Oprah Gail Winfrey (born January 29, 1954) is the American
multiple-Emmy Award winning host of The Oprah Winfrey Show, the
highest-rated talk show in television history. She is also an
influential book critic, an Academy Award-nominated actress, and a
magazine publisher. She has been ranked the richest African
American of the 20th century, the most philanthropic African
American of all time, and the world's only black billionaire for
three straight years. She is also, according to some assessments,
the most influential woman in the world.
Born in rural Mississippi to a poor unwed teenaged mother, and
later raised in a Milwaukee ghetto, Winfrey was raped at the age of
nine, and at fourteen, gave birth to a son who died in infancy.
Sent to live with the man she calls her father, a barber in
Tennessee, 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.