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WINFREY, OPRAH

Birth Name: Orpah Gail Winfrey, later changed to Oprah Gail Winfrey
Born: January 29, 1954
Location: Kosciusko, Mississippi
Height: 5'6"
Awards: multiple Emmy awards, Bob Hope Humanitarian Award
Status: long term relationship with Stedman Graham
Children: none

Oprah is the host of The Oprah Winfrey Show.  She is the highest rated talk show in history. Her net worth is over $1.5 billion, making her the richest African American of the 20th century. And According to Wikipedia, the most philanthropic African American of all time, and the world's only Black billionaire for three straight years.  She is also, according to several assessments, the most influential woman in the world.

She was originally named Orpah Gail Winfrey, after one of the people in the Bible's Book of Ruth. Winfrey has said that because of problems spelling or pronouncing Orpah, the "r" and the "p" were reversed.  Her mother, Vernita Lee, was a housemaid, and her father, Vernon Winfrey, was a coal miner and later worked as a barber before becoming a city councilman. Winfrey's father was in the Armed Forces when she was born. After her birth, Winfrey's mother travelled north and Winfrey spent her first six years living in rural poverty with her Grandma Hattie Mae. Winfrey's grandmother taught her to read before the age of three and took her to the local church, where she was nicknamed "The Preacher" for her ability to recite Bible verses.  At age six, Winfrey moved to an inner city ghetto in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with her mother, who was less supportive and encouraging than her grandmother. Winfrey has stated that she was molested by her cousin, uncle, and a family friend, starting when she was 9, according to Wikipedia.  As revealed on a 2004 episode of her television show, Oprah had a half-brother who was gay and had died of AIDS. Oprah skipped two grades and by the time she was 13, she got a scholarship to Nicolet High School. She was very popular but poor so she ended up running the streets and running away from home. At 14, she became pregnant but lost the baby after birth. So after that she was was sent to live with her father in Tennessee for a more strict environment. He encouraged her to get an education and she became and honors student, joined the speech team, and was voted "most popular girl" in the school.  She won an oratory contest, which secured her a full scholarship to Tennessee State University, a historically black institution, where she studied communication. At age 18, Winfrey won the Miss Black Tennessee beauty pageant. While she was in college, she worked at a local radio station, and that's when her career began.

Working in local media, she was both the youngest news anchor and the first black female news anchor at Nashville's WLAC-TV. She moved to Baltimore's WJZ-TV in 1976 to co-anchor the six o'clock news. She was then recruited to join Richard Sher as co-host of WJZ's local talk show People Are Talking, which premiered on August 14, 1978. She also hosted the local version of Dialing for Dollars there as well.  In 1983, Winfrey relocated to Chicago to host WLS-TV's low-rated half-hour morning talk-show, AM Chicago. Within months, Oprah took over and the rating skyrocketed.  Soon after they renamed the show after her, expanded the time to an hour, and expanded the broadcast nationally.  In the mid-1990s Winfrey adopted a less tabloid-orientated format, doing shows about heart disease in women, geopolitics with Lisa Ling, spirituality and meditation, and gift-giving and home decorating shows. She often interviews celebrities on issues that directly involve them in some way, such as cancer, charity work, or substance abuse.
In addition, she interviews ordinary people who have done extraordinary things or been involved in important current issues.  In 1993 Winfrey hosted a rare prime-time interview with Michael Jackson which became the fourth most watched event in American television history as well as the most watched interview ever, with an audience of one hundred million. Winfrey recently made a deal to extend her show until the 2010 – 2011 season, by which time it will have been on the air for twenty-five years. She plans to host 140 episodes per season, until her final season, when it will return to its current number, 130.  As well as hosting and appearing on television shows and acting in moves, Winfrey co-founded the women's cable television network Oxygen. She is also the president of Harpo Productions (Oprah spelled backwards).  Winfrey publishes two magazines: O, The Oprah Magazine and O at Home and has co-authored five books.  Oprah.com is a website created by Winfrey's company to provide resources and interactive content relating to her shows, magazines, book club, and public charity. Through Oprah.com Winfrey raised over three million dollars for Katrina victims and helped to capture four accused child predators. Oprah.com averages more than 100 million page views and more than three million users per month.  Winfrey signed a $55 million, three-year contract with XM Satellite Radio to establish a new radio channel. The channel is called Oprah & Friends and features popular contributors to The Oprah Winfrey Show and O, The Oprah Magazine.

Winfrey and her partner Stedman Graham have been together for over 20 years. Sophie and Soloman are her two Cocker Spaniels. Winfrey believes that the reason she never had children was because her students at South Africa’s Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for girls were meant to be her daughters.

