- Whoopi Goldberg
name = Whoopi Goldberg
caption = Goldberg at Comic Relief 2006
birthname = Caryn Elaine Johnson| birthdate = birth date and age|1955|11|13
New York City, New York, United States
Actor, comedian, radio DJ, author, singer, talk show host
yearsactive = 1970-present
spouse=Alvin Martin (1973-1979)
David Claessen (1986-1988)
Lyle Trachtenberg (1994–1995)
website = http://www.whoopi.com/
academyawards = Best Supporting Actress
baftaawards = Best Actress in a Supporting Role
emmyawards = Daytime Emmy - Outstanding Special Class
2002 "Beyond Tara: The Extraordinary Life of
goldenglobeawards = Best Actress - Motion Picture Drama
1986 "The Color Purple"
Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture
grammyawards = Best Comedy Album
1985 "Whoopi Goldberg: Direct From Broadway"
naacpimageawards = Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture
1988 "The Color Purple"
The Long Walk Home"
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
How Stella Got Her Groove Back"
Outstanding Actress in a TV Movie, Miniseries or Dramatic Special
tonyawards = Best Musical
2002 "Thoroughly Modern Milly (musical)|Thoroughly Modern Millie"
awards = NBR Award for Best Actress
1985 "The Color Purple"
Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress (film)
She is one of only thirteen people who have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony Award, including
Daytime Emmy Awards. In 1990, she became the second African Americanfemale performer after Hattie McDanielto win an Academy Award for acting. She has won two Golden Globe Awards and two Saturn Awards for her performances in " Star Trek Generations" and "Ghost".
Goldberg was born Caryn Elaine Johnson in
New York Cityand raised in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood, the daughter of Emma (née Harris), a nurseand teacher, and Robert James Johnson, a clergyman.cite book | last=Clark Hine | first=Darlene | title=Black Women in America | publisher=Oxford University Press | edition=Second edition | date=2005 | location=Oxford; New York | pages=531 | oclc=192019147] [cite web | title=Whoopi Goldberg Biography | url=http://www.filmreference.com/film/92/Whoopi-Goldberg.html | work=filmreference | date=2008 | accessdate=2008-05-17] Goldberg's mother was a "stern, strong and wise woman" who raised her as a single mother after Goldberg's father had left the family.cite news | author=Paul Chutkow | title=Whoopi's Revenge | url=http://www.cigaraficionado.com/Cigar/CA_Archives/CA_Show_Article/0,2322,830,00.html | work=Cigar Aficionado | date=1993 | accessdate=2008-05-17] Her stage name was taken from whoopee cushion, which she initially used as her stage name; she stated that "If you get a little gassy, you've got to let it go. So people used to say to me, 'You're like a whoopee cushion.' And that's where the name came from." [cite news | author=Deborah Solomon | title=Making Nice | url=http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/20/magazine/20wwln_q4.html | work=The New York Times | date=20 August 2006| accessdate=2008-05-17] [ [http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=%22Whoopi+Goldberg+with+Lisa+Yapp%22&search_type= Whoopi Goldberg with Lisa Yapp] ] She chose the surname "Goldberg" after Jewish ancestors of hers who bore the surname, having said that "Goldberg's a part of my family somewhere."cite book | last=Lyman | first=Darryl | title=Great African-American Women | publisher=Jonathan David Company, Inc. | date=2005 | location= | pages=94 | isbn=0824604598] In 1991, she referred to herself as a "Jewish- Catholicgirl from New York";cite news | author=Kathy Huffhines | title=Whoopi Reins Herself in For a Role She Feels Her Character In `Long Walk Home' Brings a Big Message | work=The Dallas Morning News | date=1991-04-01 | url=http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_action=doc&p_docid=0ED56209266BB2F0&p_docnum=1&s_accountid=AC0107121104421922107&s_orderid=NB0107121104413022831&s_dlid=DL0107121104423322126&s_ecproduct=DOC&s_ecprodtype=&s_username=mikef46l4l6&s_accountid=AC0107121104421922107&s_upgradeable=no | accessdate=2007-12-10] she has also stated that her mother is Jewish and referred to herself as a " Jewish-American Princess".cite news | author=Bob Strauss | title=Oh, Sister! Goldberg Gets Her `Act' Together | work=Chicago Sun-Times | date=1993-12-12 | url=http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_action=doc&p_docid=0EB4216A9AEA5469&p_docnum=1&s_accountid=AC0107121104460622310&s_orderid=NB0107121104453501371&s_dlid=DL0107121104462022327&s_ecproduct=DOC&s_ecprodtype=&s_username=mikef46l4l6&s_accountid=AC0107121104460622310&s_upgradeable=no | accessdate=2007-12-10] cite news | author= | title=Whoopi: No More Sis' Films: Actress Also Takes Shots at The Media And Others Who Do Not Understand Her Brand of Humor | work=The Fresno Bee | date=1993-12-11 | url=http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_product=FB&p_theme=fb&p_action=search&p_maxdocs=200&p_topdoc=1&p_text_direct-0=0EAE86FC079CF81A&p_field_direct-0=document_id&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D&s_trackval=GooglePM | accessdate=2008-05-17] A DNAtest, broadcast in the 2006 PBSdocumentary " African American Lives", traced most of her ancestry to the Papel and Bayote people of modern-day Guinea-Bissau. Her racial admixture test revealed her genetic makeup to be 92 percent sub-Saharan African and 8 percent European. [cite news | author=Hsien Hsien Lei | title=Whoopi Goldberg’s DNA Hails from W. Africa | url=http://www.geneticsandhealth.com/2007/02/10/whoopi-goldbergs-dna-hails-from-w-africa | work=Genetics and Health | date=10 February 2007 | accessdate=2008-05-17] [cite news | author=World Entertainment News | title=Goldberg Refuses Invite to African Ancestral | url=http://www.pr-inside.com/entertainment-blog/2007/02/26/goldberg-refuses-invite-to-african-ancestral | work=PR-Inside | date=26 February 2007 | accessdate=2008-05-17]
In an anecdote told by
Nichelle Nicholsin the documentary film "Trekkies", a young Goldberg was watching "Star Trek", and upon seeing Nichols' character Uhura, exclaimed, "Momma! There's a black lady on TV and she ain't no maid!" [cite video | people=Nichelle Nichols | title=Trekkies | medium=DVD | publisher=Neo Motion Pictures | date=1997] This spawned life-long fandom of "Star Trek" for Goldberg, who would eventually achieve a recurring guest-starring role in 1987's "".
Goldberg's on-screen talent first emerged in 1981-82 in "", an avant-garde ensemble feature by San Francisco filmmaker William Farley. Goldberg created "The Spook Show", a one-woman show devised of different character monologues, in 1983. Director
Mike Nicholswas instantly impressed and offered to bring the show to Broadway. The self-titled show ran from October 24, 1984to March 10, 1985for a total of 156 sold-out performances. While on Broadway, Goldberg's performance caught the eye of director Steven Spielberg. He was about to direct the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, " The Color Purple", written by Alice Walker. Having read the novel, she was ecstatic at being offered a lead role in her first motion picture. Goldberg received compliments on her acting from Spielberg, Walker, and music consultant Quincy Jones. "The Color Purple" was released in the late autumn of 1985, and was a critical and commercial success. It was later nominated for 11 Academy Awards including a nomination for Goldberg as Best Actress. The movie did not win any of its Academy Award nominations, but Goldberg won the Golden Globe Award.
