Oprah Winfrey has become one of the most influential voices of our time. Through her multi-media corporation, Harpo, Inc., her contributions can be felt beyond the world of television and into areas such as publishing, music, film, philanthropy, education, health and fitness, and social awareness. As supervising producer and host of the award-winning “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” she entertains, enlightens and empowers millions of viewers around the world.
Oprah is the founder and editorial director of O, The Oprah Magazine, a monthly magazine through which she connects with her audience and provides possibilities for transforming their lives. It has been credited as being the most successful magazine launch in recent history. In April 2002, Oprah launched the first international edition of O, The Oprah Magazine in South Africa.
Oprah is a co-founder of Oxygen Media LLC, which includes a women’s cable network that launched in February 2000. She has created and produced three original series for the Oxygen Network: “Oprah Goes Online;” “Use Your Life;” and most recently, the prime-time “Oprah After The Show,” a spontaneous, unscripted, daily half-hour show taped after “The Oprah Winfrey Show” that premiered in September 2002.
In September 2002, Oprah created and launched “Dr. Phil,” the hit syndicated series featuring life strategist Dr. Phil McGraw, Ph.D., who had been a regularly featured guest on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” since 1998. The show was an instant ratings success, garnering the best audience figures of any new talk show since “The Oprah Winfrey Show” debuted in 1986. Created by Harpo Productions, the show is produced by Paramount Domestic Television and distributed in national syndication by King World Productions and globally by CBS Broadcast International.
As an actress, Oprah has earned critical acclaim for her numerous acting roles, including an Academy Award nomination or her debut in The Color Purple. Through Harpo Films, she has produced several Emmy Award-winning telepictures, including “Tuesdays With Morrie,” and in 1998 she produced and starred in Touchstone Pictures’ Beloved.
The Oprah Winfrey Foundation was established to support the inspiration, empowerment, education and well-being of women, children and families around the world. Through these private charities, Oprah has directly served the needs of low opportunity people and has awarded hundreds of grants to organizations that carry out this vision. She has contributed millions of dollars towards providing a better education for underserved students who have merit but no means. She serves as the national spokesperson for A Better Chance, an organization that provides academically talented high school students of color, predominantly from inner city school districts, the opportunity to attend many of the nation’s finest college preparatory schools. She created The Oprah Winfrey Scholars Program, which gives scholarships to students determined to use their education to give back to their communities in the United States and abroad.
The Oprah Winfrey Foundation continues to expand its global humanitarian efforts in developing countries. In December 2002, Oprah brought a day of joy to tens of thousands of children with ChristmasKindness South Africa 2002, an initiative that included visits to orphanages and rural schools throughout several provinces in South Africa where children received gifts of food, clothing, athletic shoes, school supplies, books and toys. Sixty-three rural schools received libraries and teacher education, which will continue throughout 2003. In addition, she announced a partnership with South Africa’s Ministry of Education to build a model leadership school for girls. The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls South Africa is scheduled to open in January of 2005.
Oprah’s commitments extend to her initiation of the National Child Protection Act in 1991; she testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee to establish a national database of convicted child abusers and on December 20, 1993, President Clinton signed the national “Oprah Bill” into law.