Oprah Winfrey in pictures

Updated 2:31 PM ET, Fri January 26, 2018
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Media mogul Oprah Winfrey, seen here in 2008, is one of the most influential celebrities in the world. Might a presidential run be next? Two of her close friends told CNN that she is "actively thinking" about it. But she downplayed such talk in an interview with InStyle Magazine. Dylan Martinez/REUTERS/Newscom
Winfrey was born January 29, 1954, in Kosciusko, Mississippi. Her mother, Vernita Lee, was a maid, and her father, Vernon Winfrey, was a barber. Her first name is actually spelled Orpah on her birth certificate -- a Bible reference chosen by her aunt -- but there was confusion over how to pronounce the name and it eventually changed to Oprah. From Oprah.com
After spending her earliest years in rural Mississippi, Winfrey also grew up in Wisconsin and Tennessee. From Oprah.com
Winfrey was an honors student at her high school in Nashville, Tennessee, and she earned a full scholarship to Tennessee State University. While in school, she became the youngest and first African-American anchor for WTVF-TV in Nashville. She graduated with a degree in speech and performing arts. From Oprah.com
After graduating college, Winfrey got a job as a news anchor for WJZ-TV in Baltimore. Afro Newspaper/Gado/Getty Images
Winfrey poses for the camera in 1978, when she became co-host for WJZ's new talk show "People Are Talking." Afro Newspaper/Gado/Getty Images
Winfrey moved to Chicago in the early 1980s to host the show "A.M. Chicago." It became a hit in the ratings, and it was eventually renamed "The Oprah Winfrey Show." This photo shows Winfrey on the day when it was announced that the show would be syndicated nationwide starting in 1986. Standing with Winfrey, from left, are Roger King, chairman of the board for syndicator King World, and Joseph Ahern, former general manager of WLS-TV. CHARLIE BENNETT/AP
Winfrey made her film debut in 1985's "The Color Purple." She received an Oscar nomination for best supporting actress. Warner Brothers/Getty Images
In 1987, Winfrey holds up her first of many Daytime Emmy Awards. AP
Winfrey and her longtime partner, Stedman Graham, attend an Emmys after-party in 1987. The two have been together for more than 25 years. Ron Galella/WireImage/Getty Images
Winfrey with businessman -- and future US President -- Donald Trump at a boxing event in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in 1988. Jeffrey Asher/Getty Images
Winfrey shows off her weight loss during an episode of her talk show in 1988. She had lost 67 pounds. Throughout her career, Winfrey has been upfront with her audience about battles with weight loss. Charles Bennett/AP
Winfrey hosts an episode about school violence in 1988. Jason Lee/AP
Winfrey appears on "Late Night with David Letterman" in 1989. Paul Natkin/NBCU/Getty Images
Pop star Michael Jackson gives a rare television interview to Winfrey in 1993. It was one of the most-watched interviews in television history. Sam Emerson/Reuters/Newscom
Winfrey and lawmakers join US President Bill Clinton as he signs the National Child Protection Act in 1993. The law created a national database that allows people to search for child abusers. Winfrey advocated for the legislation in 1991, testifying on Capitol Hill about being sexually abused as a child. Greg Gibson/AP
Winfrey appears with Ellen DeGeneres in a 1997 episode of "Ellen." In the two-part episode, DeGeneres' character came out as a lesbian. DeGeneres herself had just come out the week before. ABC Photo Archives/Getty Images
Winfrey takes her hat off to the graduating class at Wellesley College in 1997. Barry Chin/The Boston Globe/Getty Images
First lady Hillary Clinton presents Winfrey with a piggy bank full of change from the White House in 1997. Winfrey was launching Oprah's Angel Network, a charitable foundation that included her viewers' spare-change donations. Reuters/Newscom
In 1998, Winfrey partnered with Oxygen Media to operate a 24-hour cable channel for women. Sonia Moskowitz/Globe Photos/ZUMAPRESS.com
New York Gov. George Pataki hugs Winfrey at a city prayer service held two weeks after the September 11 attacks in 2001. BETH A. KEISER/AP
Winfrey sits between Vogue editor Anna Wintour, left, and O, the Oprah Magazine, editor Gayle King at a New York fashion show in 2002. King has long been one of Winfrey's closest friends. Mark Mainz/Getty Images
Winfrey accepts the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award at the Primetime Emmys in 2002. Frank Micelotta/Getty Images
Winfrey shares a joke with former South African President Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu in 2002. Mandela was announcing a concert to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS. Gallo Images/Foto24/CAMERA PRESS/Redux
Winfrey stands in front of children in Durban, South Africa, in 2002. Winfrey's charity was donating food, clothes, school supplies, books and toys to tens of thousands of children. BENNY GOOL/AP
In 2004, Winfrey began the new season of her talk show by giving everyone in the audience a new car. Winfrey said the audience members were chosen because their friends or loved ones had told the show about their need for a new vehicle. BOB DAVIS/Harpo Productions/AP
One of the most memorable moments of Winfrey's show is when actor Tom Cruise jumped on a couch to declare his love for Katie Holmes in 2005. From Oprah.com
Winfrey pays tribute to Rosa Parks after the civil rights pioneer died in 2005. MANUEL BALCE CENETA/AP
Winfrey takes an HIV test in 2007 at the opening of her new school for disadvantaged girls in South Africa. -/AFP/Getty Images
Winfrey is interviewed by Larry King in 2007. MICHAEL CAULFIELD/WireImage for CNN
Winfrey attends a campaign rally in 2008 with Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle. Mary Ann Chastain/AP
The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) debuted in 2011. Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
Winfrey ended "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in 2011 after a 25-year run. It is still the highest-rated daytime talk show in US television history. Charles Rex Arbogast/AP
Winfrey poses with the first graduates from her girls school in South Africa in 2012. Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters/Newscom
Obama awards Winfrey with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013. The President said, "In more than 4,500 episodes of her show, her message was always, 'You can.' " Evan Vucci/AP
Winfrey appears in the 2014 film "Selma." She also co-produced the film, which is based on the Selma to Montgomery civil rights marches in 1965. Atsushi Nishijima/Paramount Pictures
Winfrey and Graham attend Vanity Fair's Oscars party in 2015. Larry Busacca/VF15/Getty Images
Winfrey accepts the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globes in 2018. She is the first black woman to receive the award, which is given annually "to a talented individual who has made an incredible impact on the world of entertainment." Her acceptance speech spurred chatter of a presidential run. Paul Drinkwater/NBCUniversal/Getty Images