A comedic and dramatic balance
Goldberg starred in
Penny Marshall's directorial debut, 1986 "Jumpin' Jack Flash", and began a relationship with David Claessen, a director of photography on the set, and the couple married later that year. The movie was a success, and during the next two years, three additional motion pictures featured Goldberg, "Burglar", " Fatal Beauty", and "The Telephone". Though not as successful as her prior motion pictures, Goldberg still garnered awards from the N.A.A.C.P. Image Awards. Claessen and Goldberg divorced after the box office failure of "The Telephone", which Goldberg was under contract to star in. She tried to sue the producers, but with no luck. The 1988 movie, " Clara's Heart", was critically acclaimed, and featured a young Neil Patrick Harris. As the 1980s concluded, she participated in the numerous HBO specials of "Comic Relief" with fellow comedians Robin Williamsand Billy Crystal.
In January 1990, Goldberg starred with
Jean Stapletonin the TV situation comedy " Bagdad Café". The show ran for two seasons on CBS. Simultaneously, Goldberg starred in " The Long Walk Home", portraying a woman in the Civil Rights Movement. She played a psychic in the 1990 film "Ghost", and became the first African-American female to win the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actressin nearly 50 years. " Premiere Magazine" named her character, Oda Mae Brown, the 95th best movie character of all time. [cite news | author=Kelly Borgeson, "et al"| title=The 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time | url=http://www.premiere.com/features/1539/the-100-greatest-movie-characters-of-all-time-page12.html | work=Premiere | date= | accessdate=2008-05-17]
Goldberg starred in "
Soapdish" and had a recurring role on ' as Guinanwhich she would reprise in two "Star Trek" movies. On May 29, 1992, " Sister Act" was released. The motion pictured grossed well over US$100 million and Goldberg was nominated for a Golden Globe. Next, she starred in " Sarafina!". During the next year, she hosted a late-night talk show, "The Whoopi Goldberg Show" and starred in two more motion pictures "Made in America" and '. From 1994 to 1995, Whoopi appeared in "Corrina, Corrina", " The Lion King" (voice), " The Pagemaster" (voice), " Boys on the Side", and "Moonlight and Valentino". Goldberg became the first African-American female to host the Academy Awards in 1994. She hosted the Awards again in 1996, 1999, and 2002. Goldberg released four motion pictures in 1996: " Bogus" (with Gerard Depardieuand Haley Joel Osment), "Eddie", " The Associate" (with Dianne Wiest) and " Ghosts of Mississippi" (with Alec Baldwinand James Woods). During the filming of "Eddie", Goldberg began dating co-star Frank Langella, a relationship which lasted until early 2000.
Goldberg wrote "Book" in October 1997, a collection featuring insights and opinions. In November and December 2005, Goldberg revived her one-woman show on Broadway at the
Lyceum Theatrein honor of its 20th anniversary.
From 1998 to 2001, Goldberg took supporting roles in the
Angela Bassettvehicle " How Stella Got Her Groove Back" and "Kingdom Come". She starred in the successful ABC-TV versions of " Cinderella", " A Knight in Camelot", and the TNT Original Movie, " Call Me Claus". In 1998, she gained a new audience when she became the "Center Square" on " Hollywood Squares", hosted by Tom Bergeron. She also served as Executive Producer, for which she was nominated for 4 Emmys. She left the show in 2002, and the "Center Square" was filled in with celebrities for the last two on-air seasons without Goldberg. In 2003, Goldberg returned to television, starring in the NBC comedy, " Whoopi", which was cancelled after one season. On her 48th birthday, Goldberg was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. During the next two years, she became a spokeswoman for Slim Fastand produced two television sitcoms: Lifetime's original drama " Strong Medicine" that ran for six seasons and "Whoopi's Littleburg", a Nickelodeon show for younger children. Goldberg made guest appearances on the Hit CW Networkcomedy, " Everybody Hates Chris", as an elderly character named Louise Clarkson. She produced the Noggin sitcom " Just For Kicks", in early 2006. She was a guest at Elton John's 60th birthday bash and concert at Madison Square Gardenon March 25, 2007.
