Oprah Winfrey

Childhood

Oprah was born in Mississippi on January 29, 1954 to a teenage mother. Her mother was a housemaid and left to travel up north in search of a better job. Oprah was left with grandmother and lived in poverty, often having to wear dresses made of potato sacks. All throughout her childhood she attended church and was able to recite Bible verses at a young age. She loved books and was able to read before she was three. Oprah had 1 sister and brother that passed away and 1 that was put up for adoption that Oprah just learned about in 2010. Oprah was sent to live with her father in Nashville because her mother was unable to care for two daughters at the time. Oprah dealt with sexual abuse growing up as well.

Obstacles

- raped and sexually abused by her cousin, uncle and family friend starting at age 9

- pregnant at age 14 and her son died shortly after birth

- sister's death related to cocaine addiction

- brother's death due to AIDS - related causes

- poverty was rubbed in her face at suburban high school - affected relationship with her mother

How she overcame her obstacles

After moving back to Nashville with her father, he was strict and encouraged her education. She then became an honors student, was voted most popular and placed second for her high school speech team. Maya Angelou's I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings spoke to her and inspired her, and they later became friends. She received a full scholarship to the University of Tennessee. Her ability to speak landed her her first job at a local radio station giving the news.

Achievements

- her talk show became number 1 in the nation, winning three daytime Emmy Awards in 1987

- youngest person to ever receive the International Radio and Television Society's "Broadcaster of the Year Award"

- nominated for Oscar and Golden Globe award for best supporting actress for her performance in The Color Purple

- formed her own production company, Harpo Productions, Inc.

- first woman to own and produce her own talk show when Harpo acquired ownership for it

- named one of the "100 Most Influential People of the 20th Century" by Time Magazine and received a lifetime achievement award

- "Oprah Book Club"

- Oxygen Media, Inc.

- O, The Oprah Magazine & O At Home