Nov. 13th, 1955
New York City, New York, USA
Guest TV Roles[none found]
Whoopi Goldberg (born November 13, 1955) in the Chelsea section of Manhattan as Caryn Elaine Johnson. She worked in a funeral parlor and as a bricklayer while taking small parts on Broadway. She moved to California and worked with improv groups, including Spontaneous Combustion, and developed her skills as a stand-up comedienne. She came to prominence doing an HBO special and a one-woman show as 'Moms Mabley'. She has been known in her prosperous career as a unique and socially conscious talent with articulately liberal views.
Goldberg first came to prominence with her starring role in The Color Purple (1985). She received much critical acclaim, and an Oscar nomination for her role and became a major star as a result. Subsequent efforts in the late 1980s were, at best, marginal hits. These movies mostly were off-beat to formulaic comedies like Burglar (1987) The Telephone (1988), and Jumpin' Jack Flash (1986).
She made her mark as a household name and a mainstay in Hollywood for her Oscar-winning role in the box office smash Ghost (1990). She was at her most famous in the early 1990s, making regular appearances on Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987). She admitted to being a huge fan of the original Star Trek (1967) and jumped at the opportunity to appear in The Next Generation.
Goldberg received another smash hit role in Sister Act (1992). Her fish out of water with some flash seemed to resonate with audiences and was a box office smash. She starred in some highly publicized and moderately successful comedies of this time, including Made in America (1993) and Soapdish (1991). She followed up to her success with Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit (1993), which was well-received but didn't seem to match up to the first.
As the late 1990s approached, Goldberg seemed to alternate between lead roles in straight comedies such as Eddie (1996) and The Associate (1996), and took supporting parts in more independent minded movies such as The Deep End of the Ocean (1999) and How Stella Got Her Groove Back (1998). Goldberg never forgot where she came from, hosting many tributes to other legendary entertainment figures. Her most recent movies include Rat Race (2001) and the quietly received Kingdom Come (2001). Goldberg contributes her voice to many cartoons, including The Pagemaster (1994) and Captain Planet and the Planeteers (1990), as Gaia, the voice of the earth. Alternating between big-budget movies, independent movies, tributes, documentaries, and even TV movies (including Theodore Rex (1995).
Goldberg is accredited as a truly unique and visible talent in Hollywood. Perhaps she will always be remembered as well for Comic Relief, playing an integral part in almost every benefit concert they had. Goldberg is the center square in Hollywood Squares (1998) and frequently hosts the Academy Awards. She also is an author, with the book "Book."
Among her boyfriends were 'Ted Danson' and 'Frank Langella'. She was married three times and was once addicted to drugs.
- Has over 4 different action figures modeled after her character, Guinan, from the "Star Trek" series and the films.
- Performed all her own singing in the "Sister Act" movies. Her co-stars have claimed that they were surprised at her vocal ability.
- 2002: Hosted the Oscar ceremonies.
- 'Michael J. Fox (I)' (qv) accompanied her to the 1986 Academy Awards when she was nominated for _The Color Purple (1985)_ (qv).
- Once worked in a mortuary where her job was applying makeup to corpses.
- Dropped out of high school and became addicted to heroin. She ended up marrying her drug counselor. She cleaned up and later divorced him. In 1974 she moved to California and helped found the San Diego Repertory Company, where she used the name, Whoopi Cushion. Before making it as an actress, she worked as a bank teller, a bricklayer and in a mortuary.
- Did a private stand-up comedy routine entitled "If E.T. landed in Oakland" in front of, among others, 'Steven Spielberg' (qv) and 'Michael Jackson (I)' (qv), which eventually won her the lead in _The Color Purple (1985)_ (qv), which Spielberg directed.
- Biography in: "Who's Who in Comedy" by Ronald L. Smith, pg. 184-186. New York: Facts on File, 1992. ISBN 0816023387.