In 1998, Winfrey began Oprah's Angel Network, a charity aimed at encouraging people around the world to make a difference in the lives of underprivileged others. Accordingly, Oprah's Angel Network supports charitable projects and provides grants to nonprofit organizations around the world that share this vision. To date, Oprah's Angel Network has raised more than $51,000,000. Winfrey personally covers all administrative costs associated with the charity, so 100% of all funds raised go to charity programs.  Her philanthropy has included a $10 million donation to Hurricane Katrina relief.  Winfrey also put 100 black men through college with $7 million in scholarships.  Winfrey was the recipient of the first Bob Hope Humanitarian Award at the 2002 Emmy Awards for services to television and film. She also invested $40 million and much of her time establishing the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls near Johannesburg in South Africa.

Filmography

Television
1997 Ellen (Therapist Episode, "The Puppy Episode")
1997 Before Women Had Wings  (also producer)
1993 There Are No Children Here
1992 The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (Herself Episode, "A Night at the Oprah")
1992 Lincoln Narrator (documentary)
1990 – 1991 Brewster Place
1989 The Women of Brewster Place (also executive producer)
1988 Pee-wee's Playhouse Christmas Special (guest star) 
1986 – present The Oprah Winfrey Show (Presenter)

Movies
1985 The Color Purple
1986 Native Son
1987 Throw Momma from the Train  (cameo)
1990 Listen Up: The Lives of Quincy Jones  (documentary)
1998 Beloved
2003 Unchained Memories: Readings from the Slave Narratives (documentary)
2004 Brothers of the Borderland (short subject) 
2005 Emmanuel's Gift  (documentary) 
2006 Charlotte's Web  (voice only) 
2007 Bee Movie

Books
Make the Connection : Ten Steps to a Better Body and a Better Life, by Bob Greene and Opra
h Winfrey, 1999; ISBN 0-7868-8298-0.
Journey to Beloved, by Oprah Winfrey and Ken Regan, 1998; 0786864583.
The Uncommon Wisdom of Oprah Winfrey : A Portrait in Her Own Words, by Bill Adler (ed) and Oprah Winfrey, 1997; ISBN 1-55972-419-6.
A Journal of Daily Renewal : The Companion to Make the Connection, by Bob Greene and Oprah Winfrey, 1996; ISBN 0-7868-8215-8.
In The Kitchen With Rosie: Oprah's Favorite Recipes, by Rosie Daley and Oprah Winfrey, 1994; ISBN 0-679-43404-6.
 

WITHERSPOON, REESE

Birth Name: Laura Jeanne Reese Witherspoon
Born: March 22, 1976
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
Height: 5'2"
Awards: Numerous awards including an Academy Award and a Golden Globe, and many nominations Status: Separated from Ryan Phillipe
Children: Ava Elizabeth and Deacon Reese

Reese Witherspoon was born to John Witherspoon, a surgeon for the military, and Betty Reese, a nurse and college professor.  She is a direct descendant of Scottish-born John Witherspoon, a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence and sixth president of Princeton University, and also a minister.

After graduating from the prestigious private all-girls' Harpeth Hall School in Nashville, she attended Stanford University as a literature major. After completing a year of her studies, she left Stanford to pursue her acting career.

Witherspoon began her career in local bikini shoots. Her first role was in a made for tv movie, Wildflowers, and then she landed a lead role in The Man in the Moon. Since then she has been in numerous movies and eventually became one of Hollywood's top paid actresses.  Recently, Witherspoon has been featured as one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People. Even though she appeared in many films, she has appeared nude only once, in the 1998 thriller Twilight.

In conjunction with acting, she also owns a production company called Type A Productions. She met Ryan Phillipe on her 21st birthday, married about a year later, and had two children together, daughter Ava Elizabeth and son Deacon Reese. Reese is known for being a very hands on mother and never employed a full time nanny. The couple seperated after seven years of marriage and Reese filed for divorce in November 2006 because of irreconcilable differences. She petitioned joint legal custody but sole physical custody of their two children but with visitation for Ryan.

Filmography
1991 The Man in the Moon
1993 Jack the Bear
1993 A Far Off Place
1995 S.F.W.
1996 Freeway
1996 Fear
1998 Pleasantville
1998 Overnight Delivery
1998 Twilight
1999 Election
1999 Cruel Intentions
1999 Best Laid Plans
2000 American Psycho 
2000 Little Nicky
2001 The Trumpet of the Swan Serena (voice) 
2001 Legally Blonde
2002 Sweet Home Alabama
2002 The Importance of Being Earnest
2003 Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde
2004 Vanity Fair
2005 Walk the Line (Academy Award for Best Actress)
2005 Just Like Heaven
2007 Rendition  
2007 Penelope

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