We now know Oprah as the queen of talk shows. But, back in 1983, she was a relatively unknown journalist vying for a big job in Chicago.
After Oprah shared the audition tape on her show in November 2005, it went back into the vaults. It was posted on OWN’s YouTube channel for the first time this week.
In the clip, 2005 Oprah explained she was working as the co-host of a Baltimore morning show, People Are Talking, in the early 1980s when she heard about a host opening in Chicago.
“So I stayed up all night long with an editor, sent my audition tape in because I was one of the people who wasn’t prepared,” Oprah said. “I was obsessed with getting this job.”
In the tape, Oprah explained how she got her unusual game.
“Hi, there. My name is Oprah Winfrey. Oprah, spelled O-P-R-A-H, and if you notice, it’s Harpo spelled backwards. My folks did not really like Harpo Marks. We did not even have a television set for a number of years,” she said. “Originally, I was named from the Bible by Aunt Ida, who named me from Ruth, the first chapter at the fourteenth verse, Orpah, but no one knew how to spell in my home, and that’s why I ended up being Oprah.
That explanation apparently endearing her to producers, who gave her the job! After an incredibly successful ratings start, that Chicago morning show was rebranded as The Oprah Winfrey Show and went national in 1986. Chances are you know what happened after that…