Born January 29, 1954 in Kosciusko, Mississippi, today's reigning "Queen of Daytime" began working in local radio while still in school.
Tough, smart, dynamic and engaging, Winfrey attended Tennessee State University in 1971 to study speech and performing arts, and the following year entered and won the Miss Black Tennessee contest. At 19, she became the youngest person - and the first African-American woman - to anchor the news at Nashville's WTVF-TV. She later co-anchored for Baltimore's WJZ-TV six o'clock news before co-hosting their local talk show, People Are Talking.
Winfrey's first foray into hosting/producing came in 1986, with a solid hit on Chicago's WLS-TV's The Oprah Winfrey Show that went on to become the highest-rated talk show in TV history with a weekly audience of 26 million. Not limiting her appearances to the small screen, Oprah Winfrey later starred in the Steven Spielberg blockbuster The Color Purple in 1985 and in the less successful Beloved in 1998. Today, her talk show continues to be broadcast in 112 countries and remains the most popular on the planet. Oprah Winfrey has translated that popularity into a multimillion dollar empire and her own production studio, along with inclusion into the upper reaches of influence as one of America's wealthiest people.