Welcome to the article: Interesting Facts about Oprah Winfrey. After having her own show on TV, this woman became one of the most influential and richest people in world’s history. We’ll teach you how she managed to do this coming from a humble background, so let’s start sharing the details!
Who is Oprah Winfrey?
Oprah Winfrey was born in 1954 to a really poor family. Her mother was a teenager who didn’t have a formal relationship with her father, who was absent during Oprah’s whole life. She had a tough childhood as she had to go from a home to another when her mother couldn’t keep her family afloat. After being adopted, she started working as a news anchor and her life completely changed.
In 1983, she started hosting a morning talk show. A few months after she joined the program, it became the talk show with the highest number of viewers in Chicago. Three years later, the talk show became The Oprah Winfrey Show and its broadcast became national. Like this, the phenomenon of Oprah started and it led her to become one of the most influential women of the 20th century.
Interesting Facts about Oprah Winfrey
1. Her name isn’t exactly “Oprah”.
The given name of Winfrey was “Orpah”, not Oprah. This is the name of a figure in the Hebrew Bible, a woman who decided to go back with her people and her gods instead of following her friends. However, when Winfrey was young, people used to mispronounce her name so often that she stuck to Oprah.
2. Her childhood was really difficult.
As we said, Oprah’s mother was a single teenager. Until she was six, she lived with her grandmother in a really poor environment. She even used to wear clothes made of potato sacks. When she went back with her mother, she didn’t get along with her because she wasn’t very loving and was always working. Her mother had another daughter, which forced Oprah to go to Nashville with an adoptive father called Vernon Winfrey because she couldn’t afford to maintain them.
Her mother had another daughter that was given in adoption while she was with her father. Once she went back, her mother had another child. Since she was nine, she was sexually abused by three of her relatives. This ended when she was 13 because Oprah ran away from home.
3. She decided not to have children.
After running away from home, when she was 14, Oprah got pregnant. Her son died a couple of days after she gave birth because he was premature.
When she openly talked about being molested, she confessed that she had decided that she would never have children because she “wasn’t mothered well”. She also said that she wouldn’t even know how to do it.
4. She started her talk-show career on a show with the lowest ratings of the channel where she worked.
Oprah started her career on a channel called WJZ-TV as a news anchor. Then, she was the co-host of the talk show People Are Talking. In 1983, she started hosting the local talk show AM Chicago, which had the lowest ratings on the channel. In a matter of months, the show placed as the most watched talk show in Chicago. Three years later, that talk show would become the famous The Oprah Winfrey Show, which was broadcasted nationally and syndicated.
5. One of his interviews is placed as the most watched interview ever.
Oprah’s interviews are known for being highly emotional and honest, as she is able to connect with celebrities and open about herself. In 1993, she interviewed Michael Jackson. This was considered as a rare interview because Michael Jackson had not made an interview for TV in 14 years before he accepted Oprah’s. This 90-minute apparition was witnessed by approximately 90 million people, which made it the most watched interview ever.
6. She has a Channel and had a radio channel.
In 2008, she announced she wanted to create a TV channel called OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. However, it was launched in 2011, five months before her talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show ended. She also launched a radio channel called Oprah Radio in 2006. It stopped broadcasting in 2014.
7. She was nominated to an Oscar.
Besides being a TV host, Oprah also has worked as an actress. She was the co-star in Spielberg’s film The Color Purple, for which she was nominated for an Oscar as Best Supporting Actress.
8. A type of media communication was coined after her name.
“Oprahfication” was the word given by The Wall Street Journal to the show format used in media where people confess intimate experiences and their feelings. This is a characteristic of the content of her show, where she opens up and connects with the people she invites. It has also been called “rapport talk”, opposing the term “report talk”, which goes with the content of Phil Donahue.
I hope that these facts about Oprah Winfrey were useful to you. If you want to know about other historical figures, visit historical people page.