Whoopi Goldberg was born Caryn Elaine Johnson in the Chelsea section of Manhattan on November 13, 1955. 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.
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). 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" (1966) series and jumped at the opportunity to star in "Star Trek: 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 it 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 did not 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 television movies (including Theodore Rex (1995) (V)).
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".
|Lyle Trachtenberg||(1 October 1994 - October 1995) (divorced)|
|David Claessen||(1 September 1986 - October 1988) (divorced)|
|Alvin Martin||(1973 - 1979) (divorced) 1 child|
Dreadlocks and no eyebrows
The role of Guinan on "Star Trek: The Next Generation" (1987)
2000: Broke up with boyfriend of five years Frank Langella.
Discovered by director Mike Nichols.
1994: Became the very first woman to host the Academy Awards solo.
Born at 12:48pm-EST.
Daughter: Alexandrea; Granddaughters: Amarah and Jerzey.
Travels to locations by bus since she hates flying.
She won a Grammy Award for "Whoopi Goldberg: Direct From Broadway".
Once worked in a mortuary where her job was applying makeup to corpses.
1985: Listed as one of 12 Promising New Actors of 1985 in "John Willis's Screen World," Vol. 37.
Holds an honorary degree from Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.
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.
Mother of actress Alex Martin.
Asked Gene Roddenberry for a role in "Star Trek: The Next Generation" (1987) because she was a big fan. She was given role of Guinan, the head of the Ten-Forward lounge. Her character was named for legendary entertainer / nightclub owner Texas Guinan.
Is an avid Fiesta Ware (china) collector.
2002: Won a Tony Award as a producer for Best Musical, "Thoroughly Modern Millie".
1985: Won a Grammy Award for Best Comedy Performance Single or Album, Spoken or Musical for "Original Broadway Show Recording".
Was the second African American woman to win an Academy Award. The first was Hattie McDaniel.
Biography in: "Who's Who in Comedy" by Ronald L. Smith, pg. 184-186. New York: Facts on File, 1992. ISBN 0816023387.
Has over four different action figures modeled after her character, Guinan, from "Star Trek: The Next Generation" (1987) and the Star Trek films.
Is part-owner of Mary's Kitchen, a country store/kitchen in Malibu, California. It is staffed by "New Yorkers" and certain furnishings were imported from New York because Whoopi wanted a touch of home in Malibu.
In the "Absolutely Fabulous" (1992) series episode "Gay", she played a woman who arranges marriages. In her guest-starring role in "The Nanny" (1993) (episode "The Pre-Nup") she played a wedding planner.
Has a tattoo of Woodstock (the bird from the Charles M. Schulz's "Peanuts" cartoon strip) on her shoulder.
Granddaughter Amarah Skye was born on her 34th birthday.
When she was only 8, she performed with the Children's Program and the Hudson Guild and The Rubenstein Children's Theatre.
Member of the jury at the Cannes Film Festival in 1991
Has her own production company, One Ho Productions, which backs most of her movies and television projects.
Did a private stand-up comedy routine entitled "If E.T. landed in Oakland" in front of, among others, Steven Spielberg and Michael Jackson, which eventually won her the lead in The Color Purple (1985), which Spielberg directed.
One of only four actresses who won the quadruple crown of acting: The Oscar, Tony, Emmy and Grammy.
Her performance as Oda Mae Brown in Ghost (1990) is ranked #95 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.
She was awarded The Annual Kennedy Centre Mark Twain Prize for Comedy.
The first woman to host the Academy Awards on her own. She hosted them in 2002, 1999, 1996 and 1994.
Is one of 9 African-American actresses to receive a Best Actress Oscar nomination. The others in chronological order are: Dorothy Dandridge, Diana Ross, Cicely Tyson, Diahann Carroll, Angela Bassett, Halle Berry, Gabourey Sidibe and Viola Davis.
She is one of only 10 individuals who have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony Award (counting Daytime Emmy Awards).
Worked as a Dishwasher at a restaurant called "Big Kitchen" at 3003 Grape St in San Diego.
Performed all her own singing in the "Sister Act" movies. Her co-stars have claimed that they were surprised at her vocal ability.
Has a brother who is seven years older.
Is one of 6 African-American actresses to have won an Academy Award. The others, in chronological order, are Hattie McDaniel for Gone with the Wind (1939), Halle Berry for Monster's Ball (2001), Jennifer Hudson for Dreamgirls (2006), Mo'Nique for Precious (2009/II) and Octavia Spencer for The Help (2011).
She studied drama at HB Studio in Greenwich Village in New York City.
Grandmother to Amarah Skye (b. 1989), Jerzey (b. 1995) and Mason (b. 1998), via daughter Alex Martin.
Is an active pro-choice campaigner, having undergone the procedure herself at age 14.
Owns a cat named Oliver.
Is one of two African-American actresses (the other being Viola Davis) to have been nominated for an Academy Award in both the Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress categories.
Received a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6801 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on her 48th birthday.
While working as a waitress at San Diego's "Big Kitchen" café in 1978, she witnessed PSA flight #182 falling from the sky in flames following a mid-air collision. The sight was so traumatic, that to this day she will not fly on an airplane.
Is one of only 14 individuals who are an "EGOT", meaning that she has received at least one of all of the four major entertainment awards: an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony. The other recipients, in chronological order, are Richard Rodgers, Barbra Streisand, Helen Hayes, Rita Moreno, Liza Minnelli, John Gielgud, Audrey Hepburn, Marvin Hamlisch, Jonathan Tunick, Mel Brooks, Mike Nichols, Scott Rudin and James Earl Jones. However, three of the 14 recipients did receive one non-competitive award: Barbra Streisand won a Special Tony, Liza Minnelli won a Special Grammy, and James Earl Jones won a Special Oscar.
