Oprah-Made: 8 Stars Who Shot to Fame Thanks to Winfrey

ABC News
Oprah-Made: 8 Stars Who Shot to Fame Thanks to Winfrey
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Oprah-Made: 8 Stars Who Shot to Fame Thanks to Winfrey (ABC News)

Oprah Winfrey is one of the most influential figures in media.

She placed second on Forbes' "World's Most Powerful Celebrities" list this year, and has estimated earnings of $165 million.

Aside from her wildly popular syndicated talk show, "The Oprah Winfrey Show," which ended last year, the mogul also has a 24-hour cable network, OWN, a popular book club and an award-winning magazine.

The so-called Oprah Effect has proved to be incredibly powerful several times over. Endorsements, frequent show appearances or, better yet, a regular segment on the media titan's show can be the golden ticket to a successful career.

Many household TV names got their start on the "Oprah Winfrey Show" and went on to become icons themselves and make fortunes. Here are eight stars who shot to fame thanks to Winfrey and remain close to the "Oprah" brand.

Iyanla Vanzant

In the late-1990s, Iyanla Vanzant was a rising star, one of Oprah Winfrey's protégés, as a no-nonsense relationship expert. But her star quickly faded when she and Winfrey parted ways over what Vanzant called a "miscommunication."

They didn't speak to each other for 11 years, but a public reconciliation in February 2011 on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" proved to be a master class in how to heal a friendship.

Now, forgiveness and redemption are themes on Vanzant's new show, "Iyanla: Fix My Life," which premieres on Winfrey's OWN network tonight.

Read more about Vanzant's journey HERE.

'Dr. Phil'

Psychologist Phil McGraw first came on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in 1998, and soon began appearing in a regular Tuesday segment to offer relationship and "life-strategy" advice.

In 2002, McGraw launched his own syndicated daytime talk show, "Dr. Phil," a spinoff of his segments on Winfrey's show, which is produced by Winfrey's Harpo Productions. The show, which was renewed through 2014, has been nominated for an Emmy 25 times.

McGraw is also the author of six No. 1 New York Times bestsellers and appears on "Oprah's All Stars," a show on OWN.

Dr. Oz

Dr. Mehmet Oz is a world-class heart surgeon, but he is more widely recognized for his television appearances.

Dr. Oz first appeared on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in 2004. After having a regular segment on her talk show for five seasons, he launched his own program, "The Dr. Oz Show," in 2009. The show, which focuses on health issues and medical questions, is co-produced by Winfrey's Harpo Productions.

The surgeon also appear on "Oprah's All Stars," an advice show on OWN.

Dr. Oz has co-authored six No. 1 New York Times bestsellers. He recently appeared in ABC's reality-TV drama series, "NY Med."

Suze Orman

No-nonsense personal finance expert Suze Orman was doing well in the private sector before appearing on the "Oprah Winfrey Show," but her appearances helped catapult her to icon status.

"Freedom comes in many forms. One way it comes, Oprah, is in money," Orman said on her first "Oprah" appearance in January 1998. "I got news: Money alone is not going to set you free."

Orman is now the host of the CNBC show, "The Suze Orman Show," which launched in 2002 and covers personal finance news and advice.

But she remains closely tied to Winfrey's empire. Orman stars in two other shows on OWN, "The Money Class" and "Oprah's All stars," and she is a finance columnist for "O, The Oprah Magazine."

Orman is the author of nine New York Times bestsellers and has had several of her books turned into PBS specials.

Gayle King

Gayle King has long been touted as "Oprah's best friend."

The duo met while working together at a local Baltimore television station in the 1980s.

With brief stints on various daytime talk shows, King earned national recognition with her multiple appearances on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," including a mini-series called "Oprah and Gayle's Big Adventure," in which the pair drove from California to New York together in 2006.

Today, King is a co-anchor on "CBS This Morning" and is the editor-at-large for "O, The Oprah Magazine."

"I don't see myself standing in [Winfrey's] shadows, ever," she told "Nightline" anchor Cynthia McFadden in an interview with "Nightline" last year. "I really do see myself standing in her light."

Rachael Ray

Rachael Ray's name is synonymous with the phrase "30-Minute Meals," but Oprah Winfrey helped turn the celebrity chef into a global brand.

Ray's frequent appearances on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" helped launch her own syndicated daytime talk show, the "Rachel Ray Show," in 2006. The show, which is in its seventh season and is produced in part by Winfrey's Harpo Productions, led to Ray's landing Food Network cooking shows, her own magazine and a line of cookbooks and kitchenware.

Bob Greene

Fitness and weight-loss expert Bob Greene landed the biggest client of his career when Oprah Winfrey hired him to be her personal trainer.

Greene went on to work for "The Oprah Winfrey Show" for 18 years, where he made numerous appearances. Winfrey was even the "best woman" at his wedding, which was hosted at her California estate.

Today, Greene is a contributor to "O, The Oprah Magazine," and has an award-winning diet and fitness plan called, "The Best Life," which was also a New York Times bestseller.

Nate Berkus

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