Oprah Winfrey
Overview
Oprah Winfrey is an American media proprietor
Media proprietor
A media proprietor is a person who controls, either through personal ownership or a dominant position in any media enterprise. Those with significant control of a public company in the mass media may also be called "media moguls", "tycoons", "barons", or "bosses".The figure of the media proprietor...

, talk show host, actress, producer and philanthropist
Philanthropist
A philanthropist is someone who engages in philanthropy; that is, someone who donates his or her time, money, and/or reputation to charitable causes...

. Winfrey is best known for her self-titled, multi-award-winning talk show, which has become the highest-rated program of its kind in history and was nationally syndicated from 1986 to 2011. She has been ranked the richest African American of the 20th century, the greatest black philanthropist in American history, and was for a time the world's only black billionaire
Black billionaires
According to the 2011 Forbes Billionaire List, Nigeria's Aliko Dangote with a net worth of $13.8 billion is the richest Black person in the world...

.
Quotations

What I learned at a very early age was that I was responsible for my life. And as I became more spiritually conscious, I learned that we all are responsible for ourselves, that you create your own reality by the way you think and therefore act. You cannot blame apartheid, your parents, your circumstances, because you are not your circumstances. You are your possibilities. If you know that, you can do anything.

Oprah Winfrey, O Magazine, January 2007, pages 160 & 217

Encyclopedia
Oprah Winfrey is an American media proprietor
Media proprietor
A media proprietor is a person who controls, either through personal ownership or a dominant position in any media enterprise. Those with significant control of a public company in the mass media may also be called "media moguls", "tycoons", "barons", or "bosses".The figure of the media proprietor...

, talk show host, actress, producer and philanthropist
Philanthropist
A philanthropist is someone who engages in philanthropy; that is, someone who donates his or her time, money, and/or reputation to charitable causes...

. Winfrey is best known for her self-titled, multi-award-winning talk show, which has become the highest-rated program of its kind in history and was nationally syndicated from 1986 to 2011. She has been ranked the richest African American of the 20th century, the greatest black philanthropist in American history, and was for a time the world's only black billionaire
Black billionaires
According to the 2011 Forbes Billionaire List, Nigeria's Aliko Dangote with a net worth of $13.8 billion is the richest Black person in the world...

. She is also, according to some assessments, the most influential woman in the world.

Winfrey was born into poverty in rural Mississippi
Mississippi
Mississippi is a U.S. state located in the Southern United States. Jackson is the state capital and largest city. The name of the state derives from the Mississippi River, which flows along its western boundary, whose name comes from the Ojibwe word misi-ziibi...

 to a teenage single mother and later raised in an inner-city Milwaukee
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Milwaukee is the largest city in the U.S. state of Wisconsin, the 28th most populous city in the United States and 39th most populous region in the United States. It is the county seat of Milwaukee County and is located on the southwestern shore of Lake Michigan. According to 2010 census data, the...

 neighborhood. She experienced considerable hardship during her childhood, claiming to be raped at age nine and becoming pregnant at 14; her son died in infancy. Sent to live with the man she calls her father, a barber in Tennessee
Tennessee
Tennessee is a U.S. state located in the Southeastern United States. It has a population of 6,346,105, making it the nation's 17th-largest state by population, and covers , making it the 36th-largest by total land area...

, Winfrey landed a job in radio while still in high school and began co-anchoring the local evening news at the age of 19. Her emotional ad-lib delivery eventually got her transferred to the daytime-talk-show arena, and after boosting a third-rated local Chicago talk show to first place, she launched her own production company and became internationally syndicated.

Credited with creating a more intimate confessional form of media communication, she is thought to have popularized and revolutionized the tabloid talk show
Tabloid talk show
Tabloid talk shows are a genre of American television programming talk shows that achieved peak viewership during the late 20th century. Airing mostly during the day and distributed mostly through broadcast syndication, this genre originated with The Phil Donahue Show and was popularized by the...

 genre pioneered by Phil Donahue
Phil Donahue
Phillip John "Phil" Donahue is an American media personality, writer, and film producer best known as the creator and host of The Phil Donahue Show. The television program, also known as Donahue, was the first to use a talk show format. The show had a 26-year run on U.S...

, which a Yale study claims broke 20th century taboos and allowed LGBT
LGBT
LGBT is an initialism that collectively refers to "lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender" people. In use since the 1990s, the term "LGBT" is an adaptation of the initialism "LGB", which itself started replacing the phrase "gay community" beginning in the mid-to-late 1980s, which many within the...

 people to enter the mainstream. By the mid 1990s, she had reinvented her show with a focus on literature, self-improvement, and spirituality. Though criticized for unleashing confession culture, promoting controversial self-help
Self-help
Self-help, or self-improvement, is a self-guided improvement—economically, intellectually, or emotionally—often with a substantial psychological basis. There are many different self-help movements and each has its own focus, techniques, associated beliefs, proponents and in some cases, leaders...

 ideas, and an emotion-centered approach
she is often praised for overcoming adversity to become a benefactor to others. From 2006 to 2008, her support of Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

, by one estimate, delivered over a million votes
Oprah Winfrey's endorsement of Barack Obama
Oprah Winfrey’s endorsement of Barack Obama was one of the most widely covered and studied developments of the 2008 presidential campaign. Winfrey has been described as the most influential woman in the world for her impact on the culture and her proven record as a taste-maker and trend-setter,...

 in the close 2008 Democratic primary race.

Early life

Winfrey was originally named "Orpah
Orpah
Orpah is a woman mentioned in the Book of Ruth in the Hebrew Bible. She was from Moab and was the daughter-in-law of Naomi and wife of Chilion. After the death of her husband, Orpah and her sister-in-law Ruth wished to go to Judea with Naomi. However, Naomi persuaded Orpah to return to her people...

" after the Biblical character in the Book of Ruth
Book of Ruth
The Book of Ruth is one of the books of the Hebrew Bible, Tanakh, or Old Testament. In the Jewish canon the Book of Ruth is included in the third division, or the Writings . In the Christian canon the Book of Ruth is placed between Judges and 1 Samuel...

, but her family and friends "didn't know how to pronounce it", and called her "Oprah" instead.

Winfrey was born in Kosciusko
Kosciusko, Mississippi
Kosciusko is a city in Attala County, Mississippi, United States. The population was 7,372 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Attala County....

, Mississippi, to an unmarried teenage mother. She later said that her conception was due to a single sexual encounter and the couple broke up not long after. Her mother, Vernita Lee (born c. 1935), was a housemaid. Winfrey had believed that her biological father was Vernon Winfrey (born 1933), a coal miner turned barber turned city councilman who had been in the Armed Forces when she was born. Decades later, Mississippi farmer and World War II veteran Noah Robinson Sr. (born c. 1925) claimed to be her biological father. A genetic test  in 2006 determined that her maternal line originated among the Kpelle ethnic group, in the area that today is Liberia
Liberia
Liberia , officially the Republic of Liberia, is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Sierra Leone on the west, Guinea on the north and Côte d'Ivoire on the east. Liberia's coastline is composed of mostly mangrove forests while the more sparsely populated inland consists of forests that open...

. Her genetic make up was determined to be 89 percent Sub-Saharan African, 8% Native American
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

, and 3% East Asian; however, the East Asian may, due to the imprecisions of genetic testing, actually be Native American markers.

After Winfrey's birth, her mother traveled north and Winfrey spent her first six years living in rural poverty with her grandmother, Hattie Mae Lee (April 15, 1900 – February 27, 1963), who was so poor that Winfrey often wore dresses made of potato sacks, for which the local children made fun of her. 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 Winfrey was a child, her grandmother would hit her with a switch when she did not do chores or if she misbehaved in any way.

At age six, Winfrey moved to an inner-city neighborhood in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with her mother, who was less supportive and encouraging than her grandmother had been, due in large part to the long hours Vernita Lee worked as a maid. Around the time Winfrey moved in, Lee had given birth to another daughter, Winfrey's younger half-sister, Patricia who later (on February 2003, at age 43) died of causes related to cocaine
Cocaine
Cocaine is a crystalline tropane alkaloid that is obtained from the leaves of the coca plant. The name comes from "coca" in addition to the alkaloid suffix -ine, forming cocaine. It is a stimulant of the central nervous system, an appetite suppressant, and a topical anesthetic...

 addiction. By 1962, Lee was having difficulty raising both daughters so Winfrey was temporarily sent to live with Vernon in Nashville
Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville is the capital of the U.S. state of Tennessee and the county seat of Davidson County. It is located on the Cumberland River in Davidson County, in the north-central part of the state. The city is a center for the health care, publishing, banking and transportation industries, and is home...

, Tennessee. While Winfrey was in Nashville, Lee gave birth to a third daughter. Lee gave this daughter, later also named Patricia, up for adoption in the hope of easing the financial straits that had led to Lee's being on Welfare. Winfrey did not learn she had a second half-sister until 2010. By the time Winfrey moved back in with Lee, Lee had also given birth to a boy named Jeffrey, Winfrey's half-brother, who died of AIDS-related causes in 1989.

Winfrey has stated she was molested
Child sexual abuse
Child sexual abuse is a form of child abuse in which an adult or older adolescent uses a child for sexual stimulation. Forms of child sexual abuse include asking or pressuring a child to engage in sexual activities , indecent exposure with intent to gratify their own sexual desires or to...

 by her cousin, her uncle, and a family friend, starting when she was nine years old, something she first claimed to her viewers on a 1986 episode of her TV show, when sexual abuse
Sexual abuse
Sexual abuse, also referred to as molestation, is the forcing of undesired sexual behavior by one person upon another. When that force is immediate, of short duration, or infrequent, it is called sexual assault. The offender is referred to as a sexual abuser or molester...

 was being discussed. When Winfrey discussed the alleged abuse with family members at age 24, they refused to accept what she said. Winfrey once commented that she had chosen not to be a mother because she had not been mothered well.

At 13, after suffering years of abuse, Winfrey ran away from home. When she was 14, she became pregnant, her son dying shortly after birth. She later said she felt betrayed by the family member who had sold the story to the National Enquirer in 1990. She began going to Lincoln High School
Lincoln High School (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)
Lincoln High School was a public high school in Milwaukee, Wisconsin at the corner of Cass and Knapp Streets. It was a part of the Milwaukee Public Schools system....

; but after early success in the Upward Bound
Upward Bound
Upward Bound is a federally funded educational program within the United States. The program is one of a cluster of programs referred to as TRIO, all of which owe their existence to the federal Higher Education Act of 1965. Upward Bound programs are implemented and monitored by the United States...

 program, was transferred to the affluent suburban Nicolet High School
Nicolet High School
Nicolet High School is a public secondary school located in Glendale, Wisconsin. It is the only school in the Nicolet Unified School District, which serves Glendale, Fox Point, Bayside, and River Hills. Primary schooling is administered by three feeder districts. The Nicolet Unified School district...

, where she says her poverty was constantly rubbed in her face as she rode the bus to school with fellow African-Americans, some of whom were servants of her classmates' families. She began to steal money from her mother in an effort to keep up with her free-spending peers, to lie to and argue with her mother, and to go out with older boys.

Her frustrated mother once again sent her to live with Vernon in Nashville
Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville is the capital of the U.S. state of Tennessee and the county seat of Davidson County. It is located on the Cumberland River in Davidson County, in the north-central part of the state. The city is a center for the health care, publishing, banking and transportation industries, and is home...

, Tennessee, though this time she did not take her back. Vernon was strict but encouraging, and made her education a priority. Winfrey became an honors student, was voted Most Popular Girl, and joined her high school speech team at East Nashville High School, placing second in the nation in dramatic interpretation. She won an oratory contest, which secured her a full scholarship to Tennessee State University
Tennessee State University
Tennessee State University is a land-grant university located in Nashville, Tennessee. TSU is the only state-funded historically black university in Tennessee.-History:...

