Oprah Winfrey Biography

An Abusive Past Turned into Billions?

Is it possible for someone not to have heard about Oprah Winfrey? After all, this one is pretty much an icon in America and worldwide to the point of being the top influence for youngsters and adults. 

She is quite known for her philanthropist activities but also her participation in hosting a timeless talk show where all types of celebrities and figures have participated. 

But more than being a host and black woman who has made sure to make history, what can we share about her? 

Probably the fact she quite has a lot of money, and you might be wondering: Is she a millionaire or billionaire? The answer might surprise you. 

But more than the money, we want to discuss how she has reached success, which we are confident will be a great example for any goals you have set for yourself. 

Not only because of the businesses and achievements she has today, but rather the fact she is the perfect example of someone who has risen from ashes and was reborn as a new brilliant human. 

Childhood & Early Years: Who Is Oprah Winfrey?

Oprah’s early years weren’t easy, and, unfortunately, many people can feel related to the abuse and bad experiences she lived. 

Unlike what you might think, the story starts quite early in her childhood. 

Orpah Gail Winfrey was her birth name and was born on January 29, 1954. Her given name, “Orpah,” is a reference to the biblical figure found in the Book of Ruth. 

People mispronounced her name “Oprah” as a baby, which became a common mistake and one of the reasons she is known for it today. 

Oprah Winfrey Biography #2 -

She was born in Kosciusko, Mississippi, to Vernita Lee, her mother. She was a teenage housemaid, while Vernon Winfrey was her biological father and was serving in the Armed Forces when Oprah was born. 

He worked as a barber and a coal miner before becoming a city councilman. Rumors suggest that Noah Robinson was probably her biological father instead of Winfrey. 

Starting rough, Oprah moved in with her grandmother as a baby with her mother. Oprah was forced to wear potato bags as school clothes because of her family’s poverty. 

She then moved to Milwaukee when she was six years old, where her mother became a maid and had a second child, Patricia. 

A brother born to Vernon and Patricia called Jeffrey was also part of her family. However, he died from AIDS in 1989. In addition, her sister Patricia died in 2003 due to cocaine abuse. 

Going back to her childhood, Oprah moved to Nashville with Vernon, her father, when she was 12. However, she fled her home at 13 to escape the abuses she had suffered from her cousin and uncle. 

When she was 14, she fell pregnant with a boy who died prematurely, bringing more pain and disaster to her life. 

After attending Lincoln High School in Milwaukee, she was able to excel in a special program and was granted a transfer at Nicolet High School, a suburban school. 

She returned to Nashville after getting into trouble, but she blossomed at East Nashville High School. 

Oprah was 17 when she won Miss Black Beauty Tennessee. This led to her part-time job as a news anchor at WVOL, a local radio station.

Oprah was awarded a scholarship to Tennessee State University, where she studied communication. Although she got the challenge of attending university, at 19, she decided to quit to pursue a full-time career in media.

Oprah Winfrey Biography #3 -

Starting a Better Life: Career & Progress

Winfrey is one of those women that has been through a lot in her life, and we are sure you can notice this by reading about her childhood. 

However, things started to look better once she got older, and during her journey for a big career, challenges didn’t go missing, but she was able to earn a lot. 

After deciding to quit college, Oprah became the first black female anchor at WLAC-TV Nashville. She was also the youngest anchor of the station’s history. 

When turning 22, she was hired by WJZ in Baltimore to anchor the six o’clock news. This was a highly sought-after position and a big achievement for the star. 

She began hosting a talk show called “People Are Talking in August” in 1978. By 1980, she was beating the nationally-syndicated Phil Donahue in the local Baltimore market. 

After inflation adjustment, her Baltimore earnings were $220,000 annually by the end of her run.

Oprah was recognized for her talents, and in 1984 ABC offered her a 30-minute talk show on Chicago mornings to be produced in Chicago by King World Productions. 

