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Read the passage carefully. Then choose the correct answer.
 
The person I admire most is Oprah Winfrey, the famous talk show host and actress. There is just no end to her talents, resilience and generosity.

Since her television career began back in 1973, she has won 34 Emmy Awards, and her show has topped talk-show ratings for 14 consecutive seasons. The emotionally-charged, self-help approach of her program appeals to millions, and Winfrey regularly flattens her competitors. An accomplished actress, she won an Academy Award nomination for her role in 'The Color Purple'. Winfrey was recognized by Time Magazine in 1998, when it named her one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th Century. On May 25th 1998, she received 'A Lifetime Achievement Award' at the Emmy Awards Presentation.

Her success has not just been on screen. She is also a formidable businesswoman with her own production company, Harpo Productions. The company creates feature films, prime time TV specials and home videos. When she expanded into publishing, millions of fans flocked to buy her magazine, simply called 'O'.

But it is through her talk show that her influence has been greatest. When Winfrey talks, her viewers - an estimated 14 million daily in the U.S. and millions more in 132 other countries - listen. If she recommends a novel through her book club, it is pretty much guaranteed to top the best-seller lists, and she makes self-help gurus into household names.

Apart from that, she is also known for her generosity towards the poor and needy. When she established the 'world's largest piggy bank', people all over the country contributed spare change to raise more than $1 million to send disadvantaged kids to college. The amount raised was matched by Oprah herself. Her work also includes Oprah's Angel Network, which she launched in 1997. This is a campaign to encourage people to help those in need. Winfrey's work has extended to social change, and in 1991, she was instrumental in the National Child Protection Act. She testified before the U.S. senate judiciary committee to establish a national database of convicted child abusers. Two years later, former President Bill Clinton signed the national 'Oprah Bill' into law. Recently, she won the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award for her outstanding contributions.

Born in 1954 to unwed parents, Winfrey was raised by her grandmother on a farm in Kosciusko, Mississippi. By the age of three, she was reading the Bible and reciting it in church. A lonely child, she found solace in books. When a seventh-grade teacher noticed the young girl reading during lunch, he got her a scholarship to a better school. Winfrey's talent for public performance and spontaneity in answering questions helped her win beauty contests and provided her with the first taste of public attention and heady success.

Crowned Miss Fire Prevention in Nashville at 17, Winfrey visited a local radio station where she was invited to read for fun and was hired to read news on the air. Two years later, while a sophomore at Tennessee State University, she was hired as Nashville's first female and first black TV news anchor. After graduation, she took an anchor position in Baltimore, but lacked the detachment to be a reporter. She cried when a story was sad, laughed when she misread a word. Then, instead of firing her, they gave her a morning talk show. She had finally found her medium.

By 1984, Winfrey was hosting WLS-TV's morning talk show in Chicago and after just one month, it was topping the ratings. Two years later, the Oprah Winfrey Show was born, with its host also producing the program. It went on to become the highest-rated talk show in TV history, and 26 million viewers tune in each week in the U.S. to watch it.

She continues to exhort viewers to improve their lives and the world. She makes people care because she cares. That is Oprah Winfrey's genius, and will be her legacy, as the changes she has wrought in the talk show continue to permeate our culture and shape our lives.

     
  1. From paragraph 2, name two characteristics of Oprah's shows which appeal to millions.
     
  2. Give two pieces of evidence in paragraph 4 to show that she has a great influence on people through her talk show.
     
  3. From paragraph 5,
    (a) what was the objective of the world's largest piggy bank established by Oprah ?
    (b) what was Oprah's contribution to this fund ?
     
  4. From paragraph 7, why was she unsuitable to be a news reporter and in what area did she finally find her calling ?
     
  5. Which two phrases in paragraph 8 tell us that her talk show was very successful ?
     
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    Answers
     
  1. Emotionally charged and self-help approach.
     
  2. * If she recommends a book in her show, the book becomes a topseller.  * Self-help gurus that she recommends become household names.
     
  3. (a) It was to raise funds to send disadvantaged kids to school.
    (b) She matched the amount raised by the people.
     
  4. She lacked the detachment to be a reporter. She finally found her calling in hosting talk shows.
     
  5. " ... it was topping the ratings' and " ... went on to become the highest-rated talk show in TV history ..."
     
 
 
 
 

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