, a historically black institution, where she studied communication. Her first job as a teenager was working at a local grocery store. At age 17, Winfrey won the Miss Black Tennessee beauty pageant. She also attracted the attention of the local black radio station, WVOL
WVOL
WVOL is a radio station broadcasting a Urban Oldies format. Licensed to the Nashville suburb of Berry Hill, Tennessee, USA, the station serves the Nashville area. The station is currently owned by Heidelberg Broadcasting, LLC.-History:...

, which hired her to do the news part-time. She worked there during her senior year of high school, and again while in her first two years of college.

Winfrey's career choice in media would not have surprised her grandmother, who once said that ever since Winfrey could talk, she was on stage. As a child she played games interviewing her corncob doll and the crows on the fence of her family's property. Winfrey later acknowledged her grandmother's influence, saying it was Hattie Mae who had encouraged her to speak in public and "gave me a positive sense of myself". Working in local media, she was both the youngest news anchor and the first black female news anchor at Nashville
Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville is the capital of the U.S. state of Tennessee and the county seat of Davidson County. It is located on the Cumberland River in Davidson County, in the north-central part of the state. The city is a center for the health care, publishing, banking and transportation industries, and is home...

's WLAC-TV. She moved to Baltimore
Baltimore
Baltimore is the largest independent city in the United States and the largest city and cultural center of the US state of Maryland. The city is located in central Maryland along the tidal portion of the Patapsco River, an arm of the Chesapeake Bay. Baltimore is sometimes referred to as Baltimore...

's WJZ-TV
WJZ-TV
WJZ-TV, channel 13, is an owned and operated television station of the CBS Television Network, located in Baltimore, Maryland. WJZ-TV's studios and offices are located on Television Hill in the Woodberry section of Baltimore, adjacent to the transmission tower it shares with four other Baltimore...

 in 1976 to co-anchor the six o'clock news. She was then recruited to join Richard Sher
Richard Sher (newscaster)
Richard Sher is a longtime newscaster for WJZ-TV in Baltimore, Maryland. He plays a broadcaster in a cameo role in the 2006 Robin Williams movie Man of the Year....

 as co-host of WJZ's local talk show People Are Talking, which premiered on August 14, 1978. She also hosted the local version of Dialing for Dollars
Dialing for Dollars
Dialing for Dollars was a franchised format local television program in the United States and Canada, popular in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s.-Format:...

 there as well.

Television

In 1983, Winfrey relocated to Chicago to host WLS-TV
WLS-TV
WLS-TV, virtual channel 7, is an owned-and-operated television station of the Walt Disney Company-owned American Broadcasting Company, located in Chicago, Illinois, USA. The station operates their full power digital operations on UHF channel 44, with their digital fill-in translator on VHF channel...

's low-rated half-hour morning talk show, AM Chicago. The first episode aired on January 2, 1984. Within months after Winfrey took over, the show went from last place in the ratings to overtaking Donahue
The Phil Donahue Show
The Phil Donahue Show, also known as Donahue, is an American television talk show that ran for 26 years on national television. Its run was preceded by three years of local broadcast in Dayton, Ohio, and it was broadcast nationwide between 1967 and 1996.In 2002, Donahue was ranked #29 on TV Guide's...

 as the highest rated talk show in Chicago. The movie critic Roger Ebert
Roger Ebert
Roger Joseph Ebert is an American film critic and screenwriter. He is the first film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize for Criticism.Ebert is known for his film review column and for the television programs Sneak Previews, At the Movies with Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, and Siskel and Ebert and The...

 persuaded her to sign a syndication deal with King World. Ebert predicted that she would generate 40 times as much revenue as his television show, At the Movies. It was renamed The Oprah Winfrey Show
The Oprah Winfrey Show
The Oprah Winfrey Show is an American syndicated talk show hosted and produced by its namesake Oprah Winfrey. It ran nationally for 25 seasons beginning in 1986, before concluding in 2011. It is the highest-rated talk show in American television history....

, expanded to a full hour, and broadcast nationally beginning September 8, 1986. Winfrey's syndicated show brought in double Donahue's national audience, displacing Donahue as the number-one day-time talk show in America. Their much publicized contest was the subject of enormous scrutiny. TIME magazine wrote:
TV columnist Howard Rosenberg
Howard Rosenberg
Howard Rosenberg is a retired TV critic for the Los Angeles Times. He worked there for 25 years and won a Pulitzer Prize for Criticism. In recent years he has written the book No Time to Think: The Menace of Media Speed and the 24-Hour News Cycle with Charles S. Feldman and compiled an anthology of...

 said, "She's a roundhouse, a full course meal, big, brassy, loud, aggressive, hyper, laughable, lovable, soulful, tender, low-down, earthy and hungry. And she may know the way to Phil Donahue's jugular."Mair, George (2001) p97 Newsday
Newsday
Newsday is a daily American newspaper that primarily serves Nassau and Suffolk counties and the New York City borough of Queens on Long Island, although it is sold throughout the New York metropolitan area...

s Les Payne observed, "Oprah Winfrey is sharper than Donahue, wittier, more genuine, and far better attuned to her audience, if not the world" and Martha Bayles of The Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal is an American English-language international daily newspaper. It is published in New York City by Dow Jones & Company, a division of News Corporation, along with the Asian and European editions of the Journal....

 wrote, "It's a relief to see a gab-monger with a fond but realistic assessment of her own cultural and religious roots."

In the early years of The Oprah Winfrey Show, the program was classified as a tabloid talk show. In the mid 1990s Winfrey then adopted a less tabloid-oriented format, hosting shows on broader topics such as heart disease, geopolitics, spirituality and meditation, interviewing celebrities on social issues they were directly involved with, such as cancer, charity work, or substance abuse and hosting televised giveaways.

In addition to her talk show, Winfrey also produced and co-starred in the 1989 drama miniseries The Women of Brewster Place, as well as a short-lived spin-off, Brewster Place. As well as hosting and appearing on television shows, Winfrey co-founded the women's cable television network Oxygen. She is also the president of Harpo Productions
Harpo Productions
Harpo Productions, Inc. is an incorporated US-based multimedia production company founded by Oprah Winfrey . It also includes Harpo Films & Harpo Radio, Inc....

 (Oprah spelled backwards). On January 15, 2008, Winfrey and Discovery Communications
Discovery Communications
Discovery Communications, Inc. is an American global media and entertainment company. The company started as a single channel in 1985, The Discovery Channel. Today, DCI has global operations offering 28 network entertainment brands on more than 100 channels in more than 180 countries in 39...

 announced plans to change Discovery Health Channel
Discovery Health Channel
Discovery Health Channel is a website owned by Discovery Communications, created for people interested in health and wellness. Until December 31, 2010, it was a U.S. cable television specialty channel dedicated to television programming that highlights various aspects of health and wellness...

 into a new channel called OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. It was scheduled to launch in 2009, but was delayed, and actually launched on January 1, 2011.

The series finale of The Oprah Winfrey Show aired on May 25, 2011.

Celebrity interviews

In 1993, Winfrey hosted a rare prime-time interview with Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson
Michael Joseph Jackson was an American recording artist, entertainer, and businessman. Referred to as the King of Pop, or by his initials MJ, Jackson is recognized as the most successful entertainer of all time by Guinness World Records...

, which became the fourth most watched event in American television history as well as the most watched interview ever, with an audience of 36.5 million. On December 1, 2005, Winfrey appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman to promote the new Broadway musical The Color Purple
The Color Purple
The Color Purple is an acclaimed 1982 epistolary novel by American author Alice Walker. It received the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award for Fiction...

, of which she was a producer, joining the host
David Letterman
David Michael Letterman is an American television host and comedian. He hosts the late night television talk show, Late Show with David Letterman, broadcast on CBS. Letterman has been a fixture on late night television since the 1982 debut of Late Night with David Letterman on NBC...

 for the first time in 16 years. The episode was hailed by some as the "television event of the decade" and helped Letterman attract his largest audience in more than 11 years: 13.45 million viewers. Although a much-rumored feud was said to have been the cause of the rift, both Winfrey and Letterman balked at such talk. "I want you to know, it's really over, whatever you thought was happening", said Winfrey. On September 10, 2007, David Letterman
David Letterman
David Michael Letterman is an American television host and comedian. He hosts the late night television talk show, Late Show with David Letterman, broadcast on CBS. Letterman has been a fixture on late night television since the 1982 debut of Late Night with David Letterman on NBC...

 made his first appearance on "The Oprah Winfrey Show", as its season premiere was filmed in New York City.

In 2006, rappers Ludacris
Ludacris
Christopher Brian Bridges , better known by his stage name Ludacris, is an American rapper and actor. Along with his manager, Chaka Zulu, Ludacris is the co-founder of Disturbing tha Peace, an imprint distributed by Def Jam Recordings...

, 50 Cent
50 Cent
Curtis James Jackson III , better known by his stage name 50 Cent, is an American rapper, entrepreneur, investor, record producer, and actor. He rose to fame with the release of his albums Get Rich or Die Tryin and The Massacre . Get Rich or Die Tryin has been certified eight times platinum by...

 and Ice Cube
Ice Cube
O'Shea Jackson , better known by his stage name Ice Cube, is an American rapper and actor. He began his career as a member of the hip-hop group C.I.A. and later joined the rap group N.W.A. After leaving N.W.A in December 1989, he built a successful solo career in music, and also as a writer,...

 criticized Winfrey for what they perceived as an anti-hip hop
Hip hop music
Hip hop music, also called hip-hop, rap music or hip-hop music, is a musical genre consisting of a stylized rhythmic music that commonly accompanies rapping, a rhythmic and rhyming speech that is chanted...

 bias. In an interview with GQ
GQ (magazine)
GQ is a monthly men's magazine focusing on fashion, style, and culture for men, through articles on food, movies, fitness, sex, music, travel, sports, technology, and books...

 magazine, Ludacris said that Winfrey gave him a "hard time" about his lyrics, and edited comments he made during an appearance on her show with the cast of the film Crash
Crash (2004 film)
Crash is a 2004 American drama film co-written, produced, and directed by Paul Haggis. The film is about racial and social tensions in Los Angeles, California. A self-described "passion piece" for Haggis, Crash was inspired by a real life incident in which his Porsche was carjacked outside a video...

. He also claimed that he wasn't initially invited on the show with the rest of the cast. Winfrey responded by saying that she is opposed to rap lyrics that "marginalize women", but enjoys some artists, including Kanye West
Kanye West
Kanye Omari West is an American rapper, singer, and record producer. West first rose to fame as a producer for Roc-A-Fella Records, where he eventually achieved recognition for his work on Jay-Z's album The Blueprint, as well as hit singles for musical artists including Alicia Keys, Ludacris, and...

, who appeared on her show. She said she spoke with Ludacris backstage after his appearance to explain her position, and said she understood that his music was for entertainment purposes, but that some of his listeners might take it literally. In September 2008, Winfrey received criticism after Matt Drudge
Matt Drudge
Matthew Nathan Drudge is the American creator and editor of the Drudge Report, a news aggregation website. Drudge is self-described as being conservative and populist. Drudge has also authored a book and hosted a radio show and a television show.-Early years:Matthew Drudge was raised in Takoma...

 of the Drudge Report
Drudge Report
The Drudge Report is a news aggregation website. Run by Matt Drudge with the help of Joseph Curl and Charles Hurt, the site consists mainly of links to stories from the United States and international mainstream media about politics, entertainment, and current events as well as links to many...

 reported that Winfrey refused to have Sarah Palin
Sarah Palin
Sarah Louise Palin is an American politician, commentator and author. As the Republican Party nominee for Vice President in the 2008 presidential election, she was the first Alaskan on the national ticket of a major party and first Republican woman nominated for the vice-presidency.She was...

 on her show allegedly due to Winfrey's support for Barack Obama. Winfrey denied the report, maintaining that there never was a discussion regarding Palin's appearing on her show. She said that after she made public her support for Obama, she decided that she would not let her show be used as a platform for any of the candidates. Although Obama appeared twice on her show, these appearances were prior to his declaring himself a candidate. Winfrey added that Palin would make a fantastic guest and that she would love to have her on the show after the election, which she did on November 18, 2009.