King World was also responsible for “Jeopardy” and “Wheel of Fortune.” A four-year contract worth $1 million was offered for the job. 

Within just a few months, Oprah had moved from being the last talk show on AM Chicago’s January 2, 1984 air date to become the most popular in Chicago. 

Oprah Winfrey Biography #4 -

On September 8, 1986, she changed the show’s name to “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” It was broadcast nationally and syndicated and also extended to an hour. 

The show initially focused on women’s issues. However, it was expanded to include topics such as spirituality, charity, health, and social issues.

Oprah became suspicious about the $1 million contract within just a few months. Roger Ebert, a Chicago TV personality, told Winfrey to meet with her manager to clear the doubts about her contract. Her manager was Jeffrey Jacobs at the time. 

Jacobs quickly pointed out that Oprah would not make an extra dollar as the show was syndicated since Siskel and Ebert, two executives, owned a piece of the show’s syndication along with Bill Cosby. 

Angry with the fact she was exploded, and her manager even mentioned this was a slave contract, she sent Jacobs to negotiate with King World/ABC for another deal, but they refused to do so.

Oprah Winfrey Biography #5 -

Then, What Happened with the Show?

With the rejection of a new deal and King World being reluctant to accept any conditions, Jeffrey Jacobs and Oprah started the idea of launching an empire. 

During the cold negotiations with the company, HARPO Productions was established by Jeffrey and Oprah, and it would turn to be one of their best decisions. 

At this time, King World was in a difficult position. Oprah was drawing record-breaking viewership in Chicago, and national syndication looked like it was going to be a success. 

Seeing how she was booming, they reconsidered their options and finally returned to the negotiation table. 

However, Oprah wasn’t looking for a cut of the backend anymore. King World executives were stunned to discover that she planned to produce the show herself since Jeffrey and her would cover all production costs. 

King World would then be paid a fixed fee to syndicate the show nationwide through HARPO Productions. In other words, this transformed King World into the now-paid employee.

For HARPO Productions, Oprah controlled 90% of the company while Jacobs took the remaining 10%. 

They then negotiated an even larger deal with ABC, which included movie productions as well as a magazine and books. And, perhaps most importantly, it gave her the right to launch additional TV shows. 

Her 3.5-acre HARPO campus would be the location for all production.

Oprah Winfrey Biography #6 -

Jeffrey and Oprah went as far as to buy a stake in King World Productions. This would allow the big woman to earn money from any of the shows and productions airing in the company. 

When CBS purchased King World in 1999 for $2.5 billion in stock, Oprah held 1% of CBS when the acquisition was completed. 

Before and after her talk show finished in 2011, Oprah went and produced more projects with her company. She also added other business ventures to her catalog, and today, she is someone who has a lot in her pockets. 

Oprah’s Net Worth: How Much Does She Earn?

It isn’t hard to know Winfrey built an empire in the media industry and has made sure to expand her reach over the years. 

However, are her projects that valuable? Is she really as rich as people claim her to be? You will be shocked. 

To this date, Oprah has a fortune reaching $3.5 billion, and this just keeps growing. 

In fact, she became a billionaire in 1999/2000, and by then, she was first America’s black female billionaire thanks to her earnings set at $300 million per year for producing her show, Rachael Ray’s and Dr. Phi’s shows. 

This salary went to increase in the following years as she is now the richest self-made woman in America and the fourth-richest celebrity worldwide. 

Most of her earnings come from her production company and the shows she takes part in. 

However, other investments, projects, and endorsements bring a lot of her money.

Oprah Winfrey Biography #7 -

She has been a board member of Weight Watchers since 2015 and was awarded $44 million worth of equity right after arriving in the company. Although this was only six years ago, this stake has grown to over $400 million. 

Recently, she also signed a contract with Appel to produce shows for the company, and this contract is said to be worth at least $500 million. 

