If you’ve watched television in the last thirty years, you probably know something about Oprah Winfrey. After all, she is one of the most easily recognizable faces in the world, thanks to her long-running daytime talk show, “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” At one point, his show was watched by 40 million Americans each week. Though she kept us informed, brought us to tears, and gave us a few laughs during the two and a half decades of her tenure as a talk show host, Oprah is more than a sounding board for the troubles of our time. She is also a talented actress whose acting career began almost simultaneously with her career as America’s most beloved queen of daytime television.
It was at the same time that Oprah gained a national audience with her talk show that she also attracted the nation’s attention by playing the role of Sofia in 1985’s “The Color Purple,” a film that was adapted from an Alice Walker novel. . Her fledgling performance in this Steven Spielberg film earned her Golden Globe and Oscar nominations for Best Supporting Actress. Oprah’s performance as a freshman in this film alongside greats like Whoopi Goldberg and Danny Glover is considered by many to be one of the best.
The following year, Oprah starred in her second movie role, appearing alongside Elizabeth McGovern and Matt Dillon in “Native Son,” a film that received some critical acclaim. The story is set in 1940s Chicago and follows a series of events centering on an African-American chauffeur who accidentally kills his employer’s daughter and then tries to cover it up to avoid an unfair trial.
Oprah’s love of the big screen and acting itself led her to form her own production company, Harpo Productions, in 1986. The production company would eventually buy “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and it remains formidable even today. Harpo would produce a well-received 1987 television miniseries, “The Women of Brewster Place,” starring and produced by Oprah. Oprah would also star in and produce two Harpo television movies, including 1993’s “There Are No Children Here” and 1997’s “Before Women Had Wings.”
Harpo Productions would be behind Oprah’s next role in 1998’s “Beloved,” a film based on one of Oprah’s favorite Toni Morrison novels. In “Beloved,” Oprah would reunite with her “The Color Purple” co-star Danny Glover. The film was a flop at the box office, opening the same weekend as “Bride of Chucky,” an anticipated addition to the “Child’s Play” horror film series. Oprah would go on to say that the failure of “Beloved” was one of the worst moments of her career and has stated that it caused her great depression. However, Oprah was nominated for Best Actress in a Movie by the NAACP Image Awards for her performance in the movie.
Oprah has also had some success in voiceover performances of some of the most beloved children’s movies of our time, including her voice acting as Gussie the Goose in the 2006 animated adaptation of “Charlotte’s Web.” She would go on to voice the judge in Benson vs. the world case in 2007’s “Bee Movie.” Her third voiceover contract was as Eudora, the mother of Princess Tiana in 2009’s “The Princess and the Frog.”
Oprah’s love of acting extends to producing great plays as well. Two decades after settling nationally, Oprah still devoted much of her time to film and television production, producing a 2005 film adaptation of “Her Eyes Were Looking at God” based on Zora Neale Hurston’s book. Also in 2005, he produced a Broadway musical production of “The Color Purple.” It was her love of production that led her to launch her own television network, OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network), in 2011.
Oprah was once referred to as the most powerful woman in the world and is the richest woman who made herself in the United States, as well as the richest African American of the 20th century, male or female. In 1995, she became the first and only woman and only African American to appear on the Forbes 400 list, and was also listed as the world’s only black billionaire. She owes all of this success to her diverse skill set that has made her a force to be reckoned with in the entertainment industry. Oprah Winfrey is a woman of many talents. From an extraordinary talk show host with multiple daytime Emmys under her belt to actress, television and film producer, and television network owner, Oprah’s remarkable career is incredibly diverse, and we can only hope for more good things from her in the future.