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Oprah Winfrey Timeline

The life of this influential American woman who became one of the richest women in the USA.

Details and dates of her birth and upbringing in Mississippi.

Her education and her career path as a reporter.

Her progress from radio to TV stations.

Her move into the movies and her political influence.

Oprah Winfrey Timeline

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Short Biography of Oprah Gail Winfrey
Date of Birth: Born on January 29, 1954
Place of Birth : Kosciusko, Mississippi, USA
Parents: Born out of wedlock
             Father:  Vernon Winfrey, a coal miner
             Mother: Vernita Lee, a housemaid
Background Facts, Information & Ancestry : African American. DNA test have revealed her ancestry has roots in Liberia, East Asia and Native American tribes



1954-1960 Oprah was raised on a farm by her grandmother, Grandma Hattie Mae.



1960-1968. Moved from Milwaukee to live with her mother, stepsister and stepbrother in an inner city ghetto in Mississippi. During this time O later revealed she suffered from abuse and was raped by her cousin, uncle, and a family friend



Oprah ran away from home, ran wild and narrowly escaped being sent to a juvenile detention center.
During this time she gave birth to a premature boy, who died soon after birth. She then moved to Nashville, Tennessee with her father and her stepmother Zelma. Vernon by this time had become a successful businessman and city-council member.

Vernon Winfrey was very strict and O became an honors student and graduated from East Nashville High School



Won a scholarship to Tennessee State University based on her communication skills and worked at the WVOL local radio station whilst attending the University



Crowned Miss Black Tennessee and Miss Fire Prevention. She also took part in the Miss Black America Pageant



She graduated from Tennessee State University with a Degree in Speech and Performing Arts.

Became the first black TV news anchor reporter with WTVF-TV



Moved to Baltimore to host the 6 o’clock news with WJZ-TV where she met her best friend Gayle King who was a production assistant at WJZ-TV

April 1: Was moved from news anchor to the WJZ-TV morning talk show host of People are Talking

Also became a reporter for an ABC news affiliate in Baltimore, Maryland.



Was moved from news anchor to the WJZ-TV morning talk show host of People are Talking with  Richard Sher

Also hosted the local version of 'Dialing for Dollars'



Moved to Chicago, Illinois in late 1983 in preparation to host the talk show A.M. Chicago for WLS-TV



January 2: First episode of A.M. Chicago. Show was extremely successful in the ratings



Continued to work on the Oprah Winfrey Show

Starred in the Steven Spielberg movie 'The Color Purple' as the character Sofia



Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 'The Color Purple' but lost to Anjelica Huston

September 8: Her show expands to one hour and broadcast nationally. It was nominated for several Emmy awards

Formed her own television production company called Harpo Productions

Received the National Organization for Women's Women of Achievement Award.

Starred in the movie 'Native Son' as Janet Thomason



February 9: Her much acclaimed episode from her show was aired from Forsyth County, Georgia, where no blacks had been allowed to live since 1912.

Oprah won her first Emmy for best talk/service show host and best show.

Cameo role in the Danny DeVito movie Throw Momma from the Train



Named Broadcaster of the Year by the International Television and Radio Society

Harpo Productions which obtained ownership and production responsibilities for her show from ABC-TV station, WLS in Chicago

Bought her Chicago apartmet and her farm in Indiana.

Appeared in the TV program Pee-wee's Playhouse Christmas Special as herself



Starred as Mattie Michael in the movie The Women of Brewster Place (she was also executive producer)

Received the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's Entertainer of the year award and went on to receive their Image Award 4 times from 1989 to 1992

Her half brother, Jeffrey Lee, sadly died of AIDS.



Appeared in the TV program Brewster Place as Mattie Michael

Starred in the movie Listen Up: The Lives of Quincy Jones (documentary)



Initiated the National Child Protection Act and testified before Congress

Appointed chef Rosie Daley to supervise a new and healthier diet.



