Media Executive, Actress, TV Producer & Philanthropist
Oprah Gail Winfrey is a talk show host, media executive, actress and billionaire philanthropist. She’s best known for being the host of her own, wildly popular program, The Oprah Winfrey Show, which aired for 25 seasons, from 1986 to 2011. In 2011, Winfrey launched her own TV network, the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). Born in the rural town of Kosciusko, Mississippi, Winfrey moved to Baltimore in 1976, where she hosted People Are Talking. Afterward, she was recruited by a Chicago TV station to host her own morning show.
According to Forbes magazine, Winfrey was the richest African American of the 20th century and the world's only black billionaire for three years running. Life magazine hailed her as the most influential woman of her generation. In September 2002, Winfrey was named the first recipient of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' Bob Hope Humanitarian Award. In 2005, Business Week named Winfrey the greatest black philanthropist in American history. Oprah's Angel Network raised more than $50 million for charitable programs, including girls' education in South Africa and relief to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Winfrey is a dedicated activist for children's rights; in 1994, President Bill Clinton signed a bill into law that Winfrey had proposed to Congress, creating a nationwide database of convicted child abusers. She also founded the Family for Better Lives foundation and also contributes to her alma mater, Tennessee State University. In November 2013, Winfrey received the nation's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.