Along with her talk shows and productions, she has appeared in some films that add a few million to her pocket. However, the dozens of documentaries, miniseries, TV series, and shows are worth over 50% of her money. 

In addition to the actress and production careers, she is known for her books published and how they have broken records in copies sold and popularity. 

Now, with the shows and main sources of profit done, we have to focus on her real estate. 

According to the latest reports, she owns about $285 million in properties around the United States as she owns hundreds of acres. 

One of them was the property in Chicago that was her primary residence. However, she sold it in 2015 for $4.6 million. 

A mansion in Montecito was also part of her portfolio when she purchased it for $50 million in 2005. She still owns it, and the property is valued at $100 million.

Oprah Winfrey Biography #8 -

In addition, she has a 23-acre farm in the area, and the house next door to the main residence was purchased to expand the entire property. 

Washington, Colorado, and Maui are other places where she owns properties, including a state in Orcas Island she sold for $14 million the past July. 

To add more numbers to her bank account, you have to consider Oprah Winfrey Network, Oprah magazine, even Oprah’s book club, and all channels and ventures under her name, which made her the richest African American to this date. 

More than Money: Social Impact & Philanthropy 

Oprah is known for giving to others, and we are happy there is another billionaire that actually cares about helping those who need it. 

The big personality has donated more than $450 million to charity, and most of her donations have been for educational causes. 

Thanks to them, more than 400 scholarships were awarded by her to Atlanta’s Morehouse College only, and other institutions can be added to the list. 

Oprah’s Angel Network was established in 1998. It supports nonprofits all over the globe, and it has raised over $80 million for various organizations. 

She makes sure to pay 100% of the network’s administrative expenses so that 100% of the funds raised can be used directly for the nonprofits.

Oprah Winfrey Biography #9 -

Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls was established in South Africa in 2007. With it, she has donated $40 million to the school’s funding. The school currently has 400 students, with plans to increase that number to 500.

All her charities have raised millions for different purposes, including the $11 million for Hurricane Katrina Relief, with Oprah contributing an additional $10 million.

She donated $12 million to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in 2013.

Other donations to health care institutions, AIDS organizations, abuse and therapy, and many other causes have been part of her donations and social work. 

She supports over 30 different charities and makes sure to have the funds used for her own ones for the expected causes, including social proof. 

Making Your Own Career & Money

It is a good idea to think about Winfrey’s past and think: “I can do this.” 

Although everyone’s life is different, it isn’t a bad option to take someone else’s experience and use it for motivation. To make sure you are learning and moving forward as hard as it can be. 

Oprah is a strong woman, and we can notice how much work she has put into overcoming her traumas and standing strong in what she deserves. 

Why wouldn’t you be able to do the same?

Oprah Winfrey Biography #10 -

You can start a business anytime and pursue your dreams. It is only a matter of conviction and wanting to go beyond. 

If you don’t know where or with what you can start, we believe that lead generation is an important opportunity for anyone who wishes to go into entrepreneurship.

This business model is focused on creating websites for small businesses and individuals who want to generate leads through online marketing.

You are responsible for finding them and creating their websites. This will allow you to generate leads and clients while companies sign contracts with you.

Although it is possible to make websites for businesses or individuals without any help, it can be time-consuming and tedious for the owners. It is also not as easy as just sitting down and placing random elements on the page. 

It is important to acquire and learn specific skills. Fortunately, it doesn’t require talent, and you can learn these skills easily.

This #1 training program will help you to seize this opportunity and become the next self-made millionaire. 

For more info, just click here…

Here’s Our #1 Recommended Online Business Model:

1 - local lead gen vs other online business models - blog

Interested in starting an online business to build passive income? Check out the local lead gen business model. Click here to learn more.

Written by Dame Cash

Quotes by Oprah Winfrey #1 -

61 Reflective Quotes by Oprah Winfrey

Mr. Handyman Franchise Review #1 -

Mr. Handyman Franchise Review