CAIRO – 8 September 2017: September 8 marks the premiere of The Oprah Winfrey Show, which turned Oprah Winfrey into a billionaire, a worldwide household name and one of the most powerful women in American media.
Born in Mississippi on January 24, 1954, Winfrey came from humble roots, the daughter of a single teenage mother in a rural town. Her early life was harsh, as she was sexually assaulted numerous times by men in the farming community. Life would begin to turn around when she moved in with her father in Nashville.
In 1974, Winfrey moved to Baltimore to host her first show, ‘People are Talking,’ which lasted eight years and proved to be a hit. It was still but a shadow of what lay in store for Winfrey. Her next stop was Chicago, where she hosted A.M Chicago; originally suffering from low ratings, Winfrey single-handedly turned things around and helped the show rise in popularity.
Winfrey even dipped into acting, and earned herself an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress in Steven Spielberg’s 1985 film ‘The Color Purple.’ While on a date with famed film critic Roger Ebert, Winfrey was encouraged to sign on her own show idea for syndication, which she was originally unsure about.
On September 8, 1986, The Oprah Winfrey show took the world by storm and became an unbelievable hit, amassing hundreds of millions of viewers during its 25 year long run. Though the show ended in March, 2011, Winfrey had long established herself as a powerful media mogul, and the first billionaire African-American woman in history.
She went on to found the Oprah Winfrey Network, or OWN, the first and only network named after an inspiring leader. Winfrey’s influence is so strong it even led to a phenomenon dubbed the ‘Oprah Effect,’ where appearing or being endorsed by Winfrey in some way can lead to a massive shift in popularity, turning a small company into multi-millionaires overnight.
If there is one thing bigger than her bank account it is Winfrey’s heart; she is considered one of the most charitable of all celebrities, giving away $40 million to charity to help support education and other charities for women and children.
Winfrey’s success story is proof that no matter who you are or where you came from, there’s always a chance to reach your dreams, and go even further beyond.