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Also Known As: Caryn Elaine Johnson Died:
Born: November 13, 1955 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: New York City, New York, USA Profession: comedian, actor, producer, playwright, author, talk show host, mortuary cosmetologist, bricklayer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Comedienne, actress, author, talk show host and political activist Whoopi Goldberg was one of the more unique personalities to arrive on the entertainment scene of the 1980s and went on to become a lasting, formidable presence over the decades that followed. Mining her often unflattering early background for material, Goldberg first came to notoriety with her eponymous 1984 Broadway character sketch show, directed by the renowned Mike Nichols. Her auspicious feature film debut as the abused Celie in Steven Spielberg's acclaimed drama "The Color Purple" (1985) garnered her accolades and overnight stardom, which were then combined with box office gold and an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her hilarious role in the blockbuster romance "Ghost" (1990). Other projects like "Sister Act" (1992) added to her commercial success, while her work with fellow comedians Billy Crystal and Robin Williams on the annual "Comic Relief" benefit concerts allowed her to do the two things she loved most - make people laugh and help those in need. A frequent personality on television, Goldberg acted as host of the Academy Awards no fewer than four times before becoming one of the more outspoken and controversial...

Comedienne, actress, author, talk show host and political activist Whoopi Goldberg was one of the more unique personalities to arrive on the entertainment scene of the 1980s and went on to become a lasting, formidable presence over the decades that followed. Mining her often unflattering early background for material, Goldberg first came to notoriety with her eponymous 1984 Broadway character sketch show, directed by the renowned Mike Nichols. Her auspicious feature film debut as the abused Celie in Steven Spielberg's acclaimed drama "The Color Purple" (1985) garnered her accolades and overnight stardom, which were then combined with box office gold and an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her hilarious role in the blockbuster romance "Ghost" (1990). Other projects like "Sister Act" (1992) added to her commercial success, while her work with fellow comedians Billy Crystal and Robin Williams on the annual "Comic Relief" benefit concerts allowed her to do the two things she loved most - make people laugh and help those in need. A frequent personality on television, Goldberg acted as host of the Academy Awards no fewer than four times before becoming one of the more outspoken and controversial co-hosts of the daytime talk show "The View" (ABC, 1997- ) in 2007. One of the few people to have won an Oscar, Grammy, Tony and Emmy - not to mention the prestigious Mark Twain Award for Humor - Goldberg both entertained and inspired people across the globe, regardless of their sex, race, creed or color.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:


CAST: (feature film)

2.
 Big Stone Gap (2014)
4.
7.
 Toy Story 3 (2010)
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9.
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Began performing with the Hudson Guild children's program and the Helena Rubenstein Children's Theater at age eight
:
Dropped out of high school and became in her words "a junkie"
:
Moved to San Diego with her one-year-old daughter; co-founded the San Diego Repertory Theater
:
Became a member of the improv group Spontaneous Combustion
1980:
Joined Blake Street Hawkeyes Theater
1982:
Began solo career touring in San Francisco with "The Spook Show"; later traveled through America and Europe
1983:
Co-authored the play "Moms Mabley" about the life of the pioneering black stand-up comic
1984:
Performed five different characters in the Broadway show "Whoopi Goldberg," directed by Mike Nichols
1985:
Made feature film acting debut in Steven Spielberg┬┐s "The Color Purple"; received Best Actress Oscar nomination
1985:
First TV appearance, "Mothers by Daughters" (PBS)
1986:
Began co-hosting "Comic Relief" (HBO) with Billy Crystal and Robin Williams
1988:
Played recurring role of Guinan, an enigmatic alien bartender on the syndicated sci-fi series "Star Trek: The Next Generation"
1988:
Penned the HBO live comedy special "Whoopi Goldberg's Fontaine: Why Am I Straight"
1990:
Produced and performed on the comedy special "HBO Comedy Hour Live"
1990:
Played psychic Oda Mae Brown in the critically acclaimed drama "Ghost"; became the first African-American female to win the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in nearly 50 years
1990:
Provided voice of Gaia for the animated series "Captain Planet and the Planeteers"; received Daytime Emmy nomination
1992:
Made publishing debut with a re-vamped version of <i>Alice in Wonderland</i> as an urban fairy tale called <i>Alice</i>
1992:
Starred in the comedy hit "Sister Act"
1992:
Hosted the short-lived talk show "The Whoopi Goldberg Show"
1993:
Took to the habit again for the inevitable sequel "Sister Act II"
1994:
Became the first female and first solo black host of an Academy Awards show
1994:
Voiced one of the hyenas in Disney's blockbuster animated hit "The Lion King"
1995:
Signed a two-picture deal with Disney for nearly $20 million to appear in the ABC remake of "Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella" (1997) and "A Knight in Camelot" (1998)
1996:
Co-starred with Frank Langella in the basketball comedy "Eddie"
1996:
Returned to host the 68th Academy Awards telecast
:
Formed One Ho Productions
1997:
Replaced Nathan Lane as Pseudolus in the Broadway revival of "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum"
1998:
Joined the new syndicated version of "Hollywood Squares" as the center square; also executive produced through One Ho Productions; earned 4 Emmy nominations
1999:
Returned for a third time to host the 71st Academy Awards
2001:
With Barbra Streisand, served as executive producer of the Lifetime movie "What Makes a Family"
2001:
Appeared as Death in the combined live-action animated fantasy film "Monkeybone"
2002:
Returned for a fourth time to host the 74th Academy Awards
2002:
Reprised role of Guinan for "Star Trek: Nemesis"
2003:
Cast in the short-lived NBC sitcom "Whoopi" as Mavis Rae, a member of a former one-hit wonder singing group
2005:
Voiced Franny, a wise old goat in the animated feature "Racing Stripes"
2005:
Starred in "Whoopi: Back to Broadway ┬┐ The 20th Anniversary," an HBO film of the one-woman show she performed in New York
2006:
Launched live syndicated radio program "Wake Up With Whoopi"
2006:
Joined the cast of "Everybody Hates Chris" (The CW) in a recurring role as an overly protective grandmother of a neighbor girl
2007:
Replaced Rosie O'Donnell as moderator and new co-host of "The View" (ABC)
2008:
Joined the Broadway musical "Xanadu" as the goddess Aphrodite and Calliope
2010:
Voiced the character of Stretch the Octopus in the animated feature "Toy Story 3"
2010:
Joined an ensemble cast for Tyler Perry's "For Colored Girls"
2011:
Produced the Broadway musical adaptation of "Sister Act"
2012:
Played God in the romantic drama "A Little Bit of Heaven"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Washington Irving High School: New York , New York -
St. Columba Church Parish School: New York , New York -

