Mental Floss

The Quick 10: Happy Birthday, Oprah!

Stacy Conradt
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Yes "“ the world's most powerful woman (according to some reports, anyway) is celebrating the big 5-6 today. Even if you're not a big fan, you have to admit, the woman's done pretty well herself. Oprah hasn't kept too many secrets about herself over the years, so I'm avoiding the big shockers that she has revealed on air "“ the child she had at 14, the sex abuse she suffered at the hands of relatives. These are just a few fun facts about O.

oprah and ebert
oprah and ebert /

2. You've probably heard the story that Oprah's name was supposed to be "Orpah" after a character in the Book of Ruth, but it was spelled wrong on her birth certificate, and so she became Oprah. Well, that's not entirely true. According to Oprah herself, her birth certificate really does say "Orpah," but no one could pronounce it. Somehow the "R" and the "P" always got switched, and eventually "Oprah" was just easier.

3. Even Oprah's theme song boasts a rich history. Musical heavyweights who have composed lyrics or music for her opening tune include Paul Simon, Quincy Jones and Patti LaBelle. In 1999, Oprah took voice lessons so she could sing her own theme song, "Run On." She made a music video for the song as well.

4. Only one author has ever turned down the opportunity for his book to be featured as one of Oprah's Book Club books "“ Jonathan Franzen. Oprah chose Franzen's novel The Corrections to be featured in 2001, and initially he accepted. Then he decided that having Oprah's logo on his cover might alienate him from a male audience and rather insulted the intelligence of the people who read the books featured in her club by saying, "It's a hard book for that audience." Ouch.

pageant
pageant /

6. But not all critically-acclaimed authors shun the power of Oprah: in 2007, she was granted the first-ever onscreen interview with the notoriously private Cormac McCarthy when she chose The Road as one of her Book Club books.

7. Oprah's idea of heaven? "A great big baked potato and someone to share it with."

8. When Oprah opened her own studio, she was only the third woman in history to do so. The two before were Mary Pickford and Lucille Ball, so it had been quite a while since a woman had the pull and capital to do so.

regiment
regiment /

10. The first-ever "The Oprah Winfrey Show" was called "How to Marry the Man or Woman of Your Choice." Ironic, considering the fact that she says she and longtime boyfriend Stedman Graham will never marry, despite dating since 1986. Although they were once engaged, they later decided that they would rather have a "spiritual union" and that a traditional marriage would never work with the craziness of their lives.

Will you be devastated when Oprah goes off the air next year? Or will you not even notice? I'm in the latter category "“ although I'm very impressed with Miss O as a businesswoman and a person, I've never really gotten into her show.

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