August 4, 2011 – US talk show queen Oprah Winfrey is to be honored with an Oscars statuette later this year for her outstanding humanitarian work, Academy Awards officials said Wednesday.
The 57-year-old television megastar — nominated for a best supporting actress Oscar 25 years ago for her work in “The Color Purple” — is to receive the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at a dinner in November, officials said.
The award has been given out intermittently by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences since 1956. Previous recipients include Bob Hope, Gregory Peck, Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman and Jerry Lewis.
The Academy said that since her Oscar nomination in 1986, Winfrey had become “one of the most influential figures in entertainment and philanthropy.”
“She has been especially dedicated to supporting educational initiatives and raising awareness of issues that affect women and children, both in the United States and around the globe,” it said in a statement.
Winfrey is one of the richest women in the United States, with Forbes magazine estimating her net worth at $2.4 billion in 2010.
In May, she pulled the curtain down on her wildly popular talk show — seen by an estimated 40 million Americans each week — after 25 years on the air.
Winfrey will be honored at the Governors Awards dinner on November 12, along with veteran actor James Earl Jones and make-up artist Dick Smith, who will each receive Honorary Awards for their contributions to the industry.