Mother: Vernita Lee, a maid (parents never married)
Education: Tennessee State University, B.A., Speech and Performing Arts, 1976
At age 19, while still a sophomore in college, becomes the youngest and first African-American anchor for WTVF-TV in Nashville.
Stedman Graham has been her companion for many years.
Three Emmy Award nominations with one win.
After removing her name from competition in the Daytime Emmy Awards in 1999, "The Oprah Winfrey Show" won Emmy awards in the technical categories only.
One Academy Award
nomination. Won one honorary award.
One Tony Award
1976 - Becomes a news co-anchor at WJZ-TV in Baltimore.
January 1984 - Becomes the anchor of "A.M. Chicago," which airs opposite Phil Donahue.
September 1985 - The show is renamed "The Oprah Winfrey Show."
1985-2011 - Host of "The Oprah Winfrey Show," the highest-rated talk show in history.
1985 - Makes her film debut in "The Color Purple," for which she was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar.
November 8, 1986 - "The Oprah Winfrey Show" goes into national syndication.
1987, 1988, 1989, 1996, 1997 - Wins Emmy Award each of these years, Best Talk Show for "The Oprah Winfrey Show."
1988 - Forms her own production company, Harpo Inc. Harpo is Oprah spelled backwards.
1991, 1992, 1994, 1995 - Wins two Daytime Emmy Awards each of these years, Best Talk Show and Best Talk Show Host for "The Oprah Winfrey Show."
December 20, 1993
- President Clinton
honors Oprah by signing into law the "Oprah Bill." This bill creates a national database that allows people to search for child abusers.
1993 - Wins two Daytime Emmy Awards, Best Talk Show Host for "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and Outstanding Children's Special, "ABC Afterschool Specials, Shades of a Single Protein."
1996 - Starts "Oprah's Book Club" on her show. The book club becomes very influential in the publishing world as selected books rise to the top of bestseller lists.
1997 - Starts Oprah's Angel Network, a charitable foundation.
1998 - Wins Emmy Award, Best Talk Show Host for "The Oprah Winfrey Show," tying with Rosie O'Donnell.
1998 - Produces the movie "Beloved."
- Partners with Oxygen Media
, which plans to operate a 24-hour cable channel for women.
1999 - Withdraws her name for consideration in the Daytime Emmy Awards.
2000 - Winner of the Outstanding Made for Television Movie for "Oprah Winfrey Presents: Tuesdays with Morrie."
April 2000 - Launches "O, The Oprah Magazine," and the Oxygen Network.
- Wins the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award at the Primetime Emmys
February 2003 - Becomes the first African-American woman on Forbes magazine's "World's Richest People" list, with a net worth of about $1 billion.
September 13, 2004 - Begins a new season of her talk show by giving each member of the audience a brand-new car.
September 26, 2005 - Winfrey announces that she is investing more than $1 million to bring the musical "The Color Purple" to Broadway in December 2005.
February 9, 2006 - XM Satellite Radio announces that it has signed a three-year deal with Winfrey worth $55 million. "Oprah and Friends" begins broadcasting in September 2006.
January 2, 2007 - The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls opens in Henley-on-Klip, South Africa. The school houses 152 girls from deprived backgrounds and provides them with an education. Winfrey has reportedly spent $40 million dollars opening the school.
September 8, 2007
- Hosts a fundraiser for presidential hopeful Barack Obama
at her California home.
October 2007 - NBC buys the Oxygen Network for $925 million.
January 15, 2008 - Winfrey and Discovery Communications announce that beginning in 2009 the Discovery Health Channel will be renamed OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network.
November 20, 2009 - Announces on her show that she will discontinue her talk show on September 9, 2011. She will then move to California and launch OWN.
December 5, 2010 - Winfrey is honored at the Kennedy Center as part of the 33rd annual Kennedy Center Honors gala.
January 1, 2011 - OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network debuts.
May 25, 2011
- The last "Oprah Winfrey Show" airs
. There are no guests for this episode.
November 12, 2011 - Winfrey receives an honorary Oscar, the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
January 1, 2012 - Winfrey's new show, "Oprah's Next Chapter," debuts on the OWN network.
June 26, 2013
- Regains #1 spot
for Forbes' World's Most Powerful Celebrities.
November 20, 2013 - Is awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.
January 15, 2015 - The film "Selma," in which Winfrey costars, is nominated for an Academy Award for best picture.
October 19, 2015 -
Winfrey and Weight Watchers announce a partnership
in which Winfrey is buying a 10% stake in the company and taking a seat on its board of directors.
March 2016 - Forbes, in its annual list of the world's billionaires, estimates Winfrey's net worth at $3 billion.