After working in local media, Winfrey launched “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” She covered whatever mattered most to her, from home decor to weight loss to AIDS. Her distinctive, therapy session-style hosting won over audiences from the start. She actually seemed to care about the people she interviewed, and that made her audiences care too. She was even known to shed a tear over particularly emotional stories. Here Winfrey puts her feet up as she relaxes in her studio office following a morning broadcast in Chicago.
(Charlie Knoblock / Associated Press)
Oprah Winfrey shows her wonder during an interview with host David Letterman.
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Oprah and Barbra Streisand react to the audience during a taping of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” in Los Angeles on Nov. 1, 1996.
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Winfrey was nominated for an Academy Award for supporting actress for her performance in “The Color Purple.” She also starred here in the film adaptation of Toni Morrison’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “Beloved,” directed by Jonathan Demme.
(Ken Regan / Touchstone Pictures)
After enduring a difficult childhood, Winfrey decided to spend $40 million to build a school in South Africa. Her inclusion of an on-site yoga studio and beauty salon was criticized by some as frivolity, but Winfrey said such amenities would calm and inspire the impoverished young women. Seen here, Winfrey attends the opening ceremony with students from the Leadership Academy for Girls.
(Denis Farrell / Associated Press)
Winfrey reveals her 63rd book club pick, “Say You’re One of Them” by Uwem Akpan. The book, first published in 2008, features a collection of short stories that pay testament to the wisdom and resilience of children.
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Maya Angelou, left, and Winfrey laugh during a star-studded double-taping of “Surprise Oprah! A Farewell Spectacular,” in Chicago. Angelou was a mentor to Winfrey, whom she befriended when Winfrey was still a local television reporter, and often appeared on her friend’s talk show program.
(Charles Rex Arbogas / Associated Press)
Then-President Obama awards the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Winfrey on Nov. 20, 2013, in Washington, D.C. The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the nation’s highest civilian honor, presented to individuals who have made meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.
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Rose Byrne, left, and Winfrey in “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.”
( Quantrell Colbert / HBO)
Oprah Winfrey presents an award during the Emmys in Los Angeles on Sept. 17, 2017.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Time)
Winfrey, left, and Cher attend Hand in Hand: A Benefit for Hurricane Relief at Universal Studios AMC on Sept. 12, 2017, in Universal City.
(Kevin Mazur / Hand in Hand / Getty Images)
Felix (voiced by Tracy Morgan), top, Deborah (Winfrey) and Cyrus (Tyler Perry) in Sony Pictures Animations’ “The Star, " a film about a small but brave donkey and his animal friends who become the unsung heroes of the first Christmas.
Mindy Kaling is Mrs. Who, left, Winfrey is Mrs. Which, and Reese Witherspoon is Mrs. Whatsit in “A Wrinkle in Time.” The Disney movie based on Madeleine L’Engle’s 1962 novel of the same name brings to life the story of Meg Murry, a wiry adolescent who travels across dimensions to rescue her scientist father.