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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.Their much-publicized contest was the subject of enormous scrutiny.TIME magazine wrote: Few people would have bet on Oprah Winfrey's swift rise to host of the most popular talk show on TV.Winfrey's often emotional, extemporaneous delivery eventually led to her transfer to the daytime talk show arena, and after boosting a third-rated local Chicago talk show to first place, By the mid-1990s, Winfrey had reinvented her show with a focus on literature, self-improvement, mindfulness and spirituality.Though she was criticized for unleashing a confession culture, promoting controversial self-help ideas, Born Orpah Gail Winfrey, her first name was spelled Orpah (not Oprah) on her birth certificate after the biblical figure of that name in the Book of Ruth, but people mispronounced it regularly and "Oprah" stuck.Winfrey was then sent to live with the man she calls her father, Vernon Winfrey, a barber in Tennessee, and landed a job in radio while still in high school.By 19, she was a co-anchor for the local evening news.
When Winfrey was a child, her grandmother would hit her with a stick when she did not do chores or if she misbehaved in any way.
Winfrey was born into poverty in rural Mississippi to a teenage single mother and later raised in inner-city Milwaukee.
She has stated that she was molested during her childhood and early teens and became pregnant at 14; her son was born prematurely and died in infancy.
Winfrey's career choice in media would not have surprised her grandmother, who once said that ever since Winfrey could talk, she was on stage.
As a child, she played games interviewing her corncob doll and the crows on the fence of her family's property.
Her first job as a teenager was working at a local grocery store.