Oprah Winfrey, a well known American television host, actress, producer, and philanthropist was born on January 29, 1954. Her self-titled talk show earned the highest ratings among the programs of such kind. Her childhood passed in dire poverty and many adversities, being abused at the age of nine. But, Winfrey’s successful journey in the media industry turned her into the richest African American of the 20th century.

Here is a timeline that tracks Oprah’s journey to stardom:

1973 -- At age 19, Winfrey starts working as a co-anchor for local evening news in a radio in Tennessee.

1983 -- Relocates to Chicago and begins hosting AM Chicago, a half-hour morning talk show on WLS-TV. The show which was first aired on January 2, 1984, becomes the highest rated talk show in Chicago within in a short period, surpassing the popular television talk show the Phil Donahue Show.

1985 -- Winfrey appears as a co-star in Steven Spielberg's The Color Purple. Her performance as a distressed wife in the film wins nomination for Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress next year.

1985 -- Signs a syndication deal with King World Productions to host At the Movies, a movie review television program. The program - which was later renamed The Oprah Winfrey Show - expands to full hour and is broadcast nationally from September 8, 1986. After Winfrey’s syndication, the show becomes the top day-time talk show in America attracting twice the number of audience of Donahue. Her final show is scheduled to air in September 2011.

1986 -- Winfrey starts her own multimedia production company Harpo Productions, Inc.

1989 -- Winfrey produces and co-stars in the drama mini-series The Women of Brewster Place and Brewster Place.

1993 -- A rare prime-time interview with Michael Jackson hosted by Winfrey becomes the fourth most watched program in the history of American television. It was also the most watched interview ever attracting 36.5 million audiences.

Oct. 1998 -- Winfrey produces and stars in a film titled Beloved. The film was based on the Pulitzer Prize winning novel Beloved by Toni Morrison. However, the film did not do well and lost around $30 million.

1998 -- Winfrey becomes the first woman and first African-American to top the list of 101 most powerful people in the entertainment industry released by Entertainment Weekly.

2002 -- Winfrey’s ‘O’, The Oprah Magazine is named the most successful start-up ever in the publishing industry by Fortune.

Dec. 1, 2005: Winfrey appears on David Letterman’s late-night talk show on CBS, to promote her own production the Broadway musical The Color Purple. Joining the host for the first time in 16 years, Winfrey’s appearance helps Letterman attract audience of 13.45 million, the highest in 11 years.

2008 -- Winfrey, for the first time, publicly endorses the presidential candidate Barack Obama in the 2008 elections.

Sept. 2008: A report from Matt Drudge of the Drudge Report alleges that Winfrey rejected to host a show with Sarah Palin citing her support to Obama. However, she does a show with Sarah Palin on November 18, 2009.

2010 -- For the sixth consecutive year since 2006, Winfrey is named as one of the most influential people by Time magazine. She is also named the world’s most powerful celebrity by Forbes in 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2010.