who was he? All about Oprah Winfrey’s father, who allegedly passes away at age 88.

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Vernon Winfrey: who was he? All about Oprah Winfrey’s father who has reportedly passed away at the age of 88.

Vernon Winfrey

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Vernon Winfrey

The death of the father of acclaimed talk show host Oprah Winfrey was announced by Nashville City Councilwoman Sharon Hurt on Saturday, July 9, according to WKRN-TV News 2. Apparently, Vernon Winfrey died Friday night.

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Vernon Winfrey, Winfrey’s father, died at the age of 88 after a long illness. There is currently no further information about the death of the eighty-year-old. Also, it is not known what type of cancer the Nashville resident had.

Despite the time of mourning, Oprah Winfrey has yet to confirm her father’s news.

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What is known about Vernon Winfrey, Oprah Winfrey’s father?

Oprah Winfrey was the child of Vernon Winfrey and his then-girlfriend Vernita Lee in 1933. They were never married but had a brief relationship. Rumor has it that Oprah’s father was a businessman and a hairdresser.

Vernon Winfrey had previously served in the Army and had moved to Nashville in 1955, according to Jill Nelson’s 1986 biography in The Washington Post. After a few odd jobs, sometimes two at a time, Winfrey decided in 1964 to become a barber. The article goes on to say:

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He has been an elected member of the Nashville Metro Council since 1975, representing the 5th Ward, which is predominantly black. His 15,000 voters have backed him twice.
Vernon Winfrey is said to have trimmed his hair at his hair salon in Tennessee until he was quite old. His career as a hairdresser spanned more than 50 years. As a result, Vernon was elected to the National Barber Museum Hall of Fame and became a member of the organization.

Relationship between Vernon Winfrey and Oprah Winfrey’s father

Oprah Winfrey’s father was still working when she was born in 1955. After her birth, Oprah was raised by her maternal grandmother, Hattie Mae Lee, until she was six years old. In Katherine E. Krohn’s biography of The Oprah Winfrey Network (ONN) owner, Oprah allegedly suffered from Lee’s abuse and lived in misery.

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Oprah was initially relocated to Nashville in the early 1960s to temporarily live with her father. But when Winfrey was nine, her mother urged her to return to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Vernon Winfrey claimed to have sobbed when he left Oprah with her mother. The mother of the well-known talk show host apparently worked as a maid and did not pay much attention to her daughter because her job kept her busy.

Oprah became pregnant at the age of 14 after being sexually assaulted by numerous family members in Milwaukee. A son born prematurely did not survive. After this experience, Winfrey was raised by her father, who was said to be strict but emphasized academic achievement. She would then proceed to inform Nelson:

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“The direction of my life changed when my father kidnapped me.

He delivered me. He only understood his expectations and desires. Less would not be enough for him.”

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Although Winfrey’s mother passed away in 2018, the multi-billionaire TV producer didn’t get along with her mother. With her father, however, everything was different. Winfrey celebrated the Fourth of July in memory of her father earlier this week. She shared on Instagram how she planned a barbecue in Nashville with her immediate family especially for him.

She shared a video of the celebration in one of the posts, writing in the caption that she’s giving her dad “his ‘flowers'” while he’s still healthy enough.

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