Oprah Winfrey is one of the richest people on earth and the richest African-American person in the world. From books to films Oprah’s brand is remarkable and seemingly invincible.
Oprah is a media powerhouse, television host, actress, cinema producer, renowned public speaker, revolutionary thinker, and a generous philanthropist.
Oprah is often recognized as the “Queen of All Media.” She is the first African-American woman to become a billionaire extraordinaire and her net worth surpasses an astonishing $3 billion.
Oprah is a cultural phenomenon and an icon. However, Oprah’s upbringing was far from perfect. She grew up in poverty and was a victim of frequent abuse.
Oprah overcame her traumatic childhood and began anchoring the news in Nashville, Tennessee when she was just 19, making her the youngest person ever and the first African-American woman to hold such a position.
Oprah praises her grandmother, saying that it was Hattie Mae who gave her the courage to speak in front of crowds of people, giving Oprah the ability to cope and adapt to adversity. Oprah went on to become the first woman of color to host a nationally syndicated weekday talk show, the timeless Oprah Winfrey Show. She soon became the third woman ever to own her own studio, when she founded Harpo Studios.
In January 2011, Oprah launched the Oprah Winfrey Network. Several hit TV series later, OWN has become a stellar television network. Here are the richest facts about Oprah’s legacy you may not have known.
20. Forbes Magazine Cover With Bill Gates And Warren Buffet
For its 30th anniversary Forbes magazine featured Oprah with Bill Gates and Warren Buffet. Bill is the co-founder of Microsoft. Warren is considered to be one of the most successful investors of all time.
Bill has a fortune of $80 billion while Warren has a net worth estimated around $64 billion. For their awesome riches and generosity, Oprah, Bill and Warren are deemed to be “the titans of philanthropy.”
All three world leaders apply the “5-hour Rule” in their daily living. The 5-hour-rule consists of three categories: reading, reflection and experimentation. Billionaire Mark Cuban also reads more than three hours a day. Linkedin CEO Jeff Weiner uses two hours out of his day devoted to reflection and empowerment.
19. Bought The Bombardier Global Express For $42 Million
The Bombardier Global Express is a luxury private jet. Bombardier Aerospace personally designed Oprah’s inflight paradise for an estimated $42 million. The Global Express seats multiple passengers in all leather recliners.
Complex magazine reports that the aircraft features designer fixtures for the restrooms and marble floors. The jet is powered by twin Rolls-Royce BR710 engines and can attain a maximum altitude of 51,000 feet while zooming at 682.87 miles per hour.
In addition to the $42 million down payment Oprah must upkeep both maintenance and fuel. During a commencement speech to Duke University graduates Oprah talked about the secrets and joys of being rich. Oprah said, “It’s great to have a private jet. Anyone that tells you that having your own private jet isn’t great is lying to you.”
18. Has Five Honorary Degrees
Oprah graduated from Tennessee State University and has been awarded several honorary degrees thus far throughout her incredible career. She has been awarded distinguished degrees by five different institutions of higher learning including an honorary doctorate from Harvard University. Harvard is the most endowed college in the world with over $30 billion in funds.
The media mogul was moved by the commendation as she accepted the exceptional degree with tears in her eyes. She has also confessed to having nerves before her speech in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Moreover, Oprah also has honorary degrees from Howard University and Spelman College, the prominent Duke University, and another Ivy League institution, Princeton University.
17. Interviewed Michael Jackson And Whitney Houston
Oprah has interviewed some of the richest world figures around the globe such as Sir Richard Branson, Beyoncé, Prince and others. Michael Jackson was arguably the most gifted entertainer of all time and Whitney Houston probably had the most powerful voice to ever sing America’s national anthem at the Super Bowl.
Oprah sat down with Michael for what would be the most-watched interview in television history. Michael had refused to give an interview for 14 years. The live event drew a worldwide audience of more than 90 million people. “It was the most exciting interview I had ever done,” Oprah says. When Oprah asked Michael if he was a virgin, he blushed and could not answer. Michael spoke to Oprah about, “Disneyland, amusement parks, arcade games—I adore all that stuff.”
16. Lavish Property In Hawaii
Oprah can afford it all, including her grandest dreams and desires. Her properties in Hawaii are worth several millions of dollars. Since 2002, Oprah has owned the ideal tranquil farmhouse in Kula, Hawaii. It was upgraded by a top tier New York designer named Elissa “Ellie” Cullman to showcase a contemporary American barnyard style.
Additionally, this Hawaii dream house also premiered Oprah’s collection of folk art and was featured in Oprah’s O! Magazine. Years later, this fabulous media queen bought an additional 63 acres of land off the coast of Maui’s Hamoa Beach. Oprah was once quoted as saying, “The reason I’ve been able to be so financially successful is my focus has never, ever for one minute been money.”
15. First African-American Star On Vogue Cover
Donyale Luna became the first African-American model to cover Vogue magazine, but it wasn’t until years later that a black celebrity covered the world’s premier fashion magazine. Oprah became the first African-American to break the barrier when she poised for the cover in 1998. It would become a historic cover and attracted great views.
