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Oprah Winfrey’s Biography

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Essay title: Oprah Winfrey’s Biography

Mrs. Haas

English 2 CP

25 October 2005

The Renaissance Woman

When Oprah Winfrey told her 49 million viewers, “It just stopped me cold from eating another burger!” (Tannen) about the Mad cow disease, she wouldn’t know it would cost the beef industry $12 million (Deborah Tannen). Texas cattlemen tried to sue Oprah for causing this such massive downfall, but she would win (Deborah Tannen). Oprah Winfrey was once a constantly abused thirteen year old girl. Now she is arguably the most famous African American woman and her talk show is highly regarded as the most talked about show in America. Her show has influenced many to change their lives and help others out. Abraham Lincoln once said, “I am a slow walker, but I never walk backwards.” (Inspirational Quotes: Achievements). This quote of perseverance could describe her life. Oprah Winfrey’s abusive childhood has driven her to make something out of herself and others.

Oprah Gail Winfrey was born on January 29, 1954 in Kosciusko, Mississippi living with a poor Baptist family (Wikipedia). Her parents, Vernon Winfrey and Vernita Lee were unmarried and still teenagers during the time she was born (Wikipedia). She lived with her grandmother where she would learn how to read aloud and recite sermons by the young age of 3 (America’s Beloved Best Friend). At the age of 13 she would move to Milwaukee with her mother and that’s when the trouble would start (America’s Beloved Best Friend). She would face sexual abuse and molestation from her family relatives as a teenager, by her cousin, family friends, and her uncle (Victoria Walker). Oprah would keep this a secret and would bottle up her anger, which lead to trouble (Victoria Walker). She would repeatedly run away from home and was sent to juvenile detention, but her admission would be denied because the detention’s overcrowded area (America’s Beloved Best Friend). At the age of 14 she was impregnated by one of her abusers, but the baby would become stillborn, and this would devastate Oprah (Victoria Walker). Her mother would send her to live with her father as a last resort. She vowed to change her life (Victoria Walker).

At Nashville, Tennessee, his father was almost the complete opposite of her mother (America’s Beloved Best Friend). He was a disciplinarian, he would give Oprah a midnight curfew, and she would need to reed a book each week and write a report about the book (America’s Beloved Best Friend). She quoted, “he had some concerns about me making the best of my life, and would not accept anything less than what he thought was my best.” (America’s Beloved Best Friend). In High School she would participate in production of a regular radio show and would enter in pageants where she’d amaze the judges and crowd with her public speaking talent (Lisa Russell). Her talent and hard work driven by her father would earn her a scholarship at Tennessee State University, majoring in Speech Communication and Performing Arts (Deborah Tannen; America’s Beloved Best Friend). She began her broadcasting career in Nashville at WVOL a local radio station at the age of 17 (America’s Beloved Best Friend). Two years later, she would become the youngest woman to anchor the news at Nashville’s WTVF-TV (Oprah Winfrey’s Biography). In 1976, Winfrey moved to Baltimore to co-host a talk show, “People Are Talking” (Oprah Winfrey’s Biography). In January 1984, she came to Chicago to host a declining talk show “AM Chicago” (America’s Beloved Best Friend). She would make the show a local hit and would soon be called what is now known, “The Oprah Winfrey Show” (Oprah Winfrey’s Biography).

The show’s first national appearance was on September 8, 1986 and it quickly became highest rated talk show in national syndication in less than a year (America’s Beloved Best Friend). It remained the number one talk show for 19 consecutive seasons and is seen by 49 million viewers a week in the United States and is viewed internationally in over 117 different countries. The Oprah Winfrey show talks about personal problems in everyday life that most people never hear from each other (Winfrey, Oprah). Whether it’s an ordinary person or a guest celebrity, Winfrey’s “public therapy” entices the viewers minds (Winfrey, Oprah). Her personal life has been an essential part to her talk show’s style of public therapy. From her childhood abuses, experiment with drugs, and weight loss problems, audience can try to relate to Oprah and almost see her as “family” (Winfrey, Oprah). TV familiarity with her audience is a key element to her show and success (Winfrey Oprah). Her show influences many, like the example where the cattle industry lost over millions of dollars because a simple little quote she made about the mad

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