Oprah is 60 today. If you are not familiar with this woman, you need to evolve into the human species. For the rest of us, it's time for a very brief reminder of her journey from an impoverished child in Mississippi to a one-named billionaire who changed the way we watch, think, and live as Americans. By the time she was a teenager living in Milwaukee's inner city, Winfrey had been a victim of sexual abuse and had lost a child she had given birth to at just 14 years old She started working for a Nashville radio station in high school and landed a full scholarship to Tennessee State University. By 19, she was the youngest and first black anchor at a Nashville local news station. Then it was off Baltimore, and later, Chicago for higher-profile anchor gigs. Now we're getting somewhere:
1984: Oprah began co-hosting a struggling morning talk show called "AM Chicago" with this guy. After she joined, it became the highest-rated talk show in the area. Take a second and watch how cool she is.
1985: Oprah's body becomes a topic of scrutiny and a local news segment. Check out this heartbreaking interview with Joan Rivers, that may in part be responsible for the yo-yo body image of an otherwise brilliantly secure woman. In the interest of saving time, here's the gist: Joan: "You're a pretty girl and you're single, you must lose the weight!" Oprah: "I'm going to!"
1986: Buoyed by her fans and pal Roger Ebert (who convinced her to sign a syndication deal) she launches her own talk show. You may have heard of it.
1998: A gazillion Emmys and an Oscar later, Oprah lands herself an Emmy Lifetime Achievement Award. She gives a stellar speech. Also, cutaways to a proud Stedman always warm a heart.
2011: The end of Oprah's show is punctuated by Paul Simon's earnest vocals, naturally. Today: Although at 60, she's kind of won the media, there are still some things she's learning. If you have two more minutes (come on, you're not Oprah), check out this panel discussion with young feminists, which Oprah recently hosted, along with Gloria Steinem for OWN. There's a generation of women who've learned from the challenges and triumphs of Lady Oprah, and now, she's learning from them too. Pretty cool.