Readers at About.com voted entertainment mogul Oprah Winfrey as the entrepreneur they most admire in a recently conducted poll, beating the likes of billionaires Bill Gates and Richard Branson.
Oprah, who was born in a small town in Mississippi in 1954, started working in entertainment with a job at the WVOL radio station. Two years later, she became the youngest news anchor at WTFV-TV, as well as the first African-American to hold that position. Oprah later began hosting talk shows, and moved to Chicago in 1984 to become the host of ?AM Chicago.? It surpassed ?Donahue? as the top-ranking local talk show in a month, and then was renamed ?The Oprah Winfrey Show.?
The popularity of Oprah?s talk show boosted it to nationwide syndication, and it maintained the top position for 18 years. Holding the attention of 30 million viewers each week, ?The Oprah Winfrey Show? has won numerous Emmys and is seen in 111 countries.
Oprah founded her Harpo Studios production company in 1988. Harpo, named after Winfrey?s first name spelled backward, employs about 250 people in the areas of TV, film, online media and magazine publishing. Oprah herself starred in ?The Color Purple,? a 1985 movie directed by Stephen Spielberg, delivering a performance that earned her nominations for the Golden Globe and Emmy awards.
The entertainment entrepreneur expanded her empire by launching the monthly ?O, the Oprah Magazine? in 2000 with Hearst Magazines. The magazine?s circulation now tops two million readers, surpassing ?Vogue? and ?Martha Stewart Living.?
While Oprah spends so much time in public in front of the camera, she prefers to keep her personal life as private as possible. Her employees are forbidden from discussing or writing about her private life, including her long-time companion, Stedman Graham.
As the world?s first African-American female billionaire, Oprah remains dedicated to her philanthropic campaigns and inspiring other people to live a great life and to make a difference in other people?s lives.
Read more at About.com.