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However, the East Asian may, given the imprecision of genetic testing, actually be Native American markers.After Winfrey's birth, her mother traveled north and Winfrey spent her first six years living in rural poverty with her maternal grandmother, Hattie Mae (Presley) Lee (April 15, 1900 – February 27, 1963), who was so poor that Winfrey often wore dresses made of potato sacks, for which the local children made fun of her.Winfrey became an honors student, was voted Most Popular Girl, and joined her high school speech team at East Nashville High School, placing second in the nation in dramatic interpretation.

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Ebert predicted that she would generate 40 times as much revenue as his television show, At the Movies.

Winfrey's syndicated show brought in double Donahue's national audience, displacing Donahue as the number-one daytime talk show in America.

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.

At age six, Winfrey moved to an inner-city neighborhood in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with her mother, Vernita Lee, who was less supportive and encouraging than her grandmother had been, largely as a result of the long hours she worked as a maid.

Winfrey has stated she was molested by her cousin, uncle, and a family friend, starting when she was nine years old, something she first announced to her viewers on a 1986 episode of her TV show regarding sexual abuse.In a field dominated by white males, she is a black female of ample bulk.As interviewers go, she is no match for, say, Phil Donahue ...Her frustrated mother once again sent her to live with Vernon in Nashville, Tennessee, although this time she did not take her back.Vernon was strict but encouraging, and made her education a priority.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.

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