In 2009, Winfrey was criticized for allowing actress Suzanne Somers
Suzanne Somers
Suzanne Somers is an American actress, author, singer and businesswoman, known for her television roles as Chrissy Snow on Three's Company and as Carol Lambert on Step by Step....

 to appear on her show to discuss hormone treatments that are not accepted by mainstream medicine. Critics have also suggested that Winfrey is not tough enough when questioning celebrity guests or politicians that she appears to like. Lisa de Moraes, a media columnist for The Washington Post, stated, "Oprah doesn't do follow-up questions unless you're an author
James Frey
James Christopher Frey is an American writer. His books A Million Little Pieces and My Friend Leonard , as well as Bright Shiny Morning , were bestsellers...

 who's embarrassed her by fabricating portions of a supposed memoir
A Million Little Pieces
A Million Little Pieces is a semi-fictional memoir by James Frey. It tells the story of a 23-year-old alcoholic and drug abuser and how he copes with rehabilitation in a Twelve steps-oriented treatment center...

 she's plugged for her book club."

Film

In 1985, Winfrey co-starred in Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg
Steven Allan Spielberg KBE is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, video game designer, and studio entrepreneur. In a career of more than four decades, Spielberg's films have covered many themes and genres. Spielberg's early science-fiction and adventure films were seen as an...

's The Color Purple
The Color Purple (film)
The Color Purple is a 1985 American period drama film directed by Steven Spielberg, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name by Alice Walker. It was Spielberg's eighth film as a director , and was a change from the summer blockbusters for which he had become famous...

 as distraught housewife, Sofia. She was nominated for an Academy Award
Academy Awards
An Academy Award, also known as an Oscar, is an accolade bestowed by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize excellence of professionals in the film industry, including directors, actors, and writers...

 for Best Supporting Actress
Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role is one of the Academy Awards of Merit presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize an actress who has delivered an outstanding performance while working within the film industry. Since its inception, however, the...

 for her performance. The film went on to become a Broadway musical
The Color Purple (musical)
The Color Purple is a Broadway musical based upon the novel The Color Purple by Alice Walker. It features music and lyrics written by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray, with a book by Marsha Norman. It ran on Broadway in 2005 and has been touring throughout the US...

 which opened in late 2005, with Winfrey credited as a producer. In October 1998, Winfrey produced and starred in the film Beloved
Beloved (film)
Beloved is a 1998 film based on Toni Morrison's 1987 novel of the same name. It was directed by Jonathan Demme, and was produced by Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Productions. The film stars Oprah Winfrey and Danny Glover.-Plot:...

, based on Toni Morrison
Toni Morrison
Toni Morrison is a Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist, editor, and professor. Her novels are known for their epic themes, vivid dialogue, and richly detailed characters. Among her best known novels are The Bluest Eye, Song of Solomon and Beloved...

's Pulitzer Prize
Pulitzer Prize
The Pulitzer Prize is a U.S. award for achievements in newspaper and online journalism, literature and musical composition. It was established by American publisher Joseph Pulitzer and is administered by Columbia University in New York City...

 winning novel of the same name
Beloved (novel)
Beloved is a novel by the American writer Toni Morrison, published in 1987. Set in 1873 just after the American Civil War , it is based on the story of the African-American slave, Margaret Garner, who escaped slavery in 1856 in Kentucky by fleeing to Ohio, a free state...

. To prepare for her role as Sethe, the protagonist and former slave, Winfrey experienced a 24-hour simulation of the experience of slavery, which included being tied up and blindfolded and left alone in the woods. Despite major advertising, including two episodes of her talk show
The Oprah Winfrey Show
The Oprah Winfrey Show is an American syndicated talk show hosted and produced by its namesake Oprah Winfrey. It ran nationally for 25 seasons beginning in 1986, before concluding in 2011. It is the highest-rated talk show in American television history....

 dedicated solely to the film, and moderate to good critical reviews, Beloved opened to poor box-office results, losing approximately $30 million. While promoting the movie, co-star Thandie Newton
Thandie Newton
Thandiwe Nashita "Thandie" Newton is a British actress. She has appeared in a number of British and American films, including The Pursuit of Happyness, Mission: Impossible II, Crash, Run, Fatboy, Run and W....

 described Winfrey as "a very strong technical actress and it's because she's so smart. She's acute. She's got a mind like a razor blade." In 2005, Harpo Productions
Harpo Productions
Harpo Productions, Inc. is an incorporated US-based multimedia production company founded by Oprah Winfrey . It also includes Harpo Films & Harpo Radio, Inc....

 released a film adaptation of Zora Neale Hurston
Zora Neale Hurston
Zora Neale Hurston was an American folklorist, anthropologist, and author during the time of the Harlem Renaissance...

's 1937 novel Their Eyes Were Watching God
Their Eyes Were Watching God
Their Eyes Were Watching God is a 1937 novel and the best-known work by African American writer Zora Neale Hurston. Set in central and southern Florida in the early 20th century, the novel garnered attention and controversy at the time of its publication, and has come to be regarded as a seminal...

. The made-for-television film
Their Eyes Were Watching God (2005 television)
Their Eyes Were Watching God is an American Broadcasting Company television movie aired on March 6, 2005 at 9pm based upon Zora Neale Hurston's 1937 novel of the same name...

 was based upon a teleplay by Suzan-Lori Parks
Suzan-Lori Parks
Suzan-Lori Parks is an African American playwright and screenwriter. She received the MacArthur Foundation "Genius" Grant in 2001, and the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for her play, Topdog/Underdog.-Early years:...

, and starred Halle Berry
Halle Berry
Halle Berry is an American actress and a former fashion model. Berry received an Emmy, Golden Globe, SAG, and an NAACP Image Award for Introducing Dorothy Dandridge and won an Academy Award for Best Actress and was nominated for a BAFTA Award in 2001 for her performance in Monster's Ball, becoming...

 in the lead female role.

In late 2008, Winfrey's company Harpo Films signed an exclusive output pact to develop and produce scripted series, documentaries and movies for HBO. Oprah voiced Gussie the goose for Charlotte's Web
Charlotte's Web (2006 film)
Charlotte's Web is a 2006 American live-action/computer-animated feature film, based on the popular book of the same name by E. B. White. It is directed by Gary Winick and produced by Paramount Pictures, Walden Media, The K Entertainment Company, and Nickelodeon Movies...

 (2006) and the voice of Judge Bumbleden in Bee Movie
Bee Movie
Bee Movie is a 2007 computer animated family comedy film starring Jerry Seinfeld, Renée Zellweger, Matthew Broderick, Megan Mullally, John Goodman, Chris Rock, Kathy Bates, and Patrick Warburton. Produced by DreamWorks Animation, it is directed by Simon J...

 (2007) co-starring the voices of Jerry Seinfeld
Jerry Seinfeld
Jerome Allen "Jerry" Seinfeld is an American stand-up comedian, actor, writer, and television and film producer, known for playing a semi-fictional version of himself in the situation comedy Seinfeld , which he co-created and co-wrote with Larry David, and, in the show's final two seasons,...

 and Renee Zellweger
Renée Zellweger
Renée Kathleen Zellweger is an American actress and producer. Zellweger first gained widespread attention for her role in the film Jerry Maguire , and subsequently received two nominations for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her roles as Bridget Jones in the comedy Bridget Jones's Diary ...

. In 2009, Winfrey provided the voice for the character of Eudora, the mother of Princess Tiana
Princess Tiana
Tiana is the main protagonist of Disney's 2009 film The Princess and the Frog which is loosely based on the 2002 novel The Frog Princess by E.D. Baker. At the start of the movie she is a waitress and aspiring restaurateur living in the French Quarter of New Orleans during the Jazz Age...

, in Disney's The Princess and the Frog and in 2010, narrated the US version of the BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 nature program Life for Discovery.

Publishing and writing

Winfrey has co-authored five books. At the announcement of a weight loss book in 2005, co-authored with her personal trainer Bob Greene, it was said that her undisclosed advance fee had broken the record for the world's highest book advance fee, previously held by the autobiography of former U.S. President Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

.

Winfrey publishes magazines: O, The Oprah Magazine
O, The Oprah Magazine
O: The Oprah Magazine, sometimes simply abbreviated to O, is a monthly magazine founded by Oprah Winfrey and Hearst Corporation.-Overview:...

; from 2004 to 2008, Oprah also published a magazine called O at Home. In 2002 Fortune
Fortune (magazine)
Fortune is a global business magazine published by Time Inc. Founded by Henry Luce in 1930, the publishing business, consisting of Time, Life, Fortune, and Sports Illustrated, grew to become Time Warner. In turn, AOL grew as it acquired Time Warner in 2000 when Time Warner was the world's largest...

 called O, the Oprah Magazine the most successful start-up ever in the industry. Although its circulation had declined by more than 10 percent (to 2.4 million) from 2005 to 2008, the January 2009 issue was the best selling issue since 2006. The audience for her magazine is considerably more upscale than for her TV show, the average reader earning well above the median for U.S. women.

Online

Winfrey's company created the Oprah.com website to provide resources and interactive content relating to her shows, magazines, book club, and public charity. Oprah.com averages more than 70 million page views and more than six million users per month, and receives approximately 20,000 e-mails each week. Winfrey initiated "Oprah's Child Predator Watch List", through her show and website, to help track down accused child molesters. Within the first 48 hours, two of the featured men were captured.

Radio

On February 9, 2006, it was announced that Winfrey had signed a three-year, $55 million contract with XM Satellite Radio
XM Satellite Radio
XM Satellite Radio is one of two satellite radio services in the United States and Canada, operated by Sirius XM Radio. It provides pay-for-service radio, analogous to cable television. Its service includes 73 different music channels, 39 news, sports, talk and entertainment channels, 21 regional...

 to establish a new radio channel. The channel, Oprah Radio, features popular contributors to The Oprah Winfrey Show and O, The Oprah Magazine including Nate Berkus
Nate Berkus
Nathan Jay "Nate" Berkus is an American interior designer and daytime television host. He runs the Chicago interior design firm Nate Berkus Associates and has been a regular guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show, offering design advice to viewers. May 25, 2010, was his last day on The Oprah Winfrey Show...

, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Bob Greene, Dr. Robin Smith and Marianne Williamson
Marianne Williamson
Marianne Williamson is a spiritual activist, author, lecturer and founder of The Peace Alliance, a grass roots campaign supporting legislation currently before Congress to establish a United States Department of Peace. She is also the founder of Project Angel Food, a meals-on-wheels program that...

. Oprah & Friends began broadcasting at 11:00 am ET
North American Eastern Time Zone
The Eastern Time Zone of the United States and Canada is a time zone that falls mostly along the east coast of North America. Its UTC time offset is −5 hrs during standard time and −4 hrs during daylight saving time...

, September 25, 2006, from a new studio at Winfrey's Chicago headquarters. The channel broadcasts 24 hours a day, seven days a week on XM Radio Channel 156. Winfrey's contract requires her to be on the air thirty minutes a week, 39 weeks a year. The thirty-minute weekly show features Winfrey with friend Gayle King
Gayle King
Gayle King is editor-at-large for O, The Oprah Magazine and the best friend of Oprah Winfrey. She has previously worked as a television news anchor and talk show host...

.

Homes

Winfrey currently lives on "The Promised Land", her 42-acre (170,000 m2) estate with ocean and mountain views in Montecito
Montecito, California
Montecito is an unincorporated community in Santa Barbara County, California. As a census-designated place, it had a population of 8,965 in 2010. This does not include areas such as Coast Village Road, that, while usually considered part of Montecito, are actually within the city limits of Santa...

