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Saturday, July 7, 2007

Oprah Winfrey - "Use Your Life Award"

Born Jan 29, 1954, in Kosciusko, Oprah Winfrey was reared by her grandmom on a farm where she "began her broadcasting career" by learning to read aloud
and perform recitations at the age of 3.

From age 6 to 13, she lived in Milwaukee with her mother. After suffering
abused by a number of male relatives and friends of her mother,
she ran away and was sent to a juvenile detention home at the age
of 13, only to be denied admission because all the beds were filled.

As a last resort, she was sent to Nashville to live under her father's
strict discipline. "As strict as he was," says Oprah, "he had some concerns
about me making the best of my life, and would not accept anything less than
what he thought was my best."

Oprah Winfrey's broadcasting career began at age 17, when she was hired by
WVOL radio in Nashville, and two years later signed on with WTVF-TV in
Nashville as a reporter/anchor. She attended Tennessee State University,
where she majored in Speech Communications and Performing Arts.

In 1976, she moved to Baltimore to join WJZ-TV news as a co-anchor, and in
1978 discovered her talent for hosting talk shows when she became co-host of
WJZ-TV's "People Are Talking," while continuing to serve as anchor and news

In January 1984, she came to Chicago to host WLS-TV's "AM Chicago," a
faltering local talk show. In less than a year, she turned "AM Chicago" into
the hottest show in town. The format was soon expanded to one hour, and in
Sep 1985 it was renamed "The Oprah Winfrey Show."

In June 1988, "The Oprah Winfrey Show" received its second consecutive
Daytime Emmy Award as Outstanding Talk/Service Program, and she herself
received the International Radio and Television Society's "Broadcaster of
the Year" Award. She was the youngest person and only the fifth woman ever
to receive the honor in IRTS's 25-year history.

In 1991, motivated in part by her own memories of childhood abuse, she
initiated a campaign to establish a national database of convicted child
abusers, and testified before a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on behalf of
a National Child Protection Act.

President Clinton signed the "Oprah Bill" into law in 1993, establishing the
national database she had sought, which is now available to law enforcement
agencies and concerned parties across the country.

She is one of the partners in Oxygen Media, Inc., a cable channel and
interactive network presenting programming designed primarily for women.

In 2000, Oprah's Angel Network began presenting a $100,000 "Use Your Life
Award" to people who are using their lives to improve the lives of others.

When Forbes magazine published its list of America's billionaires for the
year 2003, it disclosed that Oprah Winfrey was the first African-American
woman to become a billionaire.

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