The mother of TV icon Oprah Winfrey died on Thanksgiving Day, according to media reports. TMZ reports that Vernita Lee was 83.
Lee’s death was confirmed by her family, but no cause of death was released.
“Vernita was born in 1935 in segregated Mississippi. She met Vernon Winfrey and they gave birth to Oprah in 1954,” TMZ reports. “Vernita couldn’t raise Oprah because she moved to Milwaukee where she worked as a housemaid.
“Oprah was raised early on by her maternal grandmother. When Oprah turned 6, she moved to Milwaukee to live with her mom … who was a virtual stranger.”
Winfrey has said that the relationship she had with her mother was strained because of their early separation. But they reconciled, and Lee appeared on Winfrey’s talk show in 1990 — including receiving a makeover from Winfrey’s personal stylist.
Here’s a clip from that appearance …