How do you take someone who's been on the air for more than 25 years, raised and donated more than $500 million to charity, and become the most powerful woman in the world, and narrow her life down to the 10 best moments?
To celebrate Oprah Winfrey's 59th birthday, that's what we at Hollywire were tasked with. Our painstaking deliberation involved plenty of yelling, crying and throwing things across the office, but we've managed to handpick the 10 single greatest moments of Oprah's career.
1. The Lance Armstrong Interview
It wasn't a shock that Lance doped, but it was a shock he admitted it and that Oprah got the first exclusive. The tell-all interview was a huge boost for her OWN network, which hasn't enjoyed the same success as most of her other endeavors.
2. "You Get a Car!"
During a September 2004 episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show, Oprah promised to giveaway a brand new car to one lucky audience member. But when it was revealed that every single person in the audience was getting one, the studio collectively lost it. It was later reported that everyone in the audience needed to pay $7,000 worth in vehicle taxes to actually drive off with it, but hey, it's the thought that counts.
3. Oprah's Book Club
Everything that Oprah touches turns to gold, including books. Oprah's Book Club ran from 1996-2011, and the 69 books selected resulted in 55 million copies of them being sold in total. The club was also responsible for launching the careers of several prominent authors; shortly after being chosen in 2007, The Road by Cormac McCarthy won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
4. The "Oprah Bill"
Oprah's had plenty of influence on politics as well. In 1991, she told her own story of childhood abuse as she testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in support of the National Child Protection Act, which advocated the establishment of a national database of convicted child abusers. Her testimony was a large reason that Bill Clinton signed the act into law in 1993 and it was ultimately dubbed the "Oprah Bill."
5. Tom Cruise on the Couch
Back in 2005, Tom provided what still remains Oprah's most insane interview. She didn't have to do much; he walked out laughing hysterically, spoke incoherently and then jumped on the couch like a five-year-old being told they could have pizza for dinner. The interview remains one of Oprah's most notorious and launched countless spoofs in the months after.
6. Almost Single-Handedly Landing Barack Obama's Presidency
Oprah had always remained largely mum on the political, but she spoke out publicly in May 2007 by endorsing Barack for President. Economists at the University of Maryland calculated that her support was responsible for one million votes in the Democratic primaries and ultimately played a major role in his now two-term presidency.
7. Oprah's Ultimate Favorite Things
If there was ever a time to land tickets to Oprah's show, this would be the day. Her annual "Ultimate Favorite Things" episode results in audience members walking out with thousands of dollars worth of gifts including jewelry, clothes and even a seven-day cruise (or "cah-RUUUSSEEEEEE!" if you're Oprah). But even better than the gifts is the facial expressions of those in the audience who are about to pass out from sensory overload, which always result in some amazing GIF's the next day.
8. Her Hidden Family Secret
Long before the Kardashians did it, Oprah used her show as a platform to talk about her own life. So when she discovered that she had a half-sister, Patricia, she dropped the bombshell on-air in January 2011. The most impressive part about Patricia was that even though she was struggling financially, she never sold her story to the media.
9. The Color Purple
Before we know her as the daytime talk show queen, we knew her as an actress. Her role in the 1985 film The Color Purple led to nominations for Best Supporting Actress at the Oscars and Golden Globes, and she still occasionally acts in animated voice roles or as herself on TV shows and films to this day.
10. Her Philanthropy
A school for underprivileged girls in South Africa. More than $400 million donated to educational caused. Her Oprah's Angel Network raising over $80 million. More than $20 million raised and donated for Hurricane Katrina victims. It goes without saying that Oprah is one of, if not the most generous celebrity on the planet.
What's your favorite Oprah moment?
Photos courtesy of Getty Images, OWN, ABC and Harpo Productions