Won Best Talk Show Host at the Daytime Emmy Awards

1992 Appeared in the TV program The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Episode, A Night at the Oprah

Worked on Lincoln as narrator of the TV documentary

Became engaged to Stedman Graham, a public relations executive

Appointed Bob Greene to supervise her exercise program



Hosted an interview with Michael Jackson which reached an audience of one hundred million.

President Bill Clinton signed the National Child Protection Act which had been strongly supported by Oprah.

Appeared in the TV program There Are No Children Here role as LaJoe Rivers



Won Best Talk Show and Best Talk Show Host at the 21st Annual Daytime Emmy Awards

Became co-author of the book In The Kitchen With Rosie: Oprah's Favorite Recipes by Rosie Daley and Oprah Winfrey



Became the first woman and the only black on Forbes list of 400 richest Americans. She has remained the only black person to rank among America's 400 richest people nearly every year since 1995

Won an Emmy for Best Talk Show and Best Host for the second year in a row.

“Oprah Online” started on American Online (AOL) in partnership with ABC



Became co-author of the book A Journal of Daily Renewal : The Companion to Make the Connection, by Bob Greene and Oprah Winfrey

Received the prestigious George Foster Peabody’s Individual Achievement Award

April 16: The OW Show dealt with Mad Cow Disease in the United States which led to a court case

September 16: Oprah announced the start of her successful on-air book club



Formation of Oprah’s Angel Network encouraging people to make charitable contributions and volunteer work.

Delivered the commencements address to the Wellesley College Class of 1997

Appeared in the TV program Ellen - The Puppy Episode

Appeared in the TV program Before Women Had Wings role as Miss Zora (she was also producer)

Author of the book The Uncommon Wisdom of Oprah Winfrey : A Portrait in Her Own Words by Bill Adler (editor) and Oprah Winfrey



February 26: Sucessfully defended herself in the food disparagement lawsuit brought by Texas cattlemen following the show about Mad Cow Disease

Received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Daytime Emmy Awards and an award for top talk show host.

Formed Oxygen Media

Starred in the movie of the Toni Morrison novel, Beloved

Co-author of the book Journey to Beloved, by Oprah Winfrey and Ken Regan



1999 Co-author of the book Make the Connection : Ten Steps to a Better Body and a Better Life, by Bob Greene and Oprah Winfrey



In 2002 Fortune called O, the Oprah Magazine the most successful start-up ever in the industry.

Became the recipient of the first Bob Hope Humanitarian Award at the 2002 Emmy Awards for services to television and film.



She was the narrator in the documentary Unchained Memories: Readings from the Slave Narratives



The 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Concert was hosted by Oprah and Tom Cruise

Forbes' international rich list has listed Winfrey as the world's only black billionaire

Named by Time as one of the 100 people who most influenced the 20th century

She was the narrator in the documentary Brothers of the Borderland



The Color Purple was made into a Broadway musical of which she was a producer

Forbes' international rich list has listed Winfrey as the world's only black billionaire

Became the first black listed by Business Week as one of America's top 50 most generous philanthropists

Oprah's Christmas Kindness was made to draw bring attention to the plight of young African children affected by poverty and AIDS.

Named by Time as one of the 100 most influential people of the year

Named as the greatest woman in American history as part of a public poll as part of The Greatest American in which she ranked in 9th place in the list of greatest Americans.

She was the narrator in the documentary Emmanuel's Gift



February 9: Signed 3-year contract with XM Satellite Radio to establish a new radio channel based in Chicago

Forbes' international rich list has listed Winfrey as the world's only black billionaire

Named by Time as one of the 100 most influential people of the year

Appeared in the TV program Drake & Josh in the episode Josh Meets Oprah

Appeared in Drake & Josh - Josh Meets Oprah

Starred in the movie Charlotte's Web playing Gussy

Oprah currently lives on "The Promised Land", her 42 acre estate in Montecito, California and also owns a house in Lavallette, New Jersey.

Oprah Winfrey Timeline

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