It is alleged that fashion trendsetter Anna Wintour asked Oprah to be in her best shape for the famed photo shoot. “It was a very gentle suggestion,” Wintour recalled. “I went to Chicago to visit Oprah.” Soon after, Oprah hired a personal trainer plus a personal chef and embarked upon a tedious diet and exercise routines to look her absolute best in preparation for the Vogue photo shoot with fashion photographer Steven Meisel.
14. Has A Legislative Bill Named After Her
The queen of talk courageously recalled her experience of childhood abuse when she testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in support of the National Child Protection Act. The bill has inspired the establishment of a national database of convicted child abusers.
Before the Senate, Oprah had this to say: “I am speaking out on behalf of the children who wish to be heard, but whose cries, wishes and hopes often, I believe, fall upon deaf or inattentive ears.”
The U.S. Senate was extremely moved by Oprah’s powerful and touching words. With the help of her powerful influence, the Act was signed into law by Bill Clinton and dubbed the “Oprah Bill.”
The bill gave parents the assurance that their children were not being cared for by criminals, and established a national database of all indictments and convictions on child abuse and sex offense charges, violent crimes, arson, and more.
13. Sold Her 15,000 Square Feet Water Tower Place Condo
When the Oprah Winfrey Show was at its peak Oprah was raking in an estimated $300 million a year. Oprah resided in a 15,000-square-foot duplex on Michigan Ave in Chicago, Illinois. She bought and kept the property for more than $5 million.
As reported in Chicago Business, Oprah’s Water Tower Place residence was a five full-rooms and two half-bath duplex and is also home to the Chicago Ritz-Carlton Hotel alongside Lake Shore Drive. Oprah listed the property with brokers Baird & Warner. “Beautiful finishes and millwork, and beautiful warm fabrics,” said listing agent Pamela Sage. “It’s got phenomenal views, great lake views and city views.”
12. Has An Honorary Academy Award
While at one time best known for her award-winning talk show, Oprah has also been involved in several fabulously acclaimed films, television series, and plays. Oprah brought to life one of the most infamous characters recognized in film. Her name– Sophia. She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for that performance. The movie we are referring to was a 1985 drama directed by Steven Spielberg titled The Color Purple– it was nominated for eleven Oscars and won none.
Therefore, it was known as one of the biggest snubs in the Academy’s history. This perceived snubbing ignited controversy because many critics considered it the best picture that year, including the wonderful Roger Ebert. Years later, Oprah received the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Science’s Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for her amazing philanthropic efforts. “I never imagined receiving an Oscar, especially for doing what is part of my calling, part of my being,” Oprah said.
11. Founded The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy In South Africa
The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls opened in Johannesburg, South Africa. It was founded with $40 million of Oprah’s wealth. The campus has 20 buildings with more than 22 acres of land.
“When I first started making a lot of money, I really became frustrated with the fact that all I did was write check after check to this or that charity without really feeling like it was a part of me,” Oprah recalls. The school has high thread-count sheets for the dormitory beds, a beauty salon, two theaters and a yoga classroom.
“At a certain point, you want to feel that connection,” Oprah added. Nelson Mandela, Tina Turner, Sydney Poitier, Spike Lee and Oprah herself attended a lavish ceremony celebrating the opening of the innovative school. “This is the proudest day of my life,” said Oprah when cutting the bow and ribbon.
10. Lavish Vacation Home In Antigua
It seems as though Oprah has more than one major dream getaway. A queen loves time to herself and occasionally with friends. This media queen owns a lavish vacation home on the shores of Antigua.
Oprah’s mansion offers a cool view of dazzling blue crystal clear water from the Caribbean Sea and a paradise of enormous, high, island trees. Oprah also owns a penthouse in Manhattan worth millions. She was quoted saying, “The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams.”
9. Donates Over $500 Million To Education
Education advocacy is a core element of Oprah’s philosophy and vision for her life. According to oprah.com, Oprah made a partnership with Morehouse College to develop the Oprah Scholars program, which has helped pay for the education of 400 African-American men as they pursue careers in business, law, medicine, and a plethora of other fields.
Since then, the Morehouse College graduates have pledged more than $500,000 of their own money to educate future college students. No shocker here but, Oprah has a long-standing reputation for being benevolent and giving to education and multiple other causes.
Oprah has also donated millions of dollars to various charities and organizations, with most of her money going to her three foundations: The Angel Network, The Oprah Winfrey Foundation, and The Oprah Winfrey Operating Foundation. One hundred percent of any donation given to The Angel Network goes directly towards funding a project. One of the projects was rebuilding the Gulf Coast.
8. Bought A $52 Million Estate In Montecito
Oprah bought a rare and exclusive 42-acre magnificent abode in Montecito, California, which is worth millions, and is near Santa Barbara, home to many celebrities such as Katy Perry.
Oprah paid a reported $52 million for her Montecito estate, which she named “The Promised Land.” Her personal gardener spent five years breeding an entirely new rose hybrid for the estate’s expansive gardens. The property is now covered with rosebushes. The property also has an anxiety relieving teahouse.
