Oprah Winfrey

Oct. 18 2011, Published 3:43 p.m. ET

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Before Oprah entered our living rooms everyday, she lived a life of poverty and dysfunction that pushed her to strive for her dreams. Suffering from an abusive mother and grandmother, Oprah was mistreated during most of her primary years. Oprah was raped and became pregnant at age 14, before loosing her baby. After winning Nashville's Miss Fire Prevention contest Oprah was offered a job reading afternoon headlines at a local radio station. Oprah took to the job quite well and only a few years later became the first female African-American news anchor in Nashville. In 1983 Oprah made her pivotal move to Illinois where she co-hosted AM Chicago. With her as the host, AM Chicago became a huge hit and was renamed The Oprah Winfrey Show. Things keep looking up for Oprah. In 1986, the host began dating her future husband Stedman Graham and her show went into national syndication, becoming the highest-rated talk show ever. That was also the year Oprah's extreme weight fluctuations began, which would follow her for years to come. Over the years, Oprah expanded from the basic talk show format to include her famous book club, the infamous favorite things episodes and even started her own magazine. Oprah has also been heavily involved with charity, opening the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls. In 2011, Oprah ended her run as queen of daytime television and launched her own network, OWN. Oprah also has appeared in critically acclaimed films, including Beloved and her Oscar nominated role in The Color Purple. 

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