Goldberg has recently announced her retirement from acting. She said in interviews that she wants to focus on "
The View" and her broadcasting career.
September 4 2007, Goldberg became the new moderator and co-host of " The View", replacing Rosie O'Donnell. O'Donnell stated on her official blog that she wanted Goldberg to be moderator. Goldberg's debut as moderator on "The View" drew 3.4 million viewers, 1 million fewer than O'Donnell's debut ratings. After two weeks, "The View", under Goldberg, was averaging 3.5 million total viewers, a 7% increase from 3.3 million under O'Donnell the previous season. [cite news | author=Michael Learmonth| title=Whoopi-led View on topshow tops Rosie's ratings | url=http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117972516.html?categoryid=1275&cs=1 | work=Variety | date=23 September 2007 | accessdate=2008-05-17]
Goldberg's first appearance on the show was controversial when she made statements about
Michael Vick's dogfighting as being "part of his cultural upbringing" and "not all that unusual" in parts of the South.cite news | author=Associated Press | title=Goldberg defends Vick in 'View' debut | url=http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2007/09/04/entertainment/e113436D18.DTL | work=The San Francisco Chronicle | date=2007-09-04 | accessdate=2008-05-17] [cite news | author=Steve Gorman | title=Whoopi Goldberg defends Vick's dog-fighting role | url=http://www.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idUSN0444500720070905 | work=Reuters | date=4 September 2007 | accessdate=2008-05-17] Another comment that stirred controversy was the statement that the Chinese "have a very different relationship to cats" and that "you and I would be very pissed if somebody ate kitty." [cite news | author=Venay Menon| title=The new View? No big whoop | url=http://www.thestar.com/article/253182 | work=The Star | date=5 September 2007| accessdate=2008-05-17]
Some defended Goldberg, including her co-host
Elisabeth Hasselbeck, saying that her comments were taken out of context by the press, because she repeated several times that she did not condone what Vick did. [cite news | author=Lisa de Moraes| title=Whoopi on 'The View,' Day Two: She Doesn't Condone Michael Vick's Dogfighting | url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/05/AR2007090502493.html | work=The Washington Post | date=6 September 2007| accessdate=2008-05-17]
On more than one occasion, Goldberg has expressed strong disagreement and irritation with different remarks made by Elisabeth Hasselbeck. On
October 3 2007, Hasselbeck and "The View" co-host Whoopi Goldberg were involved in a discussion about Hillary Clinton's new US$5,000 baby entitlement. The discussion became a little heated due to Hasselbeck's commenting on how it would lead to fewer abortions because of women wanting to keep the money. Goldberg told Hasselbeck to "back off a little bit" and asked her if she "had ever been in that position to make that decision." Goldberg added, "Most people do not want to have abortions. Most women do not have them with some sort of party going on. It is the hardest decision that a woman ever- wait- ever has to make. So, when you talk about it, a little bit of reverence to the women out there who have had to make this horrible decision. And one of the reasons that we have had to make this decision is because so many women were found bleeding, dead, with hangers in their bodies because they were doing it themselves. The idea of this was to make it safe and clean. That was the reason the law came into effect. That was why it was done." [cite news | author= | title= Access Hollywood | url=http://www.accesshollywood.com/news/ah6972.shtml | work=Access Hollywood | date= | accessdate=2008-05-17] [cite web | author=Chris Jancelewicz| title=Whoopi, Elisabeth Butt Heads Over Abortion | url=http://channels.netscape.ca/home/article.adp?id=20071004094909990016 | publisher= | date= | accessdate=2008-05-17]
Other media appearances
Goldberg performed the role of
Califia, the radiant Queen of California, for a theater presentation called " Golden Dreams" at Disney's California Adventure, the second gate at the Disneyland Resort, in 2000. The show, which explains the historyof the Golden State( California), opened on February 8, 2001, with the rest of the park.
