20. Oprah Winfrey: Her Incredible Life

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Oprah Winfrey is one of the most successful women in the history of the United States of America. Winfrey was born in a small town in Mississippi in 1954 into a poor family. She is now one of the richest people in the world, and the richest black Americans in the country. She was also named as the richest African American in the 20th Century. Winfrey is known to most Americans through her daytime show called "The Oprah Winfrey Show." Her show is very popular among television viewers because she likes to tackle the tough issues many other daytime TV hosts avoid.

Winfrey's early life was difficult. She lived with her mother and grandmother at times. While living with her grandmother, she learned to read by the age of three, and had memorized many bible passages. Her mother was an unwed teenager at the time of her birth, and had a difficult time raising her. Winfrey had two half-sisters. One died young as a result of cocaine addiction, and she did not learn about her other sister until 2010. Winfrey also was not certain who her father was.

Winfrey suffered from sexual abuse from her uncle, cousin, and family friend, and became pregnant at 14. She lost her baby shortly after birth though. Winfrey survived her early years, and at 17 won a local beauty contest before getting her first break in the media industry as a radio newscaster. This was her first step into the media market.

Her show began in Chicago in 1983, and within a few years, it became the No. 1 daytime, talk show in the country. She has interviewed some of the most famous people in the country on her popular show. Winfrey starred in the movie The Color Purple, and now owns her own production company called Harpo Films. She is a philanthropist who is famous for her generosity, and remains one of the most influential Americans in the country.

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