Nov. 13th, 1955
New York City, New York, USA
Guest TV Roles
Deborah Samson (Voiced)
Dr. Lydia Emerson
Whoopi Goldberg was born in the Chelsea section of Manhattan in 1955 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. Among her boyfriends were 'Ted Danson' and 'Frank Langella'. She was married three times and was once addicted to drugs.
Whoopi 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). Goldberg made her mark as a household name and a mainstay in Hollywood for her Oscar-winning role in the box office smash Ghost (1990). Whoopi Goldberg 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. Whoopi starred in some highly publicized and moderately successful comedies of this time, including Made in America (1993) and Soapdish (1991). Goldberg 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/I). 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).
Whoopi 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. Currently Whoopi Goldberg is the center square in "Hollywood Squares" (1998) and frequently hosts the Academy Awards. She also is an author, with the book "Book."
- 2002: Won a Tony as a producer for Best Musical, "Thoroughly Modern Millie.".
- Is one of only 7 African-American actresses to receive a Best Actress Oscar nomination. The others in chronological order are: 'Dorothy Dandridge' (qv), 'Diana Ross (I)' (qv), 'Cicely Tyson' (qv), 'Diahann Carroll' (qv), 'Angela Bassett' (qv) and 'Halle Berry' (qv).
- Discovered by director 'Mike Nichols (I)' (qv).
- Travels to locations by bus since she hates flying.
- Holds an honorary degree from Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pa.
- Was nicknamed Whoopi (as in "whoopi-cushion") because of being overly flatulent. She added the name Goldberg, taken from the Jewish side of her family.
- 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.
- Spokesmodel of the "got milk?" campaign.