When you go by a singular name in Hollywood, you know you’ve made it. Yes, we’re talking about Oprah Winfrey — one of the most influential people in the world. The veteran host, actress, producer, media executive and philanthropist has carved a path many could only dream of, which makes her so special. In her time, Oprah has become a beacon of resilience, using her platform each day to highlight progressive change. Today, January 29, marks Oprah’s 67th birthday! To celebrate the incredible woman, let’s take a look back at her remarkable transformation.
Oprah got her start in local news at the age of 19 when she became the youngest news anchor and the first Black female news anchor at Nashville’s WLAC-TV. She later worked in local news in Baltimore, before she relocated to Chicago to host WLS-TV’s half-hour morning talk show, AM Chicago. Once she took over, the ratings soared and Oprah became a talk show phenomenon.Younger generations may not know the success Oprah garnered as a talk show host from 1986-2011. The Oprah Winfrey Show, which was the highest-rated television program of its kind in history, ran on nationally syndicated television for 25 years. In a field dominated by white men, Oprah dethroned all of her competitors with stellar ratings. The show featured celebrity interviews, covered topics such as health, politics, spirituality, meditation and more lifestyle interests.
Through the years, Oprah’s success has only flourished and impacted the lives of others through her businesses and philanthropic work. In 2015, Oprah purchased a minority stake in Weight Watchers and she’s been the face of the company ever since, along with other stars, including Kate Hudson.She’s given hundreds, if not thousands of scholarships to Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, on top of her countless contributions to television and film. As a result, Oprah was the recipient of the first Bob Hope Humanitarian Award at the 2002 Emmy Awards for her services to television and film. In 2013, she donated $12 million to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. And, that same year, President Barack Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Oprah has starred in films including, The Color Purple (1985), Lee Daniels’ The Butler (2013), Selma (2014), and many more. She’s been nominated for two Academy Awards, earning her first nod in 1986 for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for The Color Purple and in 2015 as a producer on Selma, which was nominated for Best Picture. She currently stars as herself in numerous shows about spirituality, self-help and more topics on her OWN network. But at 67, we know there’s so much more in store for this trailblazer. Take a look at the images in the gallery above to see Oprah’s remarkable transformation.