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Oprah Winfrey to star in “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" film adaptation

Oprah Winfrey will star in an HBO Films adaptation of the bestselling nonfiction book “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks."

MORE: Oprah gives preview of Atlanta-filmed "Greenleaf"

Rebecca Skloot’s book tells the incredible story of Henrietta Lacks.

"She was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells—taken without her knowledge in 1951—became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, and more," the book's official site says. "Henrietta’s cells have been bought and sold by the billions, yet she remains virtually unknown, and her family can’t afford health insurance."

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Henrietta Lacks

“Told through the eyes of her daughter, Deborah Lacks (to be played by Winfrey), the film chronicles her search to learn about the mother she never knew and to understand how the unauthorized harvesting of Lacks’ cancerous cells in 1951 led to unprecedented medical breakthroughs, changing countless lives and the face of medicine forever.

It’s a story of medical arrogance and triumph, race, poverty and deep friendship between the unlikeliest of people.”


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Jennifer Brett is a multiplatform journalist and digital coach. She writes The Buzz blog for

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