Notes

The confusion over Ms. Goldberg's date of birth stems from when she was a young actress starting out. According to her, at the beginning her career, she lied about her age and added six years because "nobody would hire me to act. Everyone said I was too young". Her correct birthdate is 1955, not the 1949 as is often reported. (Source: Daily News, February 1, 1998)

Goldberg also padded her resume to indicate she had appeared in the chorus of such Broadway musicals as "Hair" and "Pippin"

In his biography of Goldberg, James Robert Parish discovered birth records for a Caren Johnson born in NYC on November 13, 1955.

The "projects" in which she grew up that she referred to in her 1991 Oscar acceptance speech were at 288 Tenth Avenue near 26th Street in the Chelsea district of Manhattan.

She contributed to a book about women's reproductive rights, detailing how she self-induced an abortion with a coat hangar when she was 14 years old.

On March 2000, she launched the Web site Whoopi.com.

Honored by the Starlight Foundation as Humanitarian of the Year (1989).

Named Woman of the Year (1992) by Harvard's Hasty Pudding Theatricals, the nation's oldest undergraduate dramatic group.

In 1991, a breeder named a rose the Whoopi in Goldberg's honor.

Reportedly, Goldberg signed a book contract with William Morrow for approximately $6 million in July 1996. If industry speculation is accurate, this deal marks the then-largest book advance ever paid to an entertainer. Goldberg has announced that she will write without a ghost writer. She issued a statement: "I decided to write this book because I felt it was really time to say something--and I have A LOT of 'somethings' to say something about." --From New York Post, July 10, 1996.

"I believe that racism is something that we're always going to live with. What we in America have to decide is whether we're going to be covert racists or overt racists. The O.J. trial and the church burnings in the South have uncovered a festering problem that no one wants to talk about." --Whoppi Goldberg to Interview, January 1997.

Received an honorary degree from Brandeis University in 1997

When appearing at Harvard in November 1998, Goldberg was asked about the media's portraying Oprah Winfrey as the ideal black woman. Her answer: "I know if I answer you truthfully, I'll have to answer for it in the media, and I don't want to get into that with her." --From USA Today, November 11, 1998.

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Alvin Martin. Drug counselor. Was Goldberg's counselor in early 1970s; first husband; married in 1973; divorced in late 1970s; father of Goldberg's daughter.
companion:
David Schein. Playwright, actor. Lived with Goldberg from 1980 to c. 1985.
husband:
David Claessen. Director of photography. Married on September 1, 1986 in Las Vegas, Nevada; separated in 1987; divorced in October 1988.
companion:
Eddie Gold. Director of photography. Together from 1987 to 1990.
companion:
Timothy Dalton. Actor. Together from 1990 to 1991.
companion:
Ted Danson. Actor. Starred together in "Made in America" (1993); no longer together; performed a risque monologue in blackface at a 1993 Friars Club Roast in honor of Goldberg, provoking some guests (i.e., scandalized talk show host Montel Williams) to walk out of hall.
companion:
Jeffrey Cohen. Orthodontist.
husband:
Lyle Trachtenberg. Union organizer. Born c. 1954; met on the set of "Corrina, Corrina" where he was unionizing crew members; married on October 1, 1994; filed for divorce on October 26, 1995.
companion:
Frank Langella. Actor. Co-starred together in "Eddie" (1996); together from c. October 1995 until early 2000.
VIEW COMPLETE COMPANION LISTING

Family close complete family listing

father:
Robert James Johnson. Preacher. Born in 1930 in South Carolina; separated from Goldberg's mother (abandoned family when Whoopi was a toddler); died on May 25, 1993 of stomach cancer and complications from HIV.
mother:
Emma Johnson. Separated from Goldberg's father.
brother:
Clyde K Johnson. Driver. Works as Goldberg's personal driver on film sets.
daughter:
Alexandrea Martin. Born in 1973; gave birth to daughter Amarah on November 13, 1989; married in 1993; gave birth to son Jerzy c. 1995.
granddaughter:
Amarah Skye Martin. Born on November 13, 1989.
grandson:
Jerzey Martin. Born c. 1995.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"Alice" Bantam Books
"Book" William Morrow
"Whoopi Goldberg: Her Journey from Poverty to Mega-Stardom" Carol Publishing Group

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