Oprah Winfrey (Gail) was born in 1954 into poverty in rural Mississippi to a teenage single mother and later raised in an inner-city Milwaukee neighborhood.
Oprah experienced considerable hardship during her childhood, saying she was raped at age nine and became pregnant at 14; her son died in infancy.
She has become an American media proprietor, talk show host, actress, producer, and philanthropist
. All know her for her talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show
, which was the highest-rated program of its kind in history and was nationally syndicated from 1986 to 2011.
Dubbed the "Queen of All Media",she has been ranked the richest African-American of the 20th century, the greatest black philanthropist in American history,
and is currently (2012) North America's only black billionaire. She is also, according to some assessments, the most influential woman in the world.
In 2013, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama
and honorary doctorate degrees from Duke and Harvard.