[talking about critics, on the "Queen Latifah Show" (1999)] You can say whatever you want about me, but talk about my daughter and I'll beat your ass up.
My family is Jewish, Buddhist, Baptist and Catholic. I don't believe in man-made religions.
I'm a big old egotistical baby and that's okay. I can accept it.
[speaking about Alice Walker, author of "The Color Purple", on her efforts to get a part in the film (The Color Purple (1985)) that was made from it] I told her I would play a Venetian blind, dirt on the floor, anything.
Actors have no color. That's the art form.
[in 1994 interview, on African-American actors in Hollywood] I don't know if I'm the one who should be commenting on the situation. I can't complain about the amount of work that's out there. I am black. But I didn't become black yesterday. I'm black and I'm getting the work and I'm doing some good things, but I realize many black actors and actresses are not being given the opportunities. The industry has got to stop thinking in terms of black and white and has to start thinking in terms of who is right, regardless of color, for the role.
[in 1994 interview, about "Star Trek" (1966)] I know I'm never going up, for real, in anybody's rocket ship. I know this because I hate to fly. Gene Roddenberry's vision always included a multi-ethnic group of people. I thought that was pretty amazing. Being on "Star Trek" has been a great way to sort of expand on the universe and be a part of it.
[in 1994 interview, on how she got cast in "Star Trek: The Next Generation" (1987)] I did it because, frankly, I couldn't get any other work then. I liked the show, so I asked if I could be on it. As a matter of fact, I asked twice. The first time, I sent a message to LeVar Burton asking him to tell the producers that I would really like to be on the show. He got the message to the producers and they said, "Yeah, right. Whoopi wants to do "Star Trek". One of the members [Gates McFadden] left the show and I heard about it, so I approached the show's producers again and said, "Listen, I don't know if you know it or not, but I've been trying for a long time now to get on this show." They said LeVar had told them about it and they thought he was kidding. I told them I can't do all the episodes but I would like to do some of them. "Can I have the job?" They finally said, "Sure, we'll build you a bar". And they built me Ten-Forward. I got to go in and be really sage and wear great hats. I also got to hang out with some extraordinary people, like Patrick Stewart, LeVar and Jonathan Frakes.
[2002 interview, on working with the cast of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" (1987)] The connections between us is family. Its just family. And its unshakable, you know. Because you look around and you see a great part of your active adult life. Great part of my active adult life was spent with the cast and crew of "Star Trek".
Nobody ever encouraged me in this business. I encouraged myself. I was a very dull and shy child. I was the last person you would expect to be a success in this business. But I always felt if I kept going something would happen. But I even surprised myself at times. When I was doing ensemble theater and comedy work, I felt I had some talents. But when I started doing my shows in Berkeley and found that I could be funny on my own, I was shocked.
[from a 1990 interview] None of the stuff I've done will ever cure cancer. It's entertainment and some of it has been better entertainment than others. Ghost (1990) is a good little movie, like Jumpin' Jack Flash (1986), which I've changed my mind about and am finally able to watch. Burglar (1987) and Clara's Heart (1988) are good little movies. There's also a couple I don't care for. The Telephone (1988) read brilliantly but was cockadoo on the screen. I'm also not crazy about Fatal Beauty (1987); it could have been a whole lot better. I've done good stuff and bad stuff. That's what careers are all about.
[at the 1996 MTV Movie Awards, when she was very pleased to see Bob Barker won the award for Happy Gilmore (1996)]: Any Motion Picture Award program would give a big hand to Bob Barker. I have to come to; because that's very big, and Bob told me he was surprised at what happened. See, you never know, you never know!
In my opinion Mel Gibson isn't a racist. That isn't sticking up for someone. I know him, I've spent time with him, my family have spent time with him - I'd have noticed if he was racist. On slow news days people hear what they want to hear. I didn't stick up for him but I said I've met real racists and he isn't one of them. He's a bonehead.
I am where I am because I believe in all possibilities.
[Discussing the film Showgirls (1995)] I haven't seen that many poles mistreated since World War Two.
Most kids give you a watch or a wallet on your birthday, or a pocketbook or some flowers. My kid gave me a granddaughter instead. It was the best gift she could ever have given me.
I'm as American as Chevrolet.
It bums me out tremendously what the church has become, and if it's got me bummed, imagine what Jesus Christ must be feeling.
[Whoopi talking about smoking marijuana] Just because I do it doesn't mean you should do it.
[At age 11, coming home late after seeing 'The Nutcracker' on her own] And then you have to decide if you were going to tell the truth or if you were going to lie. I had a mother who demanded that you tell the truth or be insanely creative abut lying. It had to be a good story. If it was a terrible story, you an the risk of really having her disappointed in your lack of imagination.
The first time I saw the city through adult eyes was when I stumbled across a guy peeing. He was peeing outside! I was like, 'Wow! That's really freaky.' That was the first time I realized that grown-ups were weird, and that I was probably going to be one of them.
|Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit (1993)||$7,000,000|
|"The View" (1997)||$2,000,000/year (2007)|
(January 2003) Performing the lead role in August Wilson's play, "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" at the Royal Theater in New York City.
(November 2006) Currently hosting her own radio show with co-host Cubby, the show is heard in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Denver-Boulder, Cincinnati, Norfolk-Virginia Bch-Nwprt Nws, Las Vegas, Brunswick, Utica - Rome, Rochester, Monterey-Salinas-Santa Cruz.
(February 2008) Debut of her new line of bedding on QVC.
(2008) Host of "The View" (1997).
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