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Oprah Winfrey’s major moments, from ‘The Color Purple’ to that Tom Cruise interview

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Famous for decades, millions of viewers may refer to Oprah Winfrey on a first-name basis alone.

With a career that includes acting, producing and magazine publishing — plus more than two decades hosting her own daytime talk show — Winfrey is no stranger to the spotlight.

The 63-year-old media mogul will be honored at the 2018 Golden Globes with the Cecile B. DeMille Award, which is handed out each year to an “individual who has made an incredible impact on the world of entertainment.”

Read on for some of Winfrey’s most memorable moments ahead of the show.

“A.M. Chicago,” 1984

Winfrey hosted her first episode of the WLS-TV program “A.M. Chicago” in 1984. The show was retitled “The Oprah Winfrey Show” in 1985.

“The Color Purple” release, 1985

Winfrey garnered an Oscar nod for her supporting role in the Steven Spielberg film “The Color Purple,” which was released in December 1985.

Her film career doesn’t stop there: She has also appeared in projects on which she was a producer, such as the 1998 film “Beloved,” the 2014 drama “Selma” and the OWN television series “Greenleaf.”

National syndication, 1986

“The Oprah Winfrey Show” entered national syndication in September 1986 with the episode “How to Marry the Man/Woman of Your Choice,” the Washington Post reported.

Winfrey’s show would spend decades reaching American homes — and more than 40 million people in the U.S. were tuning in weekly when it ended in 2011, NPR reported.

“No darker secret,” 1986

In November 1986, Winfrey said that she’d been raped as a 9-year-old girl. The talk show host became a voice for sexual abuse victims in the wake of the show.

“You see there really is no darker secret than sexual abuse,” Winfrey said on her program at the time. “I’m telling you about myself so that maybe the closet where so many sexual abuse victims and their molesters hide might swing open just a crack today and let some light in.”

In 1991, Winfrey testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee in support of a national database of convicted child abusers. The “Oprah Bill” was signed into law in 1993.

“Wagon of fat,” 1988

Winfrey, who dropped from 212 pounds to 145 pounds, brought a wagon containing 67 pounds of animal fat onto the stage in November 1988.

Winfrey later expressed regret for the so-called “wagon of fat.”

“When I look at that show, I think it was one of the biggest ego trips of my life,” Winfrey told “Entertainment Tonight” in 2011. “When I look back at that, I think ‘mistake’ in many ways.”

Michael Jackson interview, 1993

Entertainer Michael Jackson shows talk show host Oprah Winfrey around the amusement park on his estate February 10 during taping of live interview in Santa Ynez, Ca. The program was seen world-wide and gave insight into Jackson's mysterious life - PBEAHUNIYDD

Oprah Winfrey with Michael Jackson. (Reuters/Via Stringer)

Winfrey held a wide-ranging live interview with Jackson in February 1993, about six months before allegations of child molestation surfaced that August.

Jackson, who was accused of molesting a 13-year-old boy, paid a reported $20 million settlement but denied wrongdoing, and no charges were filed.

“People wonder why I always have children around,” Jackson said in the Winfrey interview. “It’s because I find the thing that I never had through them. Disneyland, amusement parks, arcade games—I adore all that stuff because when I was little, it was always work, work, work.”

Oprah’s Book Club begins, 1996

Winfrey revealed the start of Oprah’s Book Club on her show in September 1996.

“When I was growing up, books were my friends,” she said at the time. “When I didn’t have friends, I had books. And one of the greatest pleasures I have right now in life is to be reading a really good book and to know I have a really, really good book after that book to read.”

Books like Janet Finch’s “White Oleander” and Jacquelyn Mitchard’s “The Deep End of the Ocean” — the first book club selection ever — gained prominence after being featured.

James Frey’s “A Million Little Pieces” saw major sales after it was selected for Oprah’s Book Club, but the author was later confronted by Winfrey when he admitted to fabricating parts of his memoir.

“I feel duped,” she told Frey on her talk show in January 2006. “But more importantly, I feel that you betrayed millions of readers.”

“Oprah’s Favorite Things,” 1996

The first “Oprah’s Favorite Things” show took place in November 1996, the Star-Telegram reported, adding that Karen Neuburger pajamas were the first “Favorite Thing” ever.

“Aren’t they the softest things you ever had on?” a pajama-clad Winfrey asked audience members, who were also in pajamas. The talk show host would become known for her “Favorite Things” gift guide episodes.

Her show is now off the air, but the list endures: last year’s “Favorite Things” included a $35 set of English muffins.

Lifetime Achievement Award at Daytime Emmys, 1998

Already a Daytime Emmy winner, Winfrey was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Daytime Emmys in May 1998.

“I want to thank everybody who’s nurtured me, who’s stood in the gap for me,” Winfrey said in her speech, before speaking about her boyfriend Stedman Graham, whom she called “the sweetest man with the greatest integrity.”

