After college, she went into journalism before reigning for 25 years as queen of the United States talk show, ushering in an era of confessional television before becoming the first black woman to own a television network.
The powerful address to Hollywood's gathered aristocracy by the actor, entrepreneur and campaigner prompted speculation about a run for president against Donald Trump in 2020 after she spoke out against sexual harassment and in favour of press freedom.
She ended on a hopeful note saying "a new day was on the horizon" because of people, some of whom were in the Golden Globes audience, who will "take us to the time when nobody ever has to say "me too" again".
"Trust me, the women in this room tonight are not here for the food", said McDormand. But her speech at the Golden Globes smacked more of the sort of Hollywood smugness that South Park parodied during its 10th season than the sort of insight that should launch a political career. Wow, the power of women.
It was the first major awards event since allegations emerged previous year against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, who has been accused by several women of sexual harassment.
Several nominees brought activists as guests, notably Meryl Streep, who walked the carpet the director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, Ai-jen Poo, and Michelle Williams, who was joined by #MeToo founder and civil rights activist Tarana Burke. She lived as we all have lived, too many years in a culture broken by brutally powerful men. Each of us in this room is celebrated because of the stories that we tell, and this year we became the story.
IDF destroys terror tunnel penetrating Egypt and Israeli border crossing
The tunnel could have also been used to transfer militants and arms for attacks in Israel or Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, he said. Israel had been monitoring the tunnel for an "extended" period, but Conricus would not specify how long.
While Lady Bird won for best motion picture - musical or comedy, director and writer Greta Gerwig was, many believed, snubbed. Guillermo del Toro's Cold War-era fantasy "The Shape of Water" won for its score and del Toro's directing. "My mom came through the door bone-tired from cleaning other people's houses", she said. The emotional Mexican-born filmmaker wiped back tears and managed to quiet the music that urged him off.
For this year's celebration, the females behind the newly-created Time's Up initiative have encouraged attendees to wear the dark hue as a way of expressing solidarity for the victims, but also changing the narrative on how things are done in the industry.
"It's been a really interesting time to actually open up the conversation and have it open your eyes to the environment and how it needs to change", she added. Allison Janney took best supporting actress in a comedy for the Tonya Harding tale "I, Tonya".
The build-up to the 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards already had us expecting the most socially and politically conscious ceremony to date, and Hollywood A-listers certainly delivered. "We feel emboldened in this particular moment", Streep said, "to stand together in a thick black line dividing then from now". "If it means looking at one of these celebrities that have a moral core, that are compassion and intelligent, I think that people should look to where they can during these very, very hard times".
Cristina Ehrlich, another stylist to the stars, is also a supporter of the Time's Up movement, sharing a photo of a showroom filled with black gowns, tagging actresses Alison Brie, Laura Dern, Penelope Cruz and Yvonne Strahovski.
"You wrote a role for a black man that can only be played by a black man", said Brown.
When men were asked about their black tuxes and Time's Up pins on the red carpet, some had answers ready.