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TheStreet Open House

5 Forever or Forgotten: The Legacy of Today's VIPs - Part 1

Stocks in this article: MSFTBRK.ABRK.B

Oprah Winfrey - FORGOTTEN

Oprah not remembered? No way! How could legend-in-her-own-time Oprah Winfrey -- great humanitarian, picker of presidents and mega-, single-name star -- not go down in the history books?

Well, to start, when was the last time you watched a rerun of the "Jack Paar Show?" Oprah's interview with Lance Armstrong may have made headlines last month, but no one will care in the years ahead; her content is consumed and forgotten, as it's created.

Moreover, Oprah's "OWN" network is a flop; continuing to flog it will drain both her reputation and her not unlimited fortune. And Oprah's philanthropic efforts, while praiseworthy, are not destined for the ages. Any run-of-the-mill billionaire can start a school for 152 under-privileged girls; Laura Rockefeller funded much-larger Spelman College in 1882.

Lastly, Oprah's success as an independent African-American businesswoman is not unprecedented. Madam C.J. Walker was a millionaire entrepreneur long before Oprah was born. Perhaps Oprah should produce a movie about Walker's life; her OWN studios are underutilized and at the ready.

But Oprah is a young 59. She has plenty of tricks to pull from her sometimes-fat-sometimes-thin sleeves: Goodwill Ambassador Winfrey; Tennessee State University President Winfrey; UN Secretary-General Winfrey; POTUS Winfrey . . . lasting fame is still within her grasp.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

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