Goldberg hosted the 2001 documentary short, "The Making Of
A Charlie Brown Christmas". In July 2006, Goldberg became the main host of the Universal Studios HollywoodBacklot Tour, in which she appears multiple times in video clips shown to the guests on monitors placed on the trams.
Goldberg made a guest appearance on the hit TV show, "
30 Rock", in which she played herself. She is shown as endorsing her own workout video. From August 2006 to March 2008, Goldberg hosted " Wake Up With Whoopi", a nationally syndicated morning radio program.
August 1 2007broadcast of " The View", Barbara Waltersannounced Goldberg would be joining the show as moderator, the position previously held by Meredith Vieiraand Rosie O'Donnell. [cite news | author=The Associated Press | title=Whoopi Goldberg joins 'The View' | url=http://www.cnn.com/2007/SHOWBIZ/TV/08/01/view.whoopi/index.html?eref=rss_mostpopular | work=CNN | date=2007 | accessdate=2008-05-17]
In October 2007 announced on air that she would be retiring from acting because she is no longer sent scripts, saying, "You know, there's no room for the very talented Whoopi. There's no room right now in the marketplace of cinema. Being a Black intellectual with a Jewish surname finally caught up to me." [cite news | author=World Entertainment News | title=Goldberg Retires From Acting | url=http://imdb.com/news/wenn/2007-10-04 | work=The Internet Movie Database News | date=4 October 2007 | accessdate=2008-05-17]
July 14 2008, Goldberg announced on "The View" that from July 29th- September 7th, she will perform in the Broadway musical Xanadu.
At age 18, during her marriage to 26-year-old Alvin Martin, Goldberg gave birth to their first and only child Alexandrea c.1973. After Goldberg's divorce from Martin, she moved to California and helped found the San Diego Repertory Company, where she used the stage name "Whoopi Cushion". Before succeeding as an actress, she worked as a
bank teller, a bricklayer, and a mortuary cosmetologist. Goldberg later went on to marry David Claessen, but they divorced after two years, in 1988. Whoopi later married Lyle Trachtenberg, but their marriage lasted only one year. In 2000, Whoopi broke up with her boyfriend of five years, Frank Langella.
Goldberg has three grandchildren through her daughter, Alexandrea Martin. The eldest, named Amarah Skye, born on
November 13, 1989, shares Goldberg's birthday.
In 1993, Goldberg was briefly involved with
Ted Danson, her co-star in "Made in America". Danson was married at the time and caring for his wife, who had survived a strokewhile giving birth in 1979. There was controversy following a comedy routine at a Friars' Clubroast in which Danson performed in blackface. Goldberg wrote the script.
Goldberg was involved in controversy in the summer of 2004 when, at a fundraiser for
John Kerryat Radio City Music Hallin New York, Goldberg made a sexual joke about President George W. Bush, by waving a bottle of wine, pointing toward her crotch and saying: "We should keep Bush where he belongs, and not in the White House." Slim-Fast, the biggest company in US health shake market, took exception to these comments made by Goldberg and dropped her from their current ad campaign. [url=http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2004/jul/16/uselections2004.film]
Awards and honors
Goldberg has received two
Academy Awardnominations, for "The Color Purple" and "Ghost", winning for "Ghost". She has received five Daytime Emmy nominations, winning one. She has received five Emmy nominations. She has received three Golden Globenominations, winning two. She won a Grammy Awardin 1985 and a Tony Awardas a producer of the Broadway musical "Thoroughly Modern Millie". She has won three People's Choice Awards. In 1999, she received the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against DefamationVanguard Award for her continued work in supporting the gay and lesbian community. She has been nominated for five American Comedy Awardswith two wins. In 2001, she won the prestigious Mark Twain Prize for American Humorat the Kennedy Center.
Goldberg is one of few to win an Oscar, a Grammy, a Tony, and an Emmy. She has starred in over 150 films, and during a period in the 1990s, Whoopi was the highest-paid actress of all time. Her humanitarian efforts include working for "Comic Relief", recently reuniting with
Billy Crystaland Robin Williamsfor the 20th Anniversary of "Comic Relief".
