Top 10 People Oprah Made Famous



Top 10 People Oprah Made Famous

VOICE OVER: Sophia Franklin WRITTEN BY: Margarita Artoglou
When you know Oprah, you can go far. For this list, we'll be looking at some of the human beings whose careers were launched or majorly boosted by none other than media mogul Oprah Winfrey. Our countdown includes Dr. Oz, Rachael Ray, Nate Berkus, and more!

Top 10 People Oprah Made Famous

Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 people Oprah made famous.

For this list, we’ll be looking at some of the human beings whose careers were launched or majorly boosted by none other than media mogul Oprah Winfrey.

So, who were your favorite Oprah regulars? We’d love to hear your picks in the comments below.

#10: Iyanla Vanzant

Iyanla Vanzant is a spiritual mentor, life coach, and author who regularly appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” In fact, she appeared on the show 20 times between 1998 and 1999 alone to give no-nonsense relationship advice to Oprah’s viewers. But Vanzant’s journey to Oprah-related fame had a bit of a bump in the road, since she and the talk show host had a falling out in 1999 -- which they famously mended in an episode of Oprah’s show in 2011. Afterwards, Vanzant went on to host her own show on Oprah’s network, OWN, called “Iyanla: Fix My Life,” from 2012 to 2021. Now that the show’s over, there’s no telling what Vanzant might do next -- especially with Oprah in her corner.

#9: Rhonda Byrne

Oprah has boosted a lot of authors’ careers through her book club. Chris Bohjalian credits his subsequent burst in popularity as an author to Winfrey after his book “Midwives” was selected for inclusion. But one author stands out from the crowd: Rhonda Byrne, author of “The Secret,” the self-help book that brought the Law of Attraction into the mainstream. “The Secret” has sold 30 million copies and grossed over $300 million. Turns out, Oprah had a hand in making this philosophy popular by bringing Byrne onto her show and publicly supporting the book’s claims that positive thinking can make your dreams come true. Whether or not you agree with “The Secret,” it’s clear that Oprah helped Byrne attract wealth and fame.

#8: Bob Greene

Bob Greene is a personal trainer who was frequently on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” to give millions of viewers fitness advice. Since the show ended, he’s served as a columnist for “O, The Oprah Magazine.” He’s written a bunch of books about health and wellness, two of which were co-written by Oprah herself. Most interestingly, he has a product line called Best Life Foods, which produces butter alternatives. It does make a certain amount of sense that the woman who famously proclaimed that she “loves bread” would team up with the butter alternative guy. Off-screen, Greene’s friendship with Oprah actually runs deep -- she was the “best woman” at his wedding. He does have her to thank for his fame, after all.

#7: James Frey

Perhaps the most famous -- or infamous -- author from Oprah’s book club is James Frey. Frey wrote “A Million Little Pieces,” which was originally billed as a memoir but was later very publicly revealed to be semi-fictional. The so-called “memoir” was the September 2005 book club pick, and became a best-seller shortly after. But in January 2006, Frey appeared on Oprah’s show, where he was questioned until he admitted that several parts of his tale were straight-up made-up. Still, Frey’s work had enough cultural relevance for director Sam Taylor-Johnson to turn “A Million Little Pieces” into a 2018 movie starring her husband Aaron Taylor-Johnson. Plus, “Bright Shiny Morning,” the actual novel Frey published in 2008 was a best-seller too, despite -- or maybe because of -- the Oprah controversy.

#6: Nate Berkus

Nate Berkus is a big name in the world of interior design, and he got his first taste of fame on Oprah’s talk show stage. He was often featured on the show, doing segments about home makeovers and interior design tips. After making a name for himself among Oprah’s viewers, Berkus hosted his own talk show, “The Nate Berkus Show,” for two seasons. He now co-hosts “Nate & Jeremiah By Design” on TLC with his husband, Jeremiah Brent. He’s also published a best-selling book, and has designed several collections of home goods for retailers like Target, Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft Stores, and more.

#5: Suze Orman

Another person Oprah introduced to her large audience is Suze Orman, financial advisor extraordinaire. After appearing on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” about 29 times to give advice about money and personal finance, Orman went on to host her own show on CNBC, write several best-selling books, and start her own podcast. She’s also been a featured guest on countless shows, including, “The View,” “Today,” and, oddly enough, “The Simpsons.” The Emmy-winning finance expert isn’t slowing down anytime soon, either, as she continues to provide resources to help people educate themselves about money. It definitely makes sense that people want to take advice from an adviser hand-picked by the famously wealthy Winfrey.

#4: Rachael Ray

When you think of Rachael Ray, you might think about the yummy 30-minute meals she’s known for, or maybe her many cookbooks or her magazine or even her line of dog food. But this culinary queen got a huge boost from Oprah. While she’d already been featured on the Food Network, being featured on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” helped her add to her growing fanbase. And launching her daytime talk show led to a whole new level of fame--made possible by Winfrey and her team, Harpo Productions. And it’s certainly been successful, as it’s been on air for over 15 years and has won multiple Daytime Emmys.

#3: Gayle King

Oprah’s personal relationships often make their way into the spotlight, like her longtime romantic partner Stedman Graham. But it’s Oprah’s best friend, Gayle King, who takes this spot on this list. Oprah and Gayle’s friendship goes way back. The two women met in their early 20s when they were working at a Baltimore television station, and have supported each other throughout their decades-long friendship. Gayle has been a broadcast news anchor in cities like Washington, D.C. and Hartford, Connecticut, and is now a co-host on “CBS This Morning.” During her years as a regional anchor, though, she made appearances on Oprah’s show, giving her plenty of opportunities to help introduce her to a national audience.

#2: Dr. Oz

Known as “America’s doctor,” Dr. Mehmet Oz is another graduate of “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” After offering health advice in over 60 appearances on the show, Dr. Oz got his own talk show in 2009, produced by Oprah’s company, Harpo. But Oz’s influence goes way beyond TV: he has a magazine and several bestselling books, not to mention that he held the title of professor at Columbia University until 2022, and for a long time continued to see patients, even as a rising TV star. Oz’s latest venture, though? Politics. During Trump’s presidency, the good doctor was appointed to the Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition. In late 2021, Dr. Oz announced he would run for a Senate seat in Pennsylvania while his show aired its last episode in January of the following year. America’s doctor indeed.

#1: Dr. Phil

If Dr. Oz is America’s doctor, then Dr. Phil -- real name Phil McGraw -- is America’s therapist. One of the reasons he takes this spot is because his eponymous talk show has been on the air since 2002 -- not quite as long as “The Oprah Winfrey Show” was on the air, but still impressive. Indeed, it was his multiple appearances on her show in the late 90s that launched him into ever-lasting fame. Today, Dr. Phil, who’s written six New York Times best sellers, is still a household name. Dr. Phil’s advice show, which has been nominated for several Daytime Emmys, has been so successful that McGraw actually stopped renewing his license to practice psychology in 2006, though his doctorate in clinical psychology technically warrants his continued use of the “Dr.” title.