You know you’ve reached peak celebrity success when your name is associated with wealth and power. Oprah Winfrey, undoubtedly one of the most influential people in the world today, celebrates her 65th birthday today.
Her life did not start as glamorous as it is today. Born into poverty in 1954, Oprah’s life was surrounded with problems at home, including abuse of many kinds. She even became a teen mom (but the baby died prematurely).
Rise to stardom
Oprah gained recognition when she moved to Tennessee, earning a Communication scholarship to Tennessee State University and being invited to host on local radio shows – making her way up as lead anchor and host on major talk shows.
With her hosting of the morning talk show AM Chicago, TV ratings boosted the show’s popularity to the point that in her second year at the show it was renamed to The Oprah Winfrey Show – her famous show that would run for another 25 years.
The Oprah Winfrey Show
Some of her most notable guests on the show include Michael Jackson (who was rarely interviewed, thus making the episode extremely popular), Tom Cruise and his infamous couch-jumping scene, Celine Dion (who appeared 28 times), and Oprah’s best friend and fellow TV personality Gayle King (appearing over 140 times) – the latter two the show’s most appeared guests.
Oprah also used the show as a platform for personal stories to be told, especially for parents facing loss or struggles with their children, people suffering from critical diseases, members of the LGBT community, and launched careers of some young artists like then-known Charice Pempengco.
To date Oprah is considered one of the richest and most powerful women in the world, and she uses her celebrity status to promote her numerous advocacies – especially for people of color. Her most notable film appearances were the involvement of African-Americans in history such as The Color Purple (her film debut, where she received critical acclaim), The Butler, and Selma.
Oprah continues influencing people around the world (not just giving freebies to everyone) on her own Oprah Winfrey Network, speaking at functions and programs, and serving as example that the best people can rise from anywhere as long as they strive and work hard.