In February 2002, Goldberg sent her Oscar statuette from "Ghost" to the
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciencesto be cleaned and replated. During this time, the statuette was taken from its shipping container, and later retrieved by the shipping company, UPS.cite news | author=Stephen M. Silverman| title=Whoopi Goldberg's Oscar: Lost & Found | date= 6 February 2002| work=People | url=http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,623471,00.html | accessdate=2008-03-15]
She is currently working on creating the Stanton Award, awarded to best comedic performance.
* "Whoopi Goldberg: Direct from Broadway" (1985)
* "Carol, Carl, Whoopi, and Robin" (1987)
* "Whoopi Goldberg: Fontaine... Why Am I Straight?" (1988) (also writer)
Pee-wee's Playhouse Christmas Special(guest star 1988)
* "" (recurring guest star from 1988-1993 as
* "My Past Is My Own" (1989)
* "Kiss Shot" (1989)
* "Tales from the Whoop: Hot Rod Brown Class Clown" (1990)
Bagdad Cafe" (1990 - 1991)
Tales From The Crypt" (Dead Wait) (1991)
Captain Planet and the Planeteers" (1990 - 1993) (voice)
Defenders of Dynatron City" (1992) (voice)
* "The Whoopi Goldberg Show" (1992 - 1993)
* "Yuletide in the 'hood" (1993) (voice)
* "A Cool Like That Christmas" (1994) (voice)
* "Denver the Last Dinosaur" (1994) (voice)
The Sunshine Boys" (1995) (Cameo)
* "" (1995 - 1999) (voice)
* "Mother Goose: A Rappin' and Rhymin' Special" (1997) (voice)
* "Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella" (1997)
A Knight in Camelot" (1998)
The Hollywood Squares" (center square from 1998-2002) (also producer)
Alice in Wonderland" (1999)
* "Jackie's Back!" (1999)
Foxbusters" (1999 - 2000) (voice)
Celebrity Dish" (2000)
Whose Line Is It Anyway?" (2000)
The Magical Legend of the Leprechauns" (1999)
What Makes a Family" (2001) (also executive producer)
Call Me Claus" (2001) (also executive producer)
* "Madeline: My Fair Madeline" (2002) (voice)
It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie" (2002)
Absolutely Fabulous- "Gay", Christmas special (2002)
Good Fences" (2003) (also producer)
Whoopi" (2003 - 2004) (also executive producer)
* "Littleburg" (2004) (canceled after five episodes)
* "Whoopi: Back to Broadway - the 20th Anniversary" (2005) (also executive producer and writer)
Just for Kicks" (2006) (developer and executive producer)
Dawn French's Girls Who Do Comedy" (2006) (three part British TV series)
* "" (2006)
Everybody Hates Chris" (2006)
30 Rock" (2007)
The View" (2007-present)
*" (2008) (Narrator)
* 1985: "Whoopi: Original Broadway Recording"
* 1988: "Whoopi Goldberg: Fontaine... Why Am I Straight?"
* 1992: "
Sister Act- Soundtrack"
* 1993: "
Sister Act 2- Soundtrack"
* 1993: "Whoopi: The 20th Anniversary Show"
List of persons who have won Academy, Emmy, Grammy, and Tony Awards
List of Black Academy Award winners and nominees
* [http://www.whoopi.com/ Whoopi Goldberg official website] (formerly advertised her radio show; as of October 1st, 2008 simply says "Thanks For Listening")
* [http://www.dyslexiaonline.com/famous/famous.htm Interview with Whoopi about dyslexia]
BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
for "Frankie and Johnny"succession box |title=
Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Drama
for "The Color Purple" | before=
Places in the Heart" |after= Marlee Matlin
Children of a Lesser God"
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