In honor of the media mogul’s 66th birthday let’s take a look at 6 of her most memorable moments!
6. Racial Reactions
Oprah would travel to Forsyth County to find out why no black people had lived there in 75 years. She called a town hall meeting “to hear from the citizens themselves,” where she meets Dennis… “I’m afraid of them coming to Forsyth County,” he admitted, explaining that he felt his Atlanta neighborhood had turned into a “rat-infested slum” after the first African-Americans were bused to the local high school. He also used the N-word repeatedly, going so far as to attempt to explain the difference between the epithet and a black person. For the 20th Anniversary Follow-Up show in 06, Oprah brings Dennis back on air to revisit the interview and give him explain. Insisting that “I’ve never been a racist,” adding that he had received threats after the original segment and had since removed the N-word from his vocabulary. “I spoke from what I had lived,” he added. “And that’s all anybody can do.”
5. 2 Goats 1 Show
Of course Oprah conducted one of most viewed interviews in television history.
On Feb. 10, 1993 Michael Jackson hosted her at his Neverland Ranch for the singer’s first televised interview in 14 years. This interview had it all; a tour of Neverland, teaching Oprah to moonwalk, along with a display of her own talent and accomplishment as an interviewer. She would get Michael to speak on everything from plastic surgery to the singers virginity which is the only one he didn’t answer. “There was this sort of mystery about him,” Oprah later said. “At the same time he’s holding his crotch and wants to rock with us all night, we don’t know who he’s rocking with. That’s what you really want to know.” The live interview pulled 90 million viewers worldwide.
4. Oprah The Mogul
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Personally one of my favourite qualities of Oprah is her unconventional showboating style. Start with the name of her production company; Harpo… it didn’t take my little prepubescent mind long to figure out who was behind or owned that. Speaking of owning things…her next great flex job is also OWNed by her as well; The Oprah Winfrey Network arrived in 2011 with over a million tuning in. Being the queen of daytime talk clearly pays. Back in 95, Oprah replaced Bill Cosby as the only black American on Forbes’ list of the country’s 400 richest people, with an estimated net worth of $340 million. In 2011, she clocked in at No. 124, with an estimated net worth of $2.7 billion…
3. Op & El
When Ellen DeGeneres came out of the closet in 1997, of course she turned to Oprah — in real life and on her own hit show.
Ellen would follow up telling the world “Yep, I’m gay” in a Time Magazine interview with an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show to publicly discuss her personal life for the first time. Soon after, DeGeneres’ character on “Ellen” became the first gay lead character on prime time when she came out to a therapist on the show, who would be played by none other than Oprah! This was the start of one of the more enjoyable famous friendships the world has to offer as the two still like to get together, reminisce, and trade stories of wealth woes specific to pretty much only them.
2. Cruise Control
Now this is quite possibly the funniest thing I have ever seen on television…
Tom Cruise going absolutely bananas over Katie Holmes and I don’t think anyone wasn’t wondering what this man was on. Tom seemed to be overcome with excitement throughout the ENTIRE interview explaining “I’m in love! I’m in love! I can’t be cool. I can’t be laid-back.” Then, in a legendary level decision that’s likely to haunt him (and humor me) for the rest of our lives, he jumped onto Oprah’s couch not once, but two times, so we knew it was real. It honestly looked like the Scientology star might even jump on Oprah herself due to the sheer amount of excitement and love coursing through his veins . Viewers critique that the Cruise’s uncontrollable enthusiasm seems like a poorly planned publicity stunt. Oprah just seemed just as perplexed as us at home, joking “I don’t know what happened to you, boy!”
1. YOU GET A CAR! YOU GET A CAR! EVERYONE GETS A CAR!
What a legend.
On Sept. 14, 2004, Oprah stunned her studio audience by giving every single person in attendance a brand-new Pontiac G6 sedan worth nearly $30,000. After instructing them to look under their chairs for a gift box, Oprah lied to their faces saying, “Inside one of these boxes is a key.” all 276 audience members got keys. To say a major lituation ensued would be an major understatement.
“I wanted it to be bigger than Santa Claus and not to be an act of a fairy godmother, because that’s not who I am,” she would tell USA Today. “Who I am is a person who understands what it means to give back.” Unbeknownst to most, she didn’t even have to peel the $7 million, shout out General Motors. As for the audience members, they each had to fork over $7,000 in taxes or forfeit the gift…
Honorable mention to The Color Purple, it wasn’t easy choosing 6.
Happy 66th to a true living legend!