She may have a television network to run, but Oprah Winfrey is taking a break from her OWN head honcho duties to film the new big screen flick, "The Butler."
Oprah stars as Gloria Gaines in the historical drama of a White House butler, and she's joined by a star-studded cast that includes Liam Neeson, Robin Williams, Nicole Kidman, and Cuba Gooding Jr. (You can check out Oprah on "The Butler" set in all her beehived-hairdo glory here.)
But lest you think Oprah doesn't have the acting chops to join such an A-list cast, think again. Her acting resume has some impressive credits-- including an Oscar nomination.
While she may be most closely associated with her baby-- 1998's "Beloved"-- here are five more surprising Oprah acting gigs:
"The Color Purple" (1985)
Oprah has made no secret of how much she wanted the role of Sofia in the 1985 movie "The Color Purple." In a 2006 "Dateline" interview she told Ann Curry: "I'd never wanted anything more than I wanted to be in 'The Color Purple.' Never." And while it took a while for dream of getting a part in the movie to come true, it proved to be a worthwhile call on director Steven Spielberg's part. Winfrey emerged from the film with both an Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe nomination.
The Women of Brewster Place (1989)
Oprah's production company, Harpo Studios, spearheaded the production of the 1989 miniseries "The Women of Brewster Place." The series about a group of women in a housing project drew critical acclaim, as did Oprah's performance as Mattie Michael. In 1989 she told the Chicago Tribune: "The women I`ve played in movies are all women I greatly admire. But I`m practically typecast already. I should do a comedy. "
And so she did. In 1997, Oprah was part of one of the most highly publicized coming out stories of all time, when she starred as Ellen DeGeneres's therapist on the sitcom "Ellen." The episode? "The Puppy Episode," the famous show-changer in which Ellen's character realized she was gay.
"Desperate Housewives: Oprah Winfrey Is The New Neighbor" (2005)
This TV spoof is a gem in Oprah's acting archives. In 2005 Oprah paid a visit to the "Desperate Housewives" set and shot a parody spoof in which she played Karen Stouffer, the newest neighbor on Wisteria Lane. But Winfrey's character smelled something fishy on day one after she met Susan, Gabby, Lynette and the gang. "How come there's his many thin, gorgeous housewives on one street?" she asked her husband, Gordon. "Have you seen 'em? Nobody on this street has a butt!" You can watch "Desperate Housewives: Oprah Winfrey Is The New Neighbor" here.
"Sesame Street" (2010)
Oprah has lent her voice to a variety of animated movies, voicing the character of Gussie the goose in the movie "Charlotte's Web," Judge Bumbleden in "Bee Movie," and Eudora in Disney's "The Princess and the Frog." But the coolest animated O moment of all time may just be her 2010 stint on "Sesame Street," where she was transformed into a purple letter "O" for a segment called "The O Show." Oprah's animated alter ego sported outrageous eyelashes as she interviewed an orangutan and an octopus, spewing an endless supply of words that started with her trademark letter. Oh yeah!
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