Oxygen Network launch, 2000

Winfrey was an early investor in the female-oriented Oxygen network, and even appeared on the channel in a 12-part program about the internet, the New York Times reported.

The channel launch kicked off in February 2000 before NBC bought it in 2007.

“O, The Oprah Magazine” launch, 2000

Television personalities Oprah Winfrey (L) and Rosie O'Donnell (R) pose for photographers at the launch party for

Oprah Winfrey with Rosie O’Donnell, who holds a copy of “O, the Oprah Magazine.” (REUTERS/Brad Rickerby)

The women’s magazine “O, The Oprah Magazine” launched in April 2000.

The magazine, which typically features a photo of Winfrey by herself on the cover, continues to be published. It has covered topics like lifestyle, wellness, fashion and beauty.

Forbes list, 2003

Winfrey became the first black woman on the Forbes billionaires list, entering at No. 427 with a net worth of $1 billion, the AP reported at the time.

Forbes currently pegs Winfrey’s net worth at $2.8 billion.

“You get a car,” 2004

During the season 19 premiere of “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” 276 audience members were given Pontiac G6 cars.

“The audience had been secretly handpicked by my staff in part because each one needed a car,” Winfrey has said.

“The crowd went berserk. Just for the occasion, we brought in EMTs who were standing by in case someone’s heart started palpitating a little bit too quickly.”

Though a massive giveaway, the new vehicles were reportedly subject to taxes.

Tom Cruise on the couch, 2005

U.S. talk show host Oprah Winfrey (L) and U.S. actor Tom Cruise (R) officiate the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo December 11, 2004. They introduced the many artists paying hommage to this year's Nobel Peace Prize laureate Kenyan environmentalist Wangari Maathai. Maathai became the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize, the first Nobel given to an environmentalist, honoured for fighting poverty by trying to save the continent's shrinking forests. REUTERS/Yves Herman YH/DL - RP5DRHYKECAB

Oprah Winfrey with Tom Cruise in 2004. (REUTERS/Yves Herman YH/DL)

In a May 2005 appearance on Winfrey’s show, Cruise jumped up onto the show’s couch while talking about his then-girlfriend Katie Holmes. Cruise’s behavior on the show made headlines and was also parodied in the 2006 film “Scary Movie 4.”

Looking back on the interview, Winfrey told TV Guide, “Certainly I did not think that it would turn into the brouhaha that it did. He was in love, he was very happy about it, he was on a show, he knew me, he came to play – that was it.”

Big news, 2009

Winfrey announced during the show’s 24th season in November 2009 that the show would end with its 25th season.

“Twenty-five years feels right in my bones and it feels right in my spirit,” the media mogul said at the time. “It’s the perfect number — the exact right time.”

OWN launch, 2011

OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network launched as a joint venture between Discovery Communications and Winfrey’s production company in January 2011.

Discovery announced in December 2017 that it purchased a majority stake in the network, which features both reality shows and drama series like the Winfrey-produced “Greenleaf” and “Queen Sugar.”

Final episode airs, 2011

The last episode of “The Oprah Winfrey” show was broadcast May 25, 2011, after a blowout final season.

“I won’t say goodbye,” Winfrey told the audience during the finale. “I’ll just say… until we meet again.”

Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, 2011

Winfrey accepted the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in November 2011. The award goes to “an individual in the motion picture industry whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry,” the Oscars website says.

“I’d like to do more films, but to receive the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award means more to me than any film, any acclaim, even an Oscar, because what it says is you all get it,” she said in an acceptance speech.

Presidential Medal of Freedom, 2013

U.S. President Barack Obama presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to entertainer Oprah Winfrey at a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington, November 20, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Reed (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS ENTERTAINMENT) - GM1E9BL043Z02

President Barack Obama with Oprah Winfrey. (REUTERS/Jason Reed)

Then-President Barack Obama presented Winfrey with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in November 2013.

“Oprah’s greatest strength has always been her ability to help us discover the best in ourselves,” Obama said during the ceremony.

Weight Watchers deal, 2015

After years of struggling publicly with her weight, Winfrey bought a stake in Weight Watchers.

“I believe in the @weightwatchers program so much I decided to invest, join the Board, and partner in #wwfamily evolution,” she tweeted in October 2015.

Winfrey owns a 10-percent stake in Weight Watchers, and has appeared in ads saying she lost more than 40 pounds on the company plan while eating pasta and tacos.

Tony Award win, 2016

Winfrey was one of the producers of a revival of the Broadway musical “The Color Purple” — and nabbed a Tony for Best Revival of a Musical.

She was also one of the producers when the musical first opened on Broadway in 2005.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Oprah Winfrey’s major moments, from ‘The Color Purple’ to that Tom Cruise interview

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