, California. Winfrey also owns a house in Lavallette
Lavallette, New Jersey
Lavallette is a Borough in Ocean County, New Jersey, United States. As of the United States 2010 Census, the borough population was 1,875. Lavallette is situated on the Barnegat Peninsula, a long, narrow barrier peninsula that separates Barnegat Bay from the Atlantic Ocean.Lavallette was...

, New Jersey; an apartment in Chicago, an estate on Fisher Island, Florida, a house in Douglasville
Douglasville, Georgia
The city of Douglasville is the county seat of Douglas County, Georgia, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 30,961...

, Georgia; a ski house in Telluride
Telluride, Colorado
The town of Telluride is the county seat and most populous town of San Miguel County in the southwestern portion of the U.S. state of Colorado. The town is a former silver mining camp on the San Miguel River in the western San Juan Mountains...

, Colorado; and property on Maui
Maui
The island of Maui is the second-largest of the Hawaiian Islands at and is the 17th largest island in the United States. Maui is part of the state of Hawaii and is the largest of Maui County's four islands, bigger than Lānai, Kahoolawe, and Molokai. In 2010, Maui had a population of 144,444,...

, Hawaii and Antigua
Antigua
Antigua , also known as Waladli, is an island in the West Indies, in the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean region, the main island of the country of Antigua and Barbuda. Antigua means "ancient" in Spanish and was named by Christopher Columbus after an icon in Seville Cathedral, Santa Maria de la...

. Her base during filming of Winfrey's show is Chicago, so she spends time in the neighborhood of Streeterville
Streeterville
Streeterville is a neighborhood in the Near North Side community area of Chicago, Illinois, United States, north of the Chicago River in Cook County...

.

Romantic history

A self-described promiscuous teen who was a victim of sexual abuse, Winfrey gave birth at the age of 14, to a boy who died shortly after.

Winfrey's high school sweetheart Anthony Otey recalled an innocent courtship that began in Winfrey's senior year of high school, from which he saved hundreds of love notes; Winfrey conducted herself with dignity and as a model student. The two spoke of getting married, but Otey claimed to have always secretly known that Winfrey was destined for a far greater life than he could ever provide. She broke up with him on Valentine's Day of her senior year.

In 1971, several months after breaking up with Otey, Winfrey met William "Bubba" Taylor at Tennessee State University. According to CBS journalist George Mair, Taylor was Winfrey's "first intense, to die for love affair". Winfrey helped get Taylor a job at WVOL, and according to Mair, "did everything to keep him, including literally begging him on her knees to stay with her." Taylor however was unwilling to leave Nashville with Winfrey when she moved to Baltimore to work at WJZ-TV in June 1976. "We really did care for each other", Winfrey would later recall. "We shared a deep love. A love I will never forget."

In the 1970s, Winfrey had a romantic relationship with John Tesh
John Tesh
John Frank Tesh is an American pianist and composer of pop music, as well as a radio host and television presenter. His 10-year-old 'Intelligence for Your Life Radio Show' reaches 14.2 Million listeners/week, and is syndicated by Teshmedia on 400 stations in US, Canada, and the UK...

. Biographer Kitty Kelley
Kitty Kelley
Kitty Kelley is an American journalist and author of several best-selling unauthorized biographies of celebrities and politicians. Her subjects have included Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra, Nancy Reagan, the British Royal Family, the Bush family, and Oprah Winfrey...

 claims that Tesh split with Winfrey over the pressure of having an interracial relationship.

When WJZ-TV management criticized Winfrey for crying on the air while reporting tragedies and were unhappy with her physical appearance (especially when her hair fell out as the result of a bad perm), Winfrey turned to reporter Lloyd Kramer for comfort. "Lloyd was just the best", Winfrey would later recall. "That man loved me even when I was bald! He was wonderful. He stuck with me through the whole demoralizing experience. That man was the most fun romance I ever had."

According to Mair, when Kramer moved to NBC in New York, Winfrey had a love affair with a married man who had no intention of leaving his wife. Winfrey would later recall: "I'd had a relationship with a man for four years. I wasn't living with him. I'd never lived with anyone—and I thought I was worthless without him. The more he rejected me, the more I wanted him. I felt depleted, powerless. At the end I was down on the floor on my knees groveling and pleading with him". Winfrey became so depressed that on September 8, 1981, she wrote a suicide note to best friend Gayle King instructing King to water her plants. "That suicide note had been much overplayed" Winfrey told Ms. magazine. "I couldn't kill myself. I would be afraid the minute I did it; something really good would happen and I'd miss it."Mair (1999) p. 50

According to Winfrey, her emotional turmoil gradually led to a weight problem: "The reason I gained so much weight in the first place and the reason I had such a sorry history of abusive relationships with men was I just needed approval so much. I needed everyone to like me, because I didn't like myself much. So I'd end up with these cruel self-absorbed guys who'd tell me how selfish I was, and I'd say 'Oh thank you, you're so right' and be grateful to them. Because I had no sense that I deserved anything else. Which is also why I gained so much weight later on. It was the perfect way of cushioning myself against the world's disapproval."

Winfrey later confessed to smoking crack cocaine
Crack cocaine
Crack cocaine is the freebase form of cocaine that can be smoked. It may also be termed rock, hard, iron, cavvy, base, or just crack; it is the most addictive form of cocaine. Crack rocks offer a short but intense high to smokers...

 with a man she was romantically involved with during the same era. She explained on her show: "I always felt that the drug itself is not the problem but that I was addicted to the man." She added: "I can't think of anything I wouldn't have done for that man."

Winfrey was allegedly involved in a second drug-related love affair. Self-proclaimed former boyfriend Randoph Cook claimed they lived together for several months in 1985 and did drugs. In 1997, Cook tried to sue Winfrey for $20 million for allegedly blocking a tell-all book about their alleged relationship.

Also, in the mid 1980s, Winfrey briefly dated movie critic Roger Ebert
Roger Ebert
Roger Joseph Ebert is an American film critic and screenwriter. He is the first film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize for Criticism.Ebert is known for his film review column and for the television programs Sneak Previews, At the Movies with Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, and Siskel and Ebert and The...

, whom she credits with advising her to take her show into syndication.

In 1985 before Winfrey's Chicago talk show had gone national, Haitian filmmaker Reginald Chevalier claims he appeared as a guest on a look-alike segment and began a relationship with Winfrey involving romantic evenings at home, candlelit baths and dinners with Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan
Michael Jeffrey Jordan is a former American professional basketball player, active entrepreneur, and majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats...

 and Danny Glover
Danny Glover
Danny Lebern Glover is an American actor, film director, and political activist. Glover is perhaps best known for his role as Detective Roger Murtaugh in the Lethal Weapon film franchise.-Early life:...

. Chevalier claims Winfrey ended the relationship when she met Stedman Graham.

Winfrey and her boyfriend Stedman Graham
Stedman Graham
Stedman Graham is an American educator, author, businessman and speaker, who has also served in the United States Army, although he is primarily known as the partner of media mogul Oprah Winfrey...

 have been together since 1986. They were engaged to be married in November 1992, but the ceremony never took place.

Close friends

Winfrey's best friend since their early twenties is Gayle King
Gayle King
Gayle King is editor-at-large for O, The Oprah Magazine and the best friend of Oprah Winfrey. She has previously worked as a television news anchor and talk show host...

. King was formerly the host of The Gayle King Show and is currently an editor of O, the Oprah Magazine. Since 1997, when Winfrey played the therapist on an episode of the sitcom Ellen in which Ellen DeGeneres
Ellen DeGeneres
Ellen Lee DeGeneres is an American stand-up comedienne, television host and actress. She hosts the syndicated talk show The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and was also a judge on American Idol for one year, having joined the show in its ninth season....

 came out of the closet, Winfrey and King have been the target of persistent rumors that they were gay. "I understand why people think we're gay", Winfrey says in the August 2006 issue of O magazine. "There isn't a definition in our culture for this kind of bond between women. So I get why people have to label it—how can you be this close without it being sexual?" "I've told nearly everything there is to tell. All my stuff is out there. People think I'd be so ashamed of being gay that I wouldn't admit it? Oh, please."

Winfrey has also had a long friendship with Maria Shriver
Maria Shriver
Maria Owings Shriver is an American journalist and author of six best-selling books. She has received a Peabody Award, and was co-anchor for NBC's Emmy-winning coverage of the 1988 Summer Olympics. As executive producer of The Alzheimer's Project, Shriver earned two Emmy Awards and an Academy of...

 after they met in Baltimore. Winfrey considers Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou is an American author and poet who has been called "America's most visible black female autobiographer" by scholar Joanne M. Braxton. She is best known for her series of six autobiographical volumes, which focus on her childhood and early adult experiences. The first and most highly...

, author of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is the 1969 autobiography about the early years of African-American writer and poet Maya Angelou. The first in a six-volume series, it is a coming-of-age story that illustrates how strength of character and a love of literature can help overcome racism and trauma...

, her mentor and close friend; she calls Angelou her "mother-sister-friend" Winfrey hosted a week-long Caribbean cruise for Angelou and 150 guests for Angelou's 70th birthday in 1998, and in 2008, threw her "an extravagant 80th birthday celebration" at Donald Trump
Donald Trump
Donald John Trump, Sr. is an American business magnate, television personality and author. He is the chairman and president of The Trump Organization and the founder of Trump Entertainment Resorts. Trump's extravagant lifestyle, outspoken manner and role on the NBC reality show The Apprentice have...

's Mar-A-Lago
Mar-A-Lago
Mar-A-Lago , built 1924-1927, is the name of the Marjorie Merriweather Post estate in Palm Beach, Florida. Post built the house with her husband, Edward F. Hutton. The house was designed by Joseph Urban. Upon her death in 1973 Marjorie Post willed the estate to the U.S. Government as a retreat...

 club in Palm Beach
Palm Beach, Florida
The Town of Palm Beach is an incorporated town in Palm Beach County, Florida, United States. The Intracoastal Waterway separates it from the neighboring cities of West Palm Beach and Lake Worth...

, Florida.

Personal wealth

Born in rural poverty, then raised by a mother on welfare in a poor urban neighborhood, Winfrey became a millionaire at age 32 when her talk show went national. Winfrey was in a position to negotiate ownership of the show and start her own production company because of the success and the amount of revenue the show generated. At age 41, Winfrey had a net worth of $340 million and replaced Bill Cosby
Bill Cosby
William Henry "Bill" Cosby, Jr. is an American comedian, actor, author, television producer, educator, musician and activist. A veteran stand-up performer, he got his start at various clubs, then landed a starring role in the 1960s action show, I Spy. He later starred in his own series, the...

 as the only African American on the Forbes 400
Forbes 400
The Forbes 400 or 400 Richest Americans is a list published by Forbes Magazine magazine of the wealthiest 400 Americans, ranked by net worth. The list is published annually in September, and 2010 marks the 29th issue. The 400 was started by Malcom Forbes in 1982 and treats those in the list like...

. Although black people are just under 13% of the U.S. population, Winfrey has remained the only African American to rank among America's 400 richest people nearly every year since 1995. With a 2000 net worth of $800 million, Winfrey is believed to be the richest African American of the 20th century. Due to her status as a historical figure, Professor Juliet E.K. Walker of the University of Illinois created the course "History 298: Oprah Winfrey, the Tycoon." Winfrey was the highest paid TV entertainer in the United States in 2006, earning an estimated $260 million during the year, five times the sum earned by second-place music executive Simon Cowell
Simon Cowell
Simon Phillip Cowell is an English A&R executive, television producer, entrepreneur, and television personality. He is known in the United Kingdom and United States for his role as a talent judge on TV shows such as Pop Idol, The X Factor, Britain's Got Talent and American Idol...

. By 2008, her yearly income had increased to $275 million.

