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Her first job as a teenager was working at a local grocery store.She worked there during her senior year of high school, and again while in her first two years of college.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.Her mother, Vernita Lee (1935–2018), was a housemaid.Winfrey's biological father is usually noted as Vernon Winfrey (born c.In 1983, Winfrey relocated to Chicago to host WLS-TV's low-rated half-hour morning talk show, AM Chicago. Within months after Winfrey took over, the show went from last place in the ratings to overtaking Donahue as the highest-rated talk show in Chicago.
She also hosted the local version of Dialing for Dollars.
Winfrey later acknowledged her grandmother's influence, saying it was Hattie Mae who had encouraged her to speak in public and "gave me a positive sense of myself".
Working in local media, she was both the youngest news anchor and the first black female news anchor at Nashville's WLAC-TV.
Her grandmother taught her to read before the age of three and took her to the local church, where she was nicknamed "The Preacher" for her ability to recite Bible verses.
When Winfrey was a child, her grandmother would hit her with a stick when she did not do chores or if she misbehaved in any way.