Published On: Jun 13 2011 09:45:45 AM CDTUpdated On: Jan 29 2015 02:00:00 AM CST
Oprah Winfrey has been part of the American cultural landscape for nearly 30 years. Here's a look at some moments in the life of the media icon over the years.
Jan. 29, 1954: Winfrey (pictured as a youth on this PBS DVD release) was born in Kosciusko, Miss. Her name was spelled slightly different at birth -- Orpah.
1970s: Winfrey got her start in pageants by winning Nashville's Miss Fire Prevention contest in 1971, following that up a year later by winning the Miss Black Tennessee pageant and competing in the Miss Black America competition.
Dec. 18, 1985: Winfrey's first national exposure came in her role as Sofia in director Steven Spielberg's big-screen adaptation of "The Color Purple." The performance earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
Sept. 8, 1986: The first "Oprah Winfrey Show" airs in a nationally syndicated format, after getting its start as the local talk show "AM Chicago" in 1983.
Feb. 10, 1993: Michael Jackson talks with Oprah in a rare prime-time interview. The live interview, only Jackson's second television interview since 1979, was, at the time, the fourth most watched event in American television history, as well as the most watched interview ever, with an audience of 36.5 million.
Feb. 10, 1993: Michael Jackson shows Winfrey around the amusement park on his Neverland Ranch estate during the taping of a live interview.
Nov. 10, 1995: Winfrey is pictured here in the year that she and her production entity Harpo Films entered into an exclusive long-term agreement with the Walt Disney Company. Under the agreement, Winfrey produced motion pictures for Disney and also agreed to star in some of the films she produced.
Sept. 8, 1996: Winfrey welcomes attendees to the 48th Annual Emmy Awards in Pasadena, Calif.
Oct. 13, 1998: Winfrey arrives with Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife, Maria Shriver, for the Los Angeles premiere of her film "Beloved." In the movie, Winfrey played the role of Sethe, a runaway slave struggling to carve out an existence with her children in rural Ohio in 1873. The film was based on the Toni Morrison book of the same name.
April 17, 2000: Winfrey and Rosie O'Donnell pose for photographers at the launch party for O, The Oprah Magazine in New York City.
May 5, 2001: Winfrey smiles as she performs with poet and author Maya Angelou in a one-on-one dialogue at the Simmons Graduate School of Management Leadership Conference in Boston.
Sept. 22, 2002: Winfrey arrives at the 54th annual Emmy Awards in Los Angeles.
Dec. 6, 2002: Winfrey with former South African President Nelson Mandela during the Agenda for Earth Turning Ceremony for The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa in Henley on Klip, south of Johannesburg
March 1, 2004: Actress Nicole Kidman jokes with Winfrey as they leave the Vanity Fair Oscar party at Morton's restaurant in West Hollywood, Calif.
Sept. 30, 2004: Winfrey poses for photographers during the United Nations Association of the U.S. Global Leadership Awards Dinner in New York City.
Dec. 11, 2004: Winfrey and actor Tom Cruise officiate the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo, Norway.
Feb. 27, 2005: Actress Julia Roberts and Winfrey share a laugh at the Governor's Ball after the 77th annual Academy Awards in Hollywood.
May 23, 2005: While appearing on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," actor Tom Cruise infamously jumps on Winfrey's couch while declaring his love for actress Katie Holmes.
July 13, 2005: Winfrey walks onstage to present the Arthur Ashe award at the 13th annual ESPY Awards at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood.
Dec. 1, 2005: Winfrey yells as she takes a curtain call with the cast of her Broadway musical "The Color Purple" in New York City.
Feb. 6, 2006: Winfrey looks at the body of Coretta Scott King at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church during a public viewing in Atlanta.
June 11, 2006: Winfrey appears onstage during the 60th annual Tony Awards in New York City.
Jan. 2, 2007: Winfrey is joined by some of the first 152 students of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls during the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the opening of the school in Meyerton, outside Johannesburg, South Africa.
Jun. 4, 2007: Winfrey arrives to attend the 2007 CFDA Fashion Awards in New York City.
Dec. 8, 2007: Winfrey watches as Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Barack Obama addresses a campaign rally in Des Moines, Iowa.
Feb. 3, 2008: Michelle Obama, Caroline Kennedy, Maria Shriver and Winfrey stand together after they each spoke during a rally for Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Barack Obama at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles.
Sept. 21, 2008: Winfrey takes the stage to introduce the hosts of the 60th annual Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles.
Dec. 5, 2008: Winfrey poses as she arrives for a breakfast honoring women in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Sept. 13, 2009: Winfrey and Tyler Perry arrive at the "Precious" film screening during the 34th Toronto International Film Festival.
Dec. 11, 2009: The Disney animated musical "The Princess and the Frog" opens, which features Oprah Winfrey as the voice of Eudora -- the mother of the film's princess, Tiana (Anika Noni Rose).
Dec. 9, 2010: Winfrey poses with two Aboriginal children on a visit to outback Australian icon Uluru. She was in Australia to film two episodes of her talk show at the Sydney Opera House.
Jan. 6, 2011: Winfrey is interviewed at the OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network launch cocktail reception for the Television Critics Association winter press tour in Pasadena, Calif.
Feb. 28, 2011: Winfrey stands on stage during the 83rd Academy Awards in Hollywood.
May 17, 2011: Winfrey gestures during the taping of "Oprah's Surprise Spectacular" in Chicago.
May 17, 2011: Winfrey and Madonna embrace during the taping of "Oprah's Surprise Spectacular" in a packed Chicago arena, ending her long-running talk show.
Jan. 19, 2012: Winfrey poses for pictures in front of the historic Taj Mahal during her visit to the northern Indian city of Agra.
Jan. 17, 2013: In an interview with Winfrey, Lance Armstrong admitted that he won all seven of his record Tour de France championships with the help of performance-enhancing drugs.
Aug. 16, 2013: Winfrey appears with Forest Whitaker in a scene from the movie "Lee Daniels' The Butler." The role, Winfrey's first major movie role since 1998's "Beloved," earned her nominations for several awards, including a BAFTA and a Screen Actors Guild Award.
Nov. 20, 2013: President Barack Obama presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Winfrey at a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C.
Dec. 15, 2013: Winfrey sits next to British entrepreneur Richard Branson at the funeral ceremony for former South African President Nelson Mandela in Qunu, South Africa.
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