She’s arguably one of the richest and most powerful women in the world, so many fans are wondering how exactly Oprah Winfrey got famous. The short answer? It all started with her talk show, but there’s so much more than that.
Back in 1983, Oprah took over the Chicago morning talk show AM Chicago, which had horrible ratings at the time. And, as you could probably imagine, Oprah instantly made the show great and it soon surpassed Donahue, which was the highest-rated Chicago talk show at the time.
Soon after, she was convinced to sign a syndication deal with King World, and the show was then renamed The Oprah Winfrey Show. The first official episode premiered on Sept. 8, 1986, and lasted until May 25, 2011. In the early ’90s, the show averaged about 13.1 million viewers per day!
And while Oprah got famous by making a name for herself on TV after a tumultuous childhood, it was her bright personality and giving nature that really got her where she is today. Throughout the years, she became known for her big celebrity interviews on her shows (her 1993 interview with Michael Jackson became the fourth most-watched in TV event in American history), for giving away cars to the audience (“you get a car, you get a car!”), and for her emotional segments about topics like abuse and more.
On top of her talk show, Oprah is the CEO of a television channel called OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network), a magazine called O, The Oprah Magazine, and is also involved in a plethora of charities and philanthropies. In addition, Oprah has also appeared in movies including The Color Purple, Selma, and The Butler. Let’s just say Oprah has really made her mark on people everywhere — and her fame is something that will be remembered and cherished forever!