Oprah digs out audition tape from 1983

Oprah Winfrey has uncovered an audition tape from 1983. Photo/YouTube.
Oprah Winfrey has uncovered an audition tape from 1983. Photo/YouTube.

She has been on television so long it is hard to imagine a world without Oprah Winfrey.

But the chat show doyen has just unearthed an old audition tape from 1983 in which she applies for one of her first jobs on the small screen.

Remarkably, the saucy 60-year-old is looking as good now as she did more than 30 years ago, though her hairstyle is markedly different in the short which was shown on The Oprah Winfrey Show.


In the video the unknown future star says: "Hi there, my name is Oprah Winfrey. Oprah, spelt O-P-R-A-H. And if you notice its Harpo spelt backwards.

"My folks did not particularly like Harpo Marx, we did not even have a television in our home for a number of years.

"Originally I was named from the bible by my Aunt Ida who named me from Ruth, the first chapter and the fourteenth verse Orpah, but no one knew how to spell in my home and that's why it ended up being Oprah."

This is a little different to the explanation she gives now, which is that people did not know how to pronounce the name, which is why her current moniker stuck.

Oprah explained she made the audition after hearing that a Chicago-based morning show needed a new host.

She said: "I stayed up all night long with an editor, sent my audition tape in, because I was one of those people who wasn't prepared. I wasn't keeping all my stories, so I was up all night.

"I was obsessed with getting this job."

However even Oprah admitted she was shocked when she saw how inept she was in comparison to the polished performer her legion of fans know and love.

She said: "I don't know how on Earth I got hired."

The move certainly paid off however; she relocated to Chicago to host WLS-TV's low-rated half-hour morning talk show, AM Chicago, and within months of Winfrey taking over in 1984, it went from last place in the ratings to become the highest rated talk show in the city.

Oprah also shared some other footage from her early career, including an hilarious 1978 scene from her stint alongside Richard Sher on People Are Talking, in which she bounces on her co-host's lap.

- Daily Mail

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