Forbes' international rich list has listed Winfrey as the world's only black billionaire from 2004 to 2006 and as the first black woman billionaire in world history. According to Forbes, in September 2010 Winfrey was worth over $2.7 billion and has overtaken former eBay
EBay
eBay Inc. is an American internet consumer-to-consumer corporation that manages eBay.com, an online auction and shopping website in which people and businesses buy and sell a broad variety of goods and services worldwide...

 CEO Meg Whitman
Meg Whitman
Margaret Cushing "Meg" Whitman is an American business executive. She is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Hewlett-Packard. A native of Long Island, New York, she is a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Business School...

 as the richest self-made woman in America.

Rankings

Winfrey was called "arguably the world's most powerful woman" by CNN
CNN
Cable News Network is a U.S. cable news channel founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. Upon its launch, CNN was the first channel to provide 24-hour television news coverage, and the first all-news television channel in the United States...

 and Time.com, "arguably the most influential woman in the world" by the American Spectator, "one of the 100 people who most influenced the 20th Century
Time 100: The Most Important People of the Century
Time 100: The Most Important People of the Century is a compilation of the 20th century's 100 most influential people, published in Time magazine in 1999....

" and "one of the most influential people" from 2004 to 2011 by TIME. Winfrey is the only person in the world to have appeared in the latter list on all eight occasions.

At the end of the 20th century Life
Life (magazine)
Life generally refers to three American magazines:*A humor and general interest magazine published from 1883 to 1936. Time founder Henry Luce bought the magazine in 1936 solely so that he could acquire the rights to its name....

 listed Winfrey as both the most influential woman and the most influential black person of her generation, and in a cover story profile the magazine called her "America's most powerful woman". In 2007 USA Today
USA Today
USA Today is a national American daily newspaper published by the Gannett Company. It was founded by Al Neuharth. The newspaper vies with The Wall Street Journal for the position of having the widest circulation of any newspaper in the United States, something it previously held since 2003...

 ranked Winfrey as the most influential woman and most influential black person of the previous quarter century. Ladies Home Journal also ranked Winfrey number one in their list of the most powerful women in America and senator Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 has said she "may be the most influential woman in the country". In 1998 Winfrey became the first woman and first African-American to top Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly is an American magazine, published by the Time division of Time Warner, that covers film, television, music, broadway theatre, books and popular culture...

's list of the 101 most powerful people in the entertainment industry. Forbes named her the world's most powerful celebrity in 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2010 In 2010 Life magazine named Winfrey one of the 100 people who changed the world, along side such luminaries as Jesus Christ, Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley
Elvis Aaron Presley was one of the most popular American singers of the 20th century. A cultural icon, he is widely known by the single name Elvis. He is often referred to as the "King of Rock and Roll" or simply "the King"....

 and Lady Mary Wortley Montagu
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu
The Lady Mary Wortley Montagu was an English aristocrat and writer. Montagu is today chiefly remembered for her letters, particularly her letters from Turkey, as wife to the British ambassador, which have been described by Billie Melman as “the very first example of a secular work by a woman about...

. Winfrey was the only living woman to make the list.

Columnist Maureen Dowd
Maureen Dowd
Maureen Bridgid Dowd is a Washington D.C.-based columnist for The New York Times and best-selling author. During the 1970s and the early 1980s, she worked for Time magazine and the Washington Star, where she covered news as well as sports and wrote feature articles...

 seems to agree with such assessments: "She is the top alpha female in this country. She has more credibility than the president. Other successful women, such as Hillary Clinton and Martha Stewart
Martha Stewart
Martha Stewart is an American business magnate, author, magazine publisher, and television personality. As founder of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, she has gained success through a variety of business ventures, encompassing publishing, broadcasting, and merchandising...

, had to be publicly slapped down before they could move forward. Even Condi
Condoleezza Rice
Condoleezza Rice is an American political scientist and diplomat. She served as the 66th United States Secretary of State, and was the second person to hold that office in the administration of President George W. Bush...

 has had to play the protegé with Bush. None of this happened to Oprah – she is a straight ahead success story. Vanity Fair
Vanity Fair (magazine)
Vanity Fair is a magazine of pop culture, fashion, and current affairs published by Condé Nast. The present Vanity Fair has been published since 1983 and there have been editions for four European countries as well as the U.S. edition. This revived the title which had ceased publication in 1935...

 wrote: "Oprah Winfrey arguably has more influence on the culture than any university president, politician, or religious leader, except perhaps the Pope. Bill O'Reilly
Bill O'Reilly (commentator)
William James "Bill" O'Reilly, Jr. is an American television host, author, syndicated columnist and political commentator. He is the host of the political commentary program The O'Reilly Factor on the Fox News Channel, which is the most watched cable news television program on American television...

 said: "this is a woman that came from nothing to rise up to be the most powerful woman, I think, in the world. I think Oprah Winfrey is the most powerful woman in the world, not just in America. That's – anybody who goes on her program immediately benefits through the roof. I mean, she has a loyal following; she has credibility; she has talent; and she's done it on her own to become fabulously wealthy and fabulously powerful.

In 2005 Winfrey was named the greatest woman in American history as part of a public poll as part of The Greatest American
The Greatest American
The Greatest American was a four-part American television series hosted by Matt Lauer in 2005. The show featured biographies and lists of influential persons in U.S. history, and culminated in a contest in which millions in the audience nominated and voted for the person they felt was the "greatest...

. She was ranked No.9 overall on the list of greatest Americans, however polls estimating Winfrey's personal popularity have been inconsistent. A November 2003 Gallup poll estimated that 73% of American adults had a favorable view of Winfrey. Another Gallup poll in January 2007 estimated the figure at 74%, although it dropped to 66% when Gallup conducted the same poll in October 2007. A December 2007 Fox News poll put the figure at 55%. According to Gallup's annual most admired poll
Gallup's most admired man and woman poll
Gallup’s most admired man and woman poll is an annual poll that Gallup has conducted at the end of virtually every single year since 1948. Americans are asked, without prompting, to say what man and woman "living today in any part of the world, do [they] admire most?" The result is published as a...

, Americans consistently rank Winfrey as one of the most admired women in the world. Her highest rating came in 2007 when she was statistically tied with Hillary Clinton for first place. In a list compiled by the British magazine New Statesman in September 2010, She was voted 38th in the list of "The World's 50 Most Influential Figures 2010".

'Oprahfication'

The Wall Street Journal coined the term "Oprahfication", meaning public confession as a form of therapy."The Church of O" Christianity Today April 1, 2002. Accessed August 26, 2010 By confessing intimate details about her weight problems, tumultuous love life, and sexual abuse, and crying alongside her guests, Time magazine credits Winfrey with creating a new form of media communication known as "rapport talk" as distinguished from the "report talk" of Phil Donahue: "Winfrey saw television's power to blend public and private; while it links strangers and conveys information over public airwaves, TV is most often viewed in the privacy of our homes. Like a family member, it sits down to meals with us and talks to us in the lonely afternoons. Grasping this paradox, ...She makes people care because she cares. That is Winfrey's genius, and will be her legacy, as the changes she has wrought in the talk show continue to permeate our culture and shape our lives."

Observers have also noted the "Oprahfication" of politics such as "Oprah-style debates" and Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

 being described as "the man who brought Oprah-style psychobabble and misty confessions to politics." Newsweek
Newsweek
Newsweek is an American weekly news magazine published in New York City. It is distributed throughout the United States and internationally. It is the second-largest news weekly magazine in the U.S., having trailed Time in circulation and advertising revenue for most of its existence...

 stated: "Every time a politician lets his lip quiver or a cable anchor 'emotes' on TV, they nod to the cult of confession that Oprah helped create. Winfrey's disclosures about her weight (which peaked at 108 kg (238 lb)) also paved the way for other plus-sized women in media such as Roseanne Barr
Roseanne Barr
Roseanne Cherrie Barr is an American actress, comedian, writer, television producer and director. Barr began her career in stand-up comedy at clubs before gaining fame for her role in the sitcom Roseanne. The show was a hit and lasted nine seasons, from 1988 to 1997...

, Rosie O'Donnell
Rosie O'Donnell
Roseann "Rosie" O'Donnell is an American stand-up comedian, actress, author and television personality. She has also been a magazine editor and continues to be a celebrity blogger, LGBT rights activist, television producer and collaborative partner in the LGBT family vacation company R Family...

 and Star Jones
Star Jones
Star Jones is an American lawyer, journalist, writer, and television personality. She is known for her role as a co-host of the ABC weekday morning talk show The View...

. The November 1988 Ms. observed that "in a society where fat is taboo, she made it in a medium that worships thin and celebrates a bland, white-bread prettiness of body and personality [...] But Winfrey made fat sexy, elegant – damned near gorgeous – with her drop-dead wardrobe, easy body language, and cheerful sensuality."

Mainstream acceptance of gays and lesbians

While Phil Donahue
Phil Donahue
Phillip John "Phil" Donahue is an American media personality, writer, and film producer best known as the creator and host of The Phil Donahue Show. The television program, also known as Donahue, was the first to use a talk show format. The show had a 26-year run on U.S...

 has been credited with pioneering the tabloid talk show genre, Winfrey's warmth, intimacy and personal confession, popularized and changed it. Her success at popularizing of the tabloid talk show genre, had opened up a thriving industry that has included Ricki Lake
Ricki Lake (talk show)
Ricki Lake was the first daytime tabloid talk show hosted by American actress Ricki Lake.The show specialized in sensationalist topics involving invited guests and incorporated questions and comments from a studio audience...

, The Jenny Jones Show
The Jenny Jones Show
The Jenny Jones Show is an American syndicated daytime tabloid talk show that was hosted by comedian/actress/singer Jenny Jones. It was produced by Telepictures and was distributed by Warner Bros. Television Distribution...

, and The Jerry Springer Show
The Jerry Springer Show
The Jerry Springer Show is a syndicated television tabloid talk show hosted by Jerry Springer, a former politician, broadcast in the United States and other countries...

. Sociologists such as Vicki Abt criticized tabloid talk shows for redefining social norms. In her book Coming After Oprah: Cultural Fallout in the Age of the TV talk show, Abt warned that the media revolution that followed Winfrey's success was blurring the lines between "normal" and "deviant" behavior. In the book Freaks Talk Back, Yale sociology professor Joshua Gamson credits the tabloid talk show genre with providing much needed high impact media visibility for gay, bisexual, transsexual, and transgender
Transgender
Transgender is a general term applied to a variety of individuals, behaviors, and groups involving tendencies to vary from culturally conventional gender roles....

 (LGBT) people and doing more to make them mainstream and socially acceptable than any other development of the 20th century. In the book's editorial review Michael Bronski wrote "In the recent past, lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgendered people had almost no presence on television. With the invention and propagation of tabloid talk shows such as Jerry Springer
The Jerry Springer Show
The Jerry Springer Show is a syndicated television tabloid talk show hosted by Jerry Springer, a former politician, broadcast in the United States and other countries...

, Jenny Jones
The Jenny Jones Show
The Jenny Jones Show is an American syndicated daytime tabloid talk show that was hosted by comedian/actress/singer Jenny Jones. It was produced by Telepictures and was distributed by Warner Bros. Television Distribution...

, Oprah, and Geraldo
Geraldo Rivera
Geraldo Rivera is an American attorney, journalist, author, reporter, and former talk show host...

, people outside the sexual mainstream now appear in living rooms across America almost every day of the week." Gamson credits the tabloid talk show with making alternative sexual orientations and identities more acceptable in mainstream society. Examples include a Time magazine article describing early 21st century gays coming out of the closet younger and younger and gay suicide rates plummeting. Gamson also believes that tabloid talk shows caused gays to be embraced on more traditional forms of media. Examples include sitcoms like Will & Grace
Will & Grace
Will & Grace was an American television sitcom that was originally broadcast on NBC from September 21, 1998 to May 18, 2006 for a total of eight seasons. Will & Grace remains the most successful television series with gay principal characters...

