Early Oprah

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With the Oprah Winfrey Show ending today, here are some earlier clips of the media icon from before her epic television program took off.

Teenage Oprah got her start in media as a part-time news reporter on WVOL radio in Nashville, TN. While still at college, she became the first African-American TV correspondent and youngest news co-anchor on WTVF in Nashville. In 1976, she moved to Baltimore to become a news reporter and anchor at WJZ-TV.

Here are a couple of news promos with Oprah, including one for the morning show People Are Talking, which she co-hosted with Richard Sher.

In 1984, she moved to Chicago to host AM Chicago.

When programming director Dennis Swanson saw Oprah's audition for their talk show host position, he said, "This woman is awesome," adding "This person is just a natural television performer." And he didn't want her to change a thing--"the hairdo, the clothes, the weight...I wanted her just as she was."

Soon, she was beating Phil Donahue, and the program was renamed The Oprah Winfrey Show.

Among her high profile guests in those early episodes, she interviewed one of her favorite artists of all time, John Denver.

Hear more of her behind the scenes with this clip from 1986 at Oak Park-River Forest High School where she talks about being a black woman on television and hints at her future success and wealth.

Now established in her own national show and having already received an Oscar nomination for The Color Purple, she went on 60 Minutes in 1986 to talk to Mike Wallace about her career.

Also, this montage made by a superfan offers a fun selection of highlights from Oprah's signature show.

May 25, 2011 - 8:55am
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