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Orpah Gail Winfrey was born on January 29, 1954; on her birth certificate, her first name was written Orpah, after a biblical person from the Book of Ruth, but it was frequently mispronounced, and “Oprah” stuck. She was born to an unmarried teenage mother in Kosciusko, Mississippi. Vernita Lee (1935–2018), her mother, worked as a housemaid. Vernon Winfrey (born c. 1933), a coal miner turned barber turned city councillor who had been in the Armed Forces when she was born, is Winfrey’s biological father. Noah Robinson Sr. (born c. 1925), a Mississippi farmer and World War II veteran, has claimed to be her biological father. Winfrey’s mother moved north after her birth, and she spent her first six years with her maternal grandmother, Hattie Mae (Presley) Lee (April 15, 1900 – February 27, 1963), amid rural poverty. Because her grandmother was impoverished, Winfrey wore gowns made of potato sacks, which other children mocked. Her grandmother taught her to read when she was three years old and took her to church, where she earned the moniker “The Preacher” for her ability to repeat Bible verses. Winfrey’s grandma was allegedly abusive when she was a youngster. When Winfrey was six years old, she moved to an inner-city Milwaukee area with her mother, who was less supportive and encouraging than her grandmother, owing to the long hours she worked as a maid. Around this time, Lee gave birth to another daughter, Patricia, Winfrey’s younger half-sister, who died in February 2003 at the age of 43 from causes associated to cocaine use. By 1962, Lee was having trouble parenting both children, so Winfrey was temporarily sent to Nashville, Tennessee, to live with Vernon. While Winfrey was in Nashville, Lee gave birth to a third daughter, who was placed for adoption in the aim of alleviating Lee’s financial woes.
Winfrey worked in local media as the youngest and first black female news anchor at WLAC-TV (now WTVF-TV) in Nashville, where she frequently covered the same issues as John Tesh, who worked at a competing Nashville station. She came to WJZ-TV in Baltimore in 1976 to co-anchor the six o’clock news. She was fired as co-anchor in 1977 and relocated to a lower-profile job at the station. She was then hired to co-host WJZ’s local talk show People Are Talking with Richard Sher, which debuted on August 14, 1978. She also presented a version of Dialing for Dollars in her hometown. Winfrey began her career in local media as the youngest and first black female news anchor at WLAC-TV (now WTVF-TV) in Nashville, where she regularly covered the same problems as John Tesh of a competing Nashville station. In 1976, she joined WJZ-TV in Baltimore to co-anchor the six o’clock news. In 1977, she was sacked as a co-anchor and transferred to a lower-profile position at the station. On August 14, 1978, she was recruited to co-host WJZ’s local talk programme People Are Talking with Richard Sher, which premiered on August 14th. In her hometown, she also performed a rendition of Dialing for Dollars. Howard Rosenberg, a TV columnist, said: “Big, brassy, loud, aggressive, hyper, funny, loving, soulful, tender, low-down, earthy, and hungry, she’s a roundhouse, a full course feast. She could even know how to get to Phil Donahue’s jugular.” “Oprah Winfrey is sharper than Donahue, wittier, more genuine, and far better attuned to her audience, if not the world,” according to Newsday’s Les Payne, and Martha Bayles of The Wall Street 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 June 2018, Apple announced a multi-year content agreement with Winfrey, under which Winfrey will develop new original programming exclusively for Apple TV+, the company’s streaming service. Oprah’s Book Club, the first show under the arrangement, premiered on November 1, 2019. The Oprah Winfrey Show section of the same name inspired Oprah’s Book Club. Oprah Talks COVID-19, the second programme in the contract, premiered on March 21, 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic. On July 30, 2020, Winfrey will introduce a third programme, The Oprah Conversation, in which she would “[continue] to explore meaningful and current themes with brilliant thought leaders from all around the world.”
Personal Profile of Oprah Winfrey
- Name: Oprah Winfrey
- Date of Birth: 29 January 1954
- Age: 67 years
- Birth Sign: Aquarius
- Nationality: American
- Parents: Vernon Winfrey, Vernita Lee
- Siblings: Patricia Lofton, Jeffrey Lee, Patricia Lee Lloyd
- Birth Place/City: Kosciusko, Mississippi, United States
- Profession: Host
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