2007 a Mixed Bag of Hope, Pain for Oprah

Opening of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa. i

In January 2007, the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa opened. Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Getty Images
Opening of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa.

In January 2007, the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa opened.

Getty Images
Oprah Winfrey at a rally for Barack Obama.

Oprah Winfrey addresses supporters at a campaign rally for Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL). Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images

By any standard, 2007 was a big year for Oprah Winfrey. The queen of daytime talk and media mogul made a series of headlines for a variety of reasons — most notably, philanthropy, scandal, political involvement and contributions to the big screen.

Philanthropy Scarred by Scandal

The billionaire philanthropist began the year with the opening of a new, state-of-the-art academy for girls in South Africa. But the inspiration surrounding the venture was later tainted amid allegations of abuse at the school.

Lending Star Power to Politics

With the record-breaking success of her daytime hub, "The Oprah Winfrey Show," the former television news anchor is known for her unique ability to substantially boost the marketability of products, books and talent.

Winfrey boldly threw her support behind Sen. Barack Obama, a Democrat from Illinois, for president. To underscore her support, the friend and constituent of the senator hosted an A-list fundraiser. She recently joined Obama on the campaign trail in hopes of influencing voters with her celebrity appeal.

Harpo's Big Nod

Her latest endeavor was rewarded with a nod from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. The film The Great Debaters, produced in-part by Winfrey's Harpo Productions, was nominated for a Golden Globe Award.

Juliet Walker is a professor of history at the University of Texas, where she studies the history of black businesses. She also taught a course on Winfrey at the University of Illinois. In the final edition of the program's "Fascinating in '07" series, Walker discusses Winfrey's year of accomplishment and conflict, and the possibility of new endeavors in 2008.

Written and produced for the Web by Lee Hill.

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