Most of us will never forget many of the iconic TV moments given to us over the years by the Queen of TV Talk, Oprah Winfrey. The Oprah Winfrey Show gave us Tom Cruise jumping on a couch, the Oprah Book Club, and even the unforgettable moment when she gave away 276 free cars to her audience. Oprah’s impact on American culture led her to become one of the most influential celebrities of the 20th century.
However, Oprah’s rise to fame and fortune did not come easy. Poverty, abuse, and stigma all stood in her way to success. From rough-and-tough rural roots to a self-made billionaire, Oprah is not only a household name, but she is someone who embodies the American dream.
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Orpah Gail Winfrey was born January 29, 1954, in Kosciusko, Mississippi to a young, unmarried, single mother. Her mother, Vernita Lee, was a housemaid while her biological father, Vernon Winfrey, was a coal miner and barber. Vernita and Vernon were not together during the time of Oprah’s conception, but the two would part ways shortly after her birth.
Oprah was actually born “Orpah”, named by Vernita after a female character in the Book of Ruth in the Hebrew Bible. Apparently, people mispronounced her name so much that she eventually came to adopt “Oprah” as her first name.