, primetime shows like Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and Oscar nominated feature films like Brokeback Mountain
Brokeback Mountain
Brokeback Mountain is a 2005 romantic drama film directed by Ang Lee. It is a film adaptation of the 1997 short story of the same name by Annie Proulx with the screenplay written by Diana Ossana and Larry McMurtry...

.

During a show in the 1980s, members of the studio audience stood up one by one, gave their name and announced that they were gay in observance of National Coming Out Day
National Coming Out Day
National Coming Out Day is an internationally observed civil awareness day celebrating individuals who publicly identify as bisexual, gay, lesbian, transgender—coming out regarding one's sexual orientation and/or gender identity being akin to a cultural rite of passage for LGBT people...

. Also in the 1980s Winfrey took her show to West Virginia to confront a town gripped by AIDS paranoia because a gay man living in the town had HIV. Winfrey interviewed the man who had become a social outcast and the town's mayor who drained a swimming pool in which the man had gone swimming, and debated with the town's hostile residents. "But I hear this is a God fearing town", Winfrey scolded the homophobic studio audience; "where's all that Christian love and understanding?" During a show on gay marriage in the 1990s, a woman in Winfrey's audience stood up to complain that gays were constantly flaunting their sex lives and she announced that she was tired of it. "You know what I'm tired of", replied Winfrey, "heterosexual males raping and sodomizing young girls. That's what I'm tired of." Her rebuttal inspired a screaming standing ovation from that show's studio audience. Winfrey promotes openly gay celebrities on her show, such as her hairdresser Andre Walker, makeup artist Reggie Wells, and decorator Nate Berkus
Nate Berkus
Nathan Jay "Nate" Berkus is an American interior designer and daytime television host. He runs the Chicago interior design firm Nate Berkus Associates and has been a regular guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show, offering design advice to viewers. May 25, 2010, was his last day on The Oprah Winfrey Show...

, who inspired an outpouring of sympathy from middle America after grieving the loss of his partner in the 2004 tsunami
2004 Indian Ocean earthquake
The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake was an undersea megathrust earthquake that occurred at 00:58:53 UTC on Sunday, December 26, 2004, with an epicentre off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. The quake itself is known by the scientific community as the Sumatra-Andaman earthquake...

 on the show. In April 1997, Winfrey played the therapist in "The Puppy Episode
The Puppy Episode
"The Puppy Episode" is a two-part episode of the situation comedy television series Ellen. The episode details lead character Ellen Morgan's realization that she is a lesbian and her coming out. It was the 22nd and 23rd episode of the series' 4th season...

" on the sitcom Ellen
Ellen (TV series)
Ellen is a U.S. television sitcom that ran on the ABC network from March 29, 1994 to July 22, 1998, producing 109 episodes.The theme song, "So Called Friend" is by Scottish band Texas...

 to whom the character (and the real-life Ellen DeGeneres
Ellen DeGeneres
Ellen Lee DeGeneres is an American stand-up comedienne, television host and actress. She hosts the syndicated talk show The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and was also a judge on American Idol for one year, having joined the show in its ninth season....

) said she was a lesbian. In 1998, Mark Steyn
Mark Steyn
Mark Steyn is a Canadian-born writer, conservative-leaning political commentator, and cultural critic. He has written five books, including America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It, a New York Times bestseller...

 in the National Review
National Review
National Review is a biweekly magazine founded by the late author William F. Buckley, Jr., in 1955 and based in New York City. It describes itself as "America's most widely read and influential magazine and web site for conservative news, commentary, and opinion."Although the print version of the...

 wrote of Winfrey "Today, no truly epochal moment in the history of the Republic occurs unless it is validated by her presence. When Ellen said, 'Yep! I'm gay,' Oprah was by her side, guesting on the sitcom as (what else?) the star's therapist."

"The Oprah Effect"

The power of Winfrey's opinions and endorsement to influence public opinion, especially consumer purchasing choices, has been dubbed "The Oprah Effect". The effect has been documented or alleged in domains as diverse as book sales, beef markets, and election voting. Late in 1996, Winfrey introduced the Oprah's Book Club
Oprah's Book Club
Oprah's Book Club was a book discussion club segment of the American talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show, highlighting books chosen by host Oprah Winfrey. Winfrey started the book club in 1996, selecting a new novel for viewers to read and discuss each month. The Club ended its 15-year run, along with...

 segment to her television show. The segment focused on new books and classics, and often brought obscure novels to popular attention. The book club became such a powerful force that whenever Winfrey introduced a new book as her book-club selection, it instantly became a best-seller; for example, when she selected the classic John Steinbeck
John Steinbeck
John Ernst Steinbeck, Jr. was an American writer. He is widely known for the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Grapes of Wrath and East of Eden and the novella Of Mice and Men...

 novel East of Eden, it soared to the top of the book charts. Being recognized by Winfrey often means a million additional book sales for an author. In Reading with Oprah: The Book Club that Changed America (2005), Kathleen Rooney describes Winfrey as "a serious American intellectual who pioneered the use of electronic media, specifically television and the Internet, to take reading – a decidedly non-technological and highly individual act – and highlight its social elements and uses in such a way to motivate millions of erstwhile non-readers to pick up books."

When author Jonathan Franzen
Jonathan Franzen
Jonathan Franzen is an American novelist and essayist. His third novel, The Corrections , a sprawling, satirical family drama, drew widespread critical acclaim, earned Franzen a National Book Award, and was a finalist for the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction...

's book was selected for the Book Club, he reportedly "cringed" and said selected books tend to be "schmaltzy". After James Frey
James Frey
James Christopher Frey is an American writer. His books A Million Little Pieces and My Friend Leonard , as well as Bright Shiny Morning , were bestsellers...

's A Million Little Pieces
A Million Little Pieces
A Million Little Pieces is a semi-fictional memoir by James Frey. It tells the story of a 23-year-old alcoholic and drug abuser and how he copes with rehabilitation in a Twelve steps-oriented treatment center...

 was found to contain fabrications in 2006, Winfrey confronted him on her show over the breach of trust. In 2009, Winfrey apologized to Frey for the public confrontation. During a show about mad cow disease with Howard Lyman
Howard Lyman
Howard F. Lyman - American farmer and animal welfare activist who is known for his actions promoting vegetarian nutrition and organic farming....

 (aired on April 16, 1996), Winfrey said she was stopped cold from eating another burger. Texas cattlemen sued her and Lyman in early 1998 for "false defamation of perishable food" and "business disparagement", claiming that Winfrey's remarks sent cattle prices tumbling, costing beef producers $11 million. On February 26, after a two month trial in an Amarillo
Amarillo, Texas
Amarillo is the 14th-largest city, by population, in the state of Texas, the largest in the Texas Panhandle, and the seat of Potter County. A portion of the city extends into Randall County. The population was 190,695 at the 2010 census...

, Texas court, a jury found Winfrey and Lyman were not liable for damages. During the lawsuit, Winfrey hired Phil McGraw's company Courtroom Sciences, Inc. to help her analyze and read the jury. McGraw made such an impression on Winfrey that she invited him to appear on her show. He accepted the invitation and appeared regularly on The Oprah Winfrey Show before launching his own show, Dr. Phil
Dr. Phil (TV series)
Dr. Phil is a reality/talk television show hosted by Phil McGraw. After McGraw's success with his segments on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Dr. Phil debuted on September 16, 2002...

, created in 2002 by Winfrey's production company, Harpo Productions
Harpo Productions
Harpo Productions, Inc. is an incorporated US-based multimedia production company founded by Oprah Winfrey . It also includes Harpo Films & Harpo Radio, Inc....

, in partnership with CBS Paramount
CBS Paramount Domestic Television
CBS Paramount Domestic Television was an American television distribution company/production that was formed on January 17, 2006 and owned by CBS Corporation...

, which produced the show. Winfrey's ability to launch other successful talk shows such as Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz and Rachael Ray
Rachael Ray
Rachael Domenica Ray is an American television personality, businesswoman, celebrity chef and author. She hosts the syndicated talk and lifestyle program Rachael Ray and three Food Network series, 30 Minute Meals, Rachael Ray's Tasty Travels and $40 a Day...

 has also been cited as examples of "The Oprah Effect".

Winfrey endorsed presidential candidate
Oprah Winfrey's endorsement of Barack Obama
Oprah Winfrey’s endorsement of Barack Obama was one of the most widely covered and studied developments of the 2008 presidential campaign. Winfrey has been described as the most influential woman in the world for her impact on the culture and her proven record as a taste-maker and trend-setter,...

 Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 in the 2008 presidential election, the first time she endorsed a political candidate running for office. Winfrey held a fundraiser for Obama on September 8, 2007, at her Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara County, California
Santa Barbara County is a county located in the southern portion of the U.S. state of California, on the Pacific coast. As of 2010 the county had a population of 423,895. The county seat is Santa Barbara and the largest city is Santa Maria.-History:...

 estate. In December 2007, Winfrey joined Obama for a series of rallies in the early primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. The Columbia
Columbia, South Carolina
Columbia is the state capital and largest city in the U.S. state of South Carolina. The population was 129,272 according to the 2010 census. Columbia is the county seat of Richland County, but a portion of the city extends into neighboring Lexington County. The city is the center of a metropolitan...

, South Carolina event on December 9, 2007, drew a crowd of nearly 30,000, the largest for any political event of 2007. An analysis by two economists at the University of Maryland, College Park
University of Maryland, College Park
The University of Maryland, College Park is a top-ranked public research university located in the city of College Park in Prince George's County, Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C...

 estimated that Winfrey's endorsement was responsible for between 423,123 and 1,596,995 votes for Obama in the Democratic primary alone, based on a sample of states that did not include Texas, Michigan, North Dakota, Kansas, or Alaska. The results suggest that in the sampled states, Winfrey's endorsement was responsible for the difference in the popular vote between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. The governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich
Rod Blagojevich
Rod R. Blagojevich is an American politician who served as the 40th Governor of Illinois from 2003 to 2009. A Democrat, Blagojevich was a State Representative before being elected to the United States House of Representatives representing parts of Chicago...

, reported being so impressed by Winfrey's endorsement that he considered offering Winfrey Obama's vacant senate seat describing Winfrey as "the most instrumental person in electing Barack Obama president", with "a voice larger than all 100 senators combined". Winfrey responded by stating that although she was absolutely not interested, she did feel she could be a senator.

Spiritual leadership

In 2002, Christianity Today
Christianity Today
Christianity Today is an Evangelical Christian periodical based in Carol Stream, Illinois. It is the flagship publication of its parent company Christianity Today International, claiming circulation figures of 140,000 and readership of 290,000...

 published an article called "The Church of O" in which they concluded that Winfrey had emerged as an influential spiritual leader. "Since 1994, when she abandoned traditional talk-show fare for more edifying content, and 1998, when she began 'Change Your Life TV', Oprah's most significant role has become that of spiritual leader. To her audience of more than 22 million mostly female viewers, she has become a post-modern priestess—an icon of church-free spirituality." The sentiment was echoed by Marcia Z. Nelson in her book The Gospel According to Oprah. Since the mid 1990s, Winfrey's show has emphasized uplifting and inspirational topics and themes and some viewers claim the show has motivated them to perform acts of altruism such as helping Congo
Democratic Republic of the Congo
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a state located in Central Africa. It is the second largest country in Africa by area and the eleventh largest in the world...

lese women and building an orphanage. A scientific study by psychological scientists at the University of Cambridge, University of Plymouth
University of Plymouth
Plymouth University is the largest university in the South West of England, with over 30,000 students and is 9th largest in the United Kingdom by total number of students . It has almost 3,000 staff...

, and University of California
University of California
The University of California is a public university system in the U.S. state of California. Under the California Master Plan for Higher Education, the University of California is a part of the state's three-tier public higher education system, which also includes the California State University...

 used an uplifting clip from the Oprah Winfrey Show in an experiment that discovered that watching the 'uplifting' clip caused subjects to become twice as helpful as subjects assigned to watch a British comedy or nature documentary.

