Oprah’s Color Purple Transcript
SQuire Rushnell shares a Godwink Story about Oprah Winfrey and her dream role in "The Color Purple."
She was a new girl in Chicago, and Oprah Winfrey was filled with uncertainty. She was launching a new local TV show. Would she do all right? Did she make the right decision to move from Baltimore? She found hope and inspiration in a book called "The Color Purple." She identified with a character named Sophia. And she told friends, “If this book ever gets made into a movie, I’m playing the role of Sophia.”
Never mind that she had little or no acting experience. And never mind that she had no way of getting to Steven Spielberg when she heard he was making a film based on the book. She was beside herself. "How can I tell Spielberg I’m the right person for that role??" But here’s how the godwink began to unfold: The executive producer of the film, musician Quincy Jones, was in a Chicago hotel room, saw Oprah on TV, and said, “Hey, she’d be perfect for the part of Sophia.” He called the casting people in L.A. and they called Oprah. Wouldn’t you have loved to have been a mouse in the corner when that call came in? "You want me to audition for the role of Sophia?" Well…she did. She thought she did well, but you know how it is…hurry up and wait, more uncertainty. "Lord, what do I need to do to get this part?" Oprah then said, “I know…I’ll need to take off a few pounds.” She went to a running track. And while she was on the track, an old spiritual came into mind: “I Surrender…I Surrender All.” She started singing it out loud, right there on the track. Then…another godwink. A call had come into the front office. ”Oprah, a call for you…from Hollywood!” It was Spielberg’s assistant. “Can you come to L.A. tomorrow?” Yes. “And, if you lose a single pound, you might not get the part." "Oh, no, I didn’t run that far," said Oprah. She not only got the part, but Oprah got an Academy Award nomination.
Oprah Winfrey’s film debut coincided with the most successful talk show launch in history.
When God Winks at You