And it was good…
Super-Oprah comes into the world on January 29, 1954 in Kosciusko, Mississippi.
Oprah gets her start, meets Gayle
After three years of anchor news reporting, in 1976, Winfrey hosts the six o’clock news at Baltimore’s WJZ-TV, where she meets future bestie-for-life, Gayle King, who was working there as a production assistant.
The Color Purple
Winfrey stars as Sofia in Steven Spielberg’s The Color Purple in 1985 and scores a Best Supporting Actress nod by the Academy Awards.
The big break
Since her move to Chicago in 1983, Winfrey was hosting localized version of what was to become The Oprah Winfrey Show, which first nationally broadcast on September 8th, 1986.
In 1987, Winfrey receives her first of more than 45 Daytime Emmy Awards that she would collect before removing the show from consideration in 2000.
The weight struggles
Winfrey starts what would become a 20-plus year public discussion about her weight fluctuation with the Diet Dreams Come True episode of November 15, 1988, in which she is a slim size 10.
The engagement that would last a lifetime
In 1992, Oprah Winfrey gets engaged to businessman Stedman Graham — whom she has yet to actually marry.
The Queen of Daytime and the King of Pop
In 1993, it was only Winfrey who could get the pale Michael Jackson to explain that he had not bleached his skin, but that he had skin-pigment disorder known as vitiligo. This was to become one of her highest rated episodes, with 62 million viewers watching.
The Oprah Book Club
Oprah Winfrey launches her book club in 1996. More than 60 selections have instantaneously earned a lucky author boatloads of money and an immediate spot on the New York Times’ Best Seller List.
Forming an empire and defending free speech
In 1998, Winfrey forms Oxygen Media, which would spawn the Oxygen cable channel. In the same year, she wins a “food disparagement” case against Texas cattlemen after her comments in a 1996 episode about Mad Cow Disease.
Let the lifestyling begin
Winfrey expands her reach with O Magazine, which offers advice on personal finance, fitness and spiritual wellness.
Paging Dr. Phil
Winfrey may be leaving but her self-help posse remains: Dr. Phil debuted in 2002, Rachael Ray in 2006, The Dr. Oz Show in 2009 and The Nate Berkus Show just last year.
“You get a car!”
On September 12, 2004, Winfrey shocked the audience: Each one of those lucky, well-deserving, loyal jerks got a Pontiac G6 — 276 in all.In November 2010, she gave away VW Beetles.
Tom Cruise gets excited talking about Katie Holmes
Remember May 23, 2005? According to the Urban Dictionary “jump the couch” is “a defining moment when you know someone has gone off the deep end.”
Opens school in South Africa
The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls debuts in January 2, 2007, lauded by humanitarians, and nearly overshadowed when a female employee is later accused of molestation.
Denies being gay
After years of dogged rumours about her sexuality, and questions about her relationship with friend Gayle King, Winfrey opens up to Barbara Walters in December 2010. “I’m not lesbian. I’m not even kind of lesbian,” she said, soon tearing up while praising King. “She is … the mother I never had. She is … the sister everybody would want.”
Launches OWN network
On January 1, 2001, an entire network launches devoted to Winfrey’s self-help philosophy. The buzz is high but the ratings soon drop, and Winfrey vows to focus more on the programming when her syndicated show ends.
And it was good…