On the season premier of Winfrey's 13th season Roseanne Barr
Roseanne Barr
Roseanne Cherrie Barr is an American actress, comedian, writer, television producer and director. Barr began her career in stand-up comedy at clubs before gaining fame for her role in the sitcom Roseanne. The show was a hit and lasted nine seasons, from 1988 to 1997...

 told Winfrey "you're the African Mother Goddess of us all" inspiring much enthusiasm from the studio audience. The animated series Futurama
Futurama
Futurama is an American animated science fiction sitcom created by Matt Groening and developed by Groening and David X. Cohen for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series follows the adventures of a late 20th-century New York City pizza delivery boy, Philip J...

 alluded to her spiritual influence by suggesting that "Oprahism" is a mainstream religion in 3000 AD. Twelve days after the September 11 attacks, New York mayor Rudy Guliani asked Winfrey to serve as host of a Prayer for America service at New York city's Yankee stadium
Yankee Stadium
Yankee Stadium was a stadium located in The Bronx in New York City, New York. It was the home ballpark of the New York Yankees from 1923 to 1973 and from 1976 to 2008. The stadium hosted 6,581 Yankees regular season home games during its 85-year history. It was also the former home of the New York...

 which was attended by former president Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

 and New York senator Hillary Clinton. Leading up to the U.S.-led 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, less than a month after the September 11 attacks Winfrey aired a controversial show called "Islam 101" in which she portrayed Islam as a religion of peace, calling it "the most misunderstood of the three major religions". In 2002, George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 invited Winfrey to join a US delegation that included adviser Karen Hughes
Karen Hughes
Karen Parfitt Hughes is the Global Vice Chair of Burson-Marsteller. She served as the Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs in the U.S. Department of State with the rank of ambassador. She resides in Austin, Texas.-Early life:Born in Paris, France, she is the daughter...

 and Condoleezza Rice
Condoleezza Rice
Condoleezza Rice is an American political scientist and diplomat. She served as the 66th United States Secretary of State, and was the second person to hold that office in the administration of President George W. Bush...

, planning to go to Afghanistan to celebrate the return of Afghan girls to school. The 'Oprah strategy' was designed to portray the war on terror
War on Terror
The War on Terror is a term commonly applied to an international military campaign led by the United States and the United Kingdom with the support of other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation as well as non-NATO countries...

 in a positive light, however when Winfrey refused to participate, the trip was postponed.

Leading up to the U.S.-led invasion
2003 invasion of Iraq
The 2003 invasion of Iraq , was the start of the conflict known as the Iraq War, or Operation Iraqi Freedom, in which a combined force of troops from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Poland invaded Iraq and toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein in 21 days of major combat operations...

 of Iraq, Winfrey's show received criticism for allegedly having an anti-war bias. Ben Shapiro
Ben Shapiro
Benjamin Aaron Shapiro is an American conservative political commentator, radio talk show host, attorney, and media consultant. A native of Los Angeles, Shapiro graduated from high school at age 16 and graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles and Harvard Law School...

 of Townhall.com
Townhall.com
Townhall.com is a web-based publication primarily dedicated to conservative United States politics. It was previously operated by the Heritage Foundation, but is now owned and operated by Salem Communications...

 wrote: "Oprah Winfrey is the most powerful woman in America. She decides what makes the New York Times best-seller lists. Her touchy-feely style sucks in audiences at the rate of 14 million viewers per day. But Oprah is far more than a cultural force, she's a dangerous political force as well, a woman with unpredictable and mercurial attitudes toward the major issues of the day." In 2006, Winfrey recalled such controversies: "I once did a show titled Is War the Only Answer? In the history of my career, I've never received more hate mail – like 'Go back to Africa' hate mail. I was accused of being un-American for even raising the question." Liberal filmmaker Michael Moore
Michael Moore
Michael Francis Moore is an American filmmaker, author, social critic and activist. He is the director and producer of Fahrenheit 9/11, which is the highest-grossing documentary of all time. His films Bowling for Columbine and Sicko also place in the top ten highest-grossing documentaries...

 came to Winfrey's defence, praising her for showing antiwar footage no other media would show and begging her to run for president. A February 2003 series, in which Winfrey showed clips from people all over the world asking America not to go to war was interrupted in several east coast markets by network broadcasts of a press conference in which President George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 and Colin Powell
Colin Powell
Colin Luther Powell is an American statesman and a retired four-star general in the United States Army. He was the 65th United States Secretary of State, serving under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2005. He was the first African American to serve in that position. During his military...

 summarized the case for war.

In 2007, Winfrey began to endorse the self-help program The Secret. The Secret claims that people can change their lives through positive thoughts or 'vibrations', which will then cause them to attract more positive vibrations that result in good things happening to them. Peter Birkenhead of Salon
Salon.com
Salon.com, part of Salon Media Group , often just called Salon, is an online liberal magazine, with content updated each weekday. Salon was founded by David Talbot and launched on November 20, 1995. It was the internet's first online-only commercial publication. The magazine focuses on U.S...

 magazine argued that this idea is pseudoscience and psychologically damaging, as it trivializes important decisions and promotes a quick-fix material culture, and suggest Winfrey's promotion of it is irresponsible given her influence. In 2007, skeptic and magician James Randi
James Randi
James Randi is a Canadian-American stage magician and scientific skeptic best known as a challenger of paranormal claims and pseudoscience. Randi is the founder of the James Randi Educational Foundation...

 accused Winfrey of being deliberately deceptive and uncritical in how she handles paranormal claims on her show. In 2008 Winfrey endorsed author and spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle
Eckhart Tolle
Eckhart Tolle is a German-born Canadian resident, best known as the author of the The Power of Now and A New Earth, which were written in English. In 2011, he was listed by the Watkins Review as the most spiritually influential person in the world...

 and his book, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose
A New Earth
A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose is a book by Eckhart Tolle, a follow-up to his first book and bestseller, The Power of Now. Tolle says "this book's main purpose is not to add new information or beliefs to your mind or to try to convince you of anything, but to bring about a shift in...

, which sold several million copies after being selected for her book club. During a Webinar class, in which she promoted the book, Winfrey stated "God is a feeling experience and not a believing experience. If your religion is a believing experience [...] then that's not truly God." Frank Pastore
Frank Pastore
Frank Pastore is a former professional baseball pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds from 1979 until 1985, and for the Minnesota Twins in 1986. He then began a long schooling, earning degrees in business administration, philosophy of religion and ethics, political philosophy, and American government...

, a Christian radio talk show host on KKLA, was among the many Christian leaders who criticized Winfrey's views, saying "if she's a Christian, she's an ignorant one, because Christianity is incompatible with New Age
New Age
The New Age movement is a Western spiritual movement that developed in the second half of the 20th century. Its central precepts have been described as "drawing on both Eastern and Western spiritual and metaphysical traditions and then infusing them with influences from self-help and motivational...

 thought."

Winfrey was named as the 2008 Person of the Year by animal-rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA
Peta
Peta can refer to:* peta-, an SI prefix denoting a factor of 1015* Peta, Greece, a town in Greece* Peta, the Pāli word for a Preta, or hungry ghost in Buddhism* Peta Wilson, an Australian actress and model* Peta Todd, English glamour model...

) for using her fame and listening audience to help the less fortunate, including animals. PETA praised Winfrey for using her talk show to uncover horrific cases of cruelty to animals in puppy mills and on factory farms, and Winfrey even used the show to highlight the cruelty-free vegan diet that she tried. Winfrey also refuses to wear fur or feature it in her magazine.

In 2009 Winfrey filmed a series of interviews in Denmark highlighting its citizens as the happiest people in the world. In 2010 Bill O'Reilly
Bill O'Reilly (political commentator)
William James "Bill" O'Reilly, Jr. is an American television host, author, syndicated columnist and political commentator. He is the host of the political commentary program The O'Reilly Factor on the Fox News Channel, which is the most watched cable news television program on American television...

 of Fox News criticized these shows for promoting a left-wing society.

Fan base

In 1998, Winfrey's show had an estimated 14 million daily viewers, dropping to approximately 9 million in 2005 and to around 7.3 million viewers in 2008, though it remained the highest rated talk show.
In 2008, Winfrey's show was airing in 140 countries internationally and seen by an estimated 46 million people in the US weekly. According to the Harris poll, Winfrey was America's favorite television personality in 1998, 2000, 2002–2006, and 2009. Winfrey was especially popular among women, Democrats
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

, political moderates, Baby Boomers, Generation X
Generation X
Generation X, commonly abbreviated to Gen X, is the generation born after the Western post–World War II baby boom ended. While there is no universally agreed upon time frame, the term generally includes people born from the early 1960's through the early 1980's, usually no later than 1981 or...

, Southern Americans and East Coast Americans.

Outside the U.S., Winfrey has become increasingly popular in the Arab world
Arab world
The Arab world refers to Arabic-speaking states, territories and populations in North Africa, Western Asia and elsewhere.The standard definition of the Arab world comprises the 22 states and territories of the Arab League stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Arabian Sea in the...

. The Wall Street Journal reported in 2007 that MBC 4
MBC 4
MBC 4 is the first free-to-air national television channel in the Middle East aired specifically for American programs. The downside of this all is that MBC 2, MBC 3, MBC 4, MBC Action, MBC Max,and MBC Drama all show movies and TV programs that are edited: taking out all drug use, sexual content,...

, an Arab satellite channel, centered its entire programming around reruns of her show because it was drawing record numbers of female viewers in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

. In 2008 the New York Times reported that The Oprah Winfrey Show, with Arabic subtitles, was broadcast twice each weekday on MBC 4
MBC 4
MBC 4 is the first free-to-air national television channel in the Middle East aired specifically for American programs. The downside of this all is that MBC 2, MBC 3, MBC 4, MBC Action, MBC Max,and MBC Drama all show movies and TV programs that are edited: taking out all drug use, sexual content,...

. Winfrey's modest dress, combined with her triumph over adversity and abuse has caused some women in Saudi Arabia to idealize her.

Philanthropy

In 1998, Winfrey created the Oprah's Angel Network, a charity that supported charitable projects and provided grants to nonprofit organizations around the world. Oprah's Angel Network raised more than $80,000,000 ($1 million of which was donated by Jon Bon Jovi
Jon Bon Jovi
Jon Bon Jovi is an American musician, singer, songwriter, and actor, best known as the founder, occasional rhythm guitarist, and lead singer of rock band Bon Jovi, which was named after him...

). Winfrey personally covered all administrative costs associated with the charity, so 100% of all funds raised went to charity programs. The charity stopped accepting donations in May 2010 and was later dissolved. Winfrey's show raises money through promotion of her public charity and she personally donates more of her own money to charity than any other performer in America. In 2005 she became the first black person listed by Business Week as one of America's 50 most generous philanthropists, having given an estimated $303 million as of 2007. Winfrey was the 32nd most philanthropic
Philanthropy
Philanthropy etymologically means "the love of humanity"—love in the sense of caring for, nourishing, developing, or enhancing; humanity in the sense of "what it is to be human," or "human potential." In modern practical terms, it is "private initiatives for public good, focusing on quality of...

. She has also been repeatedly ranked as the most philanthropic celebrity.

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was a powerful Atlantic hurricane. It is the costliest natural disaster, as well as one of the five deadliest hurricanes, in the history of the United States. Among recorded Atlantic hurricanes, it was the sixth strongest overall...

, Oprah created the Oprah Angel Network Katrina registry which raised more than $11 million for relief efforts. Winfrey personally gave $10 million to the cause. Homes were built in Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama before the one year anniversary of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Winfrey has also helped 250 African-American men continue or complete their education at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. Winfrey was the recipient of the first Bob Hope Humanitarian Award
Bob Hope Humanitarian Award
The Bob Hope Humanitarian Award was established in 2002 by the Board of Governors of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in recognition of Bob Hope's trailblazing career...

 at the 2002 Emmy Awards for services to television and film. To celebrate two decades on national TV, and to thank her employees for their hard work, Winfrey took her staff and their families (1065 people in total) on vacation to Hawaii in the summer of 2006.

