic workers and farm workers; they are working in factories and they work in restaurants, and they’re in academia and engineering and medicine and science; they’re part of the world of tech and politics and business; they’re our athletes in the Olympics and they’re our soldiers in the military.
And they’re someone else: Recy Taylor, a name I know and I think you should know, too. In 1944, Recy Taylor was a young wife and a mother. She was just walking home from a church service she’d attended in Abbeville, Ala., when she was abducted by six armed white men, raped and left blindfolded by the side of the road, coming home from church. They threatened to kill her if she ever told anyone, but her story was reported to the N.A.A.C.P., where a young worker by the name of Rosa Parks became the lead investigator on her case and together they sought justice. But justice wasn’t an option in the era of Jim Crow. The men who tried to destroy her were never persecuted. Recy Taylor died 10 days ago, just shy of her 98th birthday. She lived, as we all have lived, too many years in a culture broken by brutally powerful men. And for too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dared to speak their truth to the power of those men. But their time is up. Their time is up. Their time is up.
And I just hope that Recy Taylor died knowing that her truth — like the truth of so many other women who were tormented in those years, and even now tormented — goes marching on. It was somewhere in Rosa Parks’s heart almost 11 years later, when she made the decision to stay seated on that bus in Montgomery. And it’s here with every woman who chooses to say, “Me too.” And every man — every man — who chooses to listen. In my career, what I’ve always tried my best to do, whether on television or through film, is to say something about how men and women really behave: to say how we experience shame, how we love and how we rage, how we fail, how we retreat, persevere, and how we overcome. And I’ve interviewed and portrayed people who’ve withstood some of the ugliest things life can throw at you, but the one quality all of them seem to share is an ability to maintain hope for a brighter morning — even during our darkest nights.
So I want all the girls watching here and now to know that a new day is on the horizon! And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say, ‘Me too’ again. Thank you.”