Montecito itself is home to some of the highest-priced wines coming out of the vineyards. Due to the ocean breeze and the climate’s highland air it attracts the richest people from around the globe. Oprah’s estate has multiple bedrooms, 14 bathrooms, 10 fireplaces, a gourmet kitchen, two theatres, a wine cellar, a barn, ponds plus orchards, a tennis court, a man-made lake stocked with aquatic animals, an outdoor entertainment area, and a sexy guesthouse with a pool. Sheesh.
7. Left Her Dogs $30 Million In Her Will
Just like her pal Ellen DeGeneres, Oprah is a dog lover and has expressed her empathy for animals on numerous televised occasions. She reportedly has left her pets $30 million in her will.
For Christmas, Oprah’s beau, Stedman Graham, gave Oprah a puppy. Oprah says Solomon was “one of a kind.” Solomon the loving Cocker spaniel traveled the map with Oprah. Oprah said that her other beloved Cocker spaniel, Sophie, was “one of the reasons for me to be a kinder, gentler person.” Oprah and Stedman decided to expand their canine family when they adopted three golden retriever puppies.
Oprah has always been an awesome advocate for pet adoption. In 2009, she went to PAWS Chicago, a no-kill animal shelter, where she met her cherished pet named Sadie. On her birthday, Oprah got a pair of doggie sisters named Sunny and Lauren. Like Sadie, Oprah adopted these Cocker spaniels through PAWS Chicago.
6. Won the Lifetime Achievement Emmy
Oprah wins. After being awarded the Lifetime Achievement award at the Daytime Emmy Awards, Oprah withdrew herself and her show from consideration for future Emmy’s and said “After you’ve achieved it for a lifetime what else is there?”
Oprah went on to receive the International Radio and Television Society’s “Broadcaster of the Year” Award. She was the youngest person ever to receive the honor. In total, Oprah has 18 Emmy Awards. Even after removing her name from consideration The Oprah Winfrey Show continued to garner nominations and awards. Superb.
5. Turns Books Into Gold
Oprah has endorsed several books. She loves reading so much that she used to give books away for free to any stranger she met walking downtown in Chicago. Since then she has established Oprah’s Book Club.
Due to the book club’s widespread popularity, many indie covers have become significantly more popular and national bestsellers, significantly increasing the branding of those books; this occurrence is widely known as the Oprah effect, transforming a book into gold.
Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 is a joint project between OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network and O: The Oprah Winfrey Magazine, and will incorporate the use of various social media platforms and e-readers. Not only does Oprah pen books herself, with several of her own commercially successful books, but Oprah has built a highly credible book club worth millions.
4. Gave A New Car To Each Audience Member On Her Show
The Oprah Winfrey Show had many unforgettable moments:
Perhaps the #1 moment was when Jack Reacher star Tom Cruise jumped on Oprah’s couch in celebration of his then engagement to actress Katie Holmes. Or perhaps it was when Oprah bought everyone in her audience a new car.
It was one of the most incredible and controversial tapings of the Oprah Show. Some audience members were unable to pay the taxes on the cars so Oprah and company suggested they sell the cars for cash. Cool. I like how Oprah thinks. The last episode of the Oprah Show featured stars such as Will and Jada, Tom Cruise, Michael Jordan and more. As a gift the mayor of Chicago honored Oprah with her own street named “Oprah Winfrey Way.”
3. Awarded The Presidential Medal Of Freedom
In 2013, Oprah was awarded the highest honor any American civilian can be given. In the ’60s president John F. Kennedy had reintroduced the medal of freedom as an honor for distinguished civilian service in peacetime. President Obama awarded Oprah the presidential medal of freedom along with feminism trailblazer Gloria Steinem and Chicago Cubs legend Ernie Banks.
Oprah had this to say about her historic accomplishment: “the more you celebrate your life the more there is in life to celebrate. Surround yourself only with people who take you higher. Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.”
2. Launched The Careers Of More Than Five Millionaires
Oprah has launched the careers of more than five millionaires.
She also brought to prominence interior designer and television personality Nate Berkus, spiritual guidance teacher Iyanla Vanzant, magazine editor and morning news anchor Gayle King, professional fitness trainer Bob Greene and of course the infamous world-class heart surgeon Dr. Oz.
Oprah says that she begins several years beforehand to groom people for the spotlight and provide them with a rich foundation. Oprah once said, “Turn your wounds into wisdom. You can have it all, just not all at once.”
1. Named Most Influential Woman In The World
Oprah is often referred to by many, such as Time Magazine, Forbes and others, as the most influential woman in the world. “I come as one, but I stand as 10,000,” says Oprah. Her billionaire empire is wonderful, rare, and inspiring beyond imagination. So what drives Oprah to be one of the richest?
Oprah thinks that: “Every time you state what you want or believe, you’re the first to hear it. It’s a message to both you and others about what you think is possible. Don’t put a ceiling on yourself. The key to realizing a dream is to focus not on success but on significance and then even the small steps and little victories along your path will take on greater meaning… Create the highest, grandest vision possible for your life, because you become what you believe.”