South Africa

In 2004, Winfrey and her team filmed an episode of her show, Oprah's Christmas Kindness , in which Winfrey travelled to South Africa to bring attention to the plight of young children affected by poverty and AIDS. During the 21-day trip, Winfrey and her crew visited schools and orphanages in poverty-stricken areas, and distributed Christmas presents to 50,000 children, with dolls for the girls and soccer balls for the boys, and school supplies. Throughout the show, Winfrey appealed to viewers to donate money to Oprah's Angel Network for poor and AIDS-affected children in Africa. From that show alone, viewers around the world donated over $7,000,000. Winfrey invested $40 million and some of her time establishing the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls
Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls
The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls - South Africa is a girls-only boarding school that officially opened in January 2007 in Henley on Klip near Meyerton, south of Johannesburg, South Africa...

 in Henley on Klip
Henley on Klip
Henley on Klip is situated next to the R59 between Johannesburg and Vereeniging.The village was founded in 1905, by Advocate Horace Kent. Born in 1855 in Henley on Thames, England, Kent came to South Africa in 1898. The area where Henley on Klip is located, reminded Kent of his hometown, in...

 south of Johannesburg
Johannesburg
Johannesburg also known as Jozi, Jo'burg or Egoli, is the largest city in South Africa, by population. Johannesburg is the provincial capital of Gauteng, the wealthiest province in South Africa, having the largest economy of any metropolitan region in Sub-Saharan Africa...

, South Africa. The school set over 22 acres, opened in January 2007 with an enrollment of 150 pupils (increasing to 450) and features state-of-the-art classrooms, computer and science laboratories, a library, theatre and beauty salon. Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999, and was the first South African president to be elected in a fully representative democratic election. Before his presidency, Mandela was an anti-apartheid activist, and the leader of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing...

 praised Winfrey for overcoming her own disadvantaged youth to become a benefactor for others. A minority of critics considered the school elitist and unnecessarily luxurious.

Winfrey, who has no surviving biological children, described maternal feelings towards the girls at Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls:Samuels, A. (2007, January 8). Oprah goes to school. Newsweek. Retrieved September 18, 2010. Winfrey teaches a class at the school via satellite.

Filmography

Year Title Role Notes
1985 The Color Purple
The Color Purple (film)
The Color Purple is a 1985 American period drama film directed by Steven Spielberg, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name by Alice Walker. It was Spielberg's eighth film as a director , and was a change from the summer blockbusters for which he had become famous...

Sofia Film debut
Nominated - Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
1986 Native Son
Native Son
Native Son is a novel by American author Richard Wright. The novel tells the story of 20-year-old Bigger Thomas, an African American living in utter poverty. Bigger lived in Chicago's South Side ghetto in the 1930s...

Mrs. Thomas Lead Role
Nominated - Kids' Choice Award for Favorite Movie
Kids' Choice Award for Favorite Movie
This is a list of the winners of, and nominees for, the Kids' Choice Award for Favorite Movie, given at the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards. Other Kids' Choice Awards are also given out in other categories; nominated movies which were nominated or won awards in such categories are noted on this...

1988–2011 The Oprah Winfrey Show
The Oprah Winfrey Show
The Oprah Winfrey Show is an American syndicated talk show hosted and produced by its namesake Oprah Winfrey. It ran nationally for 25 seasons beginning in 1986, before concluding in 2011. It is the highest-rated talk show in American television history....

Herself Televison talk show
1989 The Women of Brewster Place Mattie Michael Lead Role
Televison miniseries
1990 Brewster Place
Brewster Place
Brewster Place is a short lived American drama series which aired on ABC in May 1990. The series was a spinoff of the 1989 miniseries The Women of Brewster Place, which was based upon Gloria Naylor's novel of the same name...

Mattie Michael Lead Role
Televison series
1992 Lincoln
Lincoln
Lincoln commonly refers to:* Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States* Lincoln, England* Lincoln, Nebraska, the state's capital* Lincoln , a luxury brand of the Ford Motor Company* Lincoln , people with the surname Lincoln...

Elizabeth Keckley (voice) Televison movie (ABC
American Broadcasting Company
The American Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network. Created in 1943 from the former NBC Blue radio network, ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Company and is part of Disney-ABC Television Group. Its first broadcast on television was in 1948...

)
1992 There Are No Children Here LaJoe Rivers Lead Role
Televison movie (ABC)
1997 Ellen
Ellen (TV series)
Ellen is a U.S. television sitcom that ran on the ABC network from March 29, 1994 to July 22, 1998, producing 109 episodes.The theme song, "So Called Friend" is by Scottish band Texas...

Therapist "The Puppy Episode: Part 1" (#4.22)
"The Puppy Episode: Part 2" (#4.22)
1997 Before Women Had Wings
Before Women Had Wings
Before Women Had Wings is a 1997 television film, based on the story by Connie May Fowler about a mother whose abusive husband commits suicide, and she starts to violently abuse her two daughters...

Zora Willams Lead Role
Televison movie (ABC)
1998 Beloved
Beloved (film)
Beloved is a 1998 film based on Toni Morrison's 1987 novel of the same name. It was directed by Jonathan Demme, and was produced by Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Productions. The film stars Oprah Winfrey and Danny Glover.-Plot:...

Sethe Lead Role
Nominated - NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture
NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture
The NAACP Image Award winners for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture:Number of Performances that won or nominated for Oscars:*1. Whoopi Goldberg - The Color Purple*2. Angela Bassett - What's Love Got to Do With It?...

1999 Our Friend, Martin
Our Friend, Martin
Our Friend, Martin is a 1999 animated children's educational film about Martin Luther King, Jr. and the American civil rights movement. Two friends travel through time, meeting Dr. King at several points during his life...

Coretta Scott King (voice) Direct-to-video film
2006 Charlotte's Web
Charlotte's Web
Charlotte's Web is an award-winning children's novel by acclaimed American author E. B. White, about a pig named Wilbur who is saved from being slaughtered by an intelligent spider named Charlotte. The book was first published in 1952, with illustrations by Garth Williams.The novel tells the story...

Gussy the Goose (voice)
2006 Charlotte's Web
Charlotte's Web
Charlotte's Web is an award-winning children's novel by acclaimed American author E. B. White, about a pig named Wilbur who is saved from being slaughtered by an intelligent spider named Charlotte. The book was first published in 1952, with illustrations by Garth Williams.The novel tells the story...

Gussy the Goose (voice)
2007 Bee Movie
Bee Movie
Bee Movie is a 2007 computer animated family comedy film starring Jerry Seinfeld, Renée Zellweger, Matthew Broderick, Megan Mullally, John Goodman, Chris Rock, Kathy Bates, and Patrick Warburton. Produced by DreamWorks Animation, it is directed by Simon J...

Judge Bumbleton (voice)
2009 The Princess and the Frog Eudora (voice)
2010 Sesame Street
Sesame Street
Sesame Street has undergone significant changes in its history. According to writer Michael Davis, by the mid-1970s the show had become "an American institution". The cast and crew expanded during this time, including the hiring of women in the crew and additional minorities in the cast. The...

O (voice) "The Camouflage Challenge"

Producer

  • 2011 - Serving Life (TV documentary) (executive producer)
  • 2011 - Extraordinary Mom (TV documentary) (executive producer)
  • 2011 - Your OWN Show (TV series) (executive producer)
  • 2010 - The Oprah Winfrey Oscar Special (TV movie) (executive producer)
  • 2009 - Christmas at the White House: An Oprah Primetime Special (TV special) (executive producer)
  • 2009 - Precious  (executive producer)
  • 2009 - The Dr. Oz Show
    The Dr. Oz Show
    The Dr. Oz Show is an American syndicated television talk show, hosted by Dr. Mehmet Oz, a cardiothoracic surgeon and teaching professor at Columbia University who became famous for his appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show from 2004 until 2009....

     (TV series) (executive producer)
  • 2007 - The Great Debaters
    The Great Debaters
    The Great Debaters is a 2007 American biopic period drama film directed by and starring two-time Academy Award winner Denzel Washington and produced by Oprah Winfrey and her production company, Harpo Productions...

     (producer)
  • 2007 - Oprah Winfrey Presents: Mitch Albom's For One More Day (TV movie) (executive producer)
  • 2007 - Building a Dream: The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy (TV documentary) (executive producer)
  • 2007 - The Oprah Winfrey Oscar Special (TV movie) (executive producer)
  • 2007 - Oprah's Big Give
    Oprah's Big Give
    Oprah's Big Give is a reality television series that aired Sunday nights at 9:00 PM Eastern/8:00PM Central on ABC, and is hosted by Nate Berkus. The Big Give is produced by Harpo Productions, and created and produced by Oprah Winfrey, and also produced by Bert Van Munster and Elise Doganieri...

     (TV series) (executive producer)
  • 2006 - Legends Ball (TV documentary) (executive producer)
  • 2005 - Their Eyes Were Watching God
    Their Eyes Were Watching God
    Their Eyes Were Watching God is a 1937 novel and the best-known work by African American writer Zora Neale Hurston. Set in central and southern Florida in the early 20th century, the novel garnered attention and controversy at the time of its publication, and has come to be regarded as a seminal...

     (TV movie) (executive producer)
  • 2002 - Oprah After the Show (TV series) (executive producer)
  • 2001 - Amy & Isabelle (TV movie) (executive producer, producer)
  • 1999 - Tuesdays with Morrie
    Tuesdays With Morrie
    Tuesdays with Morrie is a 1997 non-fiction novel by American writer Mitch Albom. The story was later adapted by Thomas Rickman into a TV movie of the same name directed by Mick Jackson, which aired on 5 December 1999 and starred Jack Lemmon and Hank Azaria...

     (TV movie) (executive producer)
  • 1998 - David and Lisa
    David and Lisa
    David and Lisa is a small independent film directed by Frank Perry, often cited as one of his best works. Based on the novel by Theodore Isaac Rubin, the screenplay, written by Frank Perry's wife Eleanor, tells the story of a bright young man suffering from a severe case of obsessive-compulsive...

     (TV movie) (executive producer)
  • 1998 - Beloved
    Beloved (film)
    Beloved is a 1998 film based on Toni Morrison's 1987 novel of the same name. It was directed by Jonathan Demme, and was produced by Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Productions. The film stars Oprah Winfrey and Danny Glover.-Plot:...

     (producer)
  • 1998 - The Wedding
    The Wedding (TV miniseries)
    The Wedding is a 1998 television miniseries directed by Charles Burnett. Based on a novel by Dorothy West, it stars Halle Berry, Eric Thal, and Lynn Whitfield, and was produced by Harpo Productions...

     (TV miniseries) (executive producer)
  • 1997 - Before Women Had Wings
    Before Women Had Wings
    Before Women Had Wings is a 1997 television film, based on the story by Connie May Fowler about a mother whose abusive husband commits suicide, and she starts to violently abuse her two daughters...

     (TV movie) (producer)
  • 1998 - Michael Jackson Talks to... Oprah Live (TV special) (executive producer)
  • 1993 - ABC Afterschool Specials (TV series) (producer - 1 episode "Shades of a Single Protein") (producer)
  • 1992 - Overexposed (TV movie) (executive producer)
  • 1992 - Nine (TV documentary) (executive producer)
  • 1989 - The Women of Brewster Place (TV miniseries) (executive producer)
  • 1989 - The Oprah Winfrey Show
    The Oprah Winfrey Show
    The Oprah Winfrey Show is an American syndicated talk show hosted and produced by its namesake Oprah Winfrey. It ran nationally for 25 seasons beginning in 1986, before concluding in 2011. It is the highest-rated talk show in American television history....

     (supervising producer - 8 episodes, 1989-2011)

External links

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