Date of Birth: January 29, 1954
You know you're powerful when you can get sued by beef producers when you discuss Mad Cow Disease on your show and talk about how beef may not be all that good for you. That's what happened to Oprah recently.
The Queen of Daytime TV is one of the most influential personalities on the tube -- not to mention also one of the richest. When Oprah talks about a book, sales soar; when Oprah's displeased about something, everyone knows about.
The native of Kosciusko, Mississippi, has had a small film career to date -- where would she find the time? -- but everyone who follows her show knows about her life. It goes likes this: A childhood spent living in poverty on her Bible-thumping grandmother's farm; a move to Milwaukee as a preteen to live with her mother under whose roof she was sexually molested several times by male relatives; giving birth to a premature baby at 14 who died shortly thereafter. Finally she ends up living with her father in Nashville, a barber and businessman who provides the discipline sorely lacking in his daughter's life and instills in her the value of education.
The Women of Brewster Place (1989)
Native Son (1986)
The Color Purple (1985)