Whoopi Goldberg


Actor, Comedian
Whoopi Goldberg

About

Also Known As
Caryn Elaine Johnson
Birth Place
New York City, New York, USA
Born
November 13, 1955

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 char...

Family & Companions

Alvin Martin
Husband
Drug counselor. Was Goldberg's counselor in early 1970s; first husband; married in 1973; divorced in late 1970s; father of Goldberg's daughter.
David Schein
Companion
Playwright, actor. Lived with Goldberg from 1980 to c. 1985.
David Claessen
Husband
Director of photography. Married on September 1, 1986 in Las Vegas, Nevada; separated in 1987; divorced in October 1988.
Eddie Gold
Companion
Director of photography. Together from 1987 to 1990.

Bibliography

"Book"
Whoopi Goldberg, William Morrow (1997)
"Whoopi Goldberg: Her Journey from Poverty to Mega-Stardom"
James Robert Parish, Carol Publishing Group (1997)
"Alice"
Whoopi Goldberg, Bantam Books (1992)

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 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.

Born Caryn Elaine Johnson on Nov. 13, 1955 - though some sources place the date at 1950 or even 1949 - in the Chelsea public housing projects in New York City. Raised by a single mother, Goldberg's affinity for performance was developed at an early age through theater work at the Helena Rubenstein Children's Theater. Dyslexia and a lack of teacher understanding forced her to drop out of high school after just two weeks, leaving her to struggle to make ends meet with odd jobs like make-up artist at a funeral parlor. Goldberg also dealt with drug addiction during this period, and ended up marrying her substance abuse counselor, Alvin Martin, in 1973. The couple separated and divorced by the following year, but produced a daughter, Alexandra. The 19-year-old Goldberg and her daughter next migrated to San Diego, CA, where she pursued her dream of acting, quickly gaining citywide notice for performances in stage productions of "Mother Courage," as well as comedy with an improvisational group called "Spontaneous Combustion." During this period, Goldberg also adopted her stage name, which began as Whoopi Cushion, but later adopted the "Goldberg" surname because her mother felt the original was not "Jewish enough" to make her a star. According to Goldberg, the "Whoopi" part came from a lifelong habit of flatulence.

While in San Diego, Goldberg began honing a series of character monologues that came together under the umbrella of a one-woman production called "Spook Show" in 1983. The show, which tackled issues of race and urban life through uncanny and moving portrayals of young children, genius junkies, and other eccentrics and savants, took Goldberg to San Francisco before settling off-Broadway. "Spook Show" caught the eye of famed writer/director Mike Nichols of "The Graduate" (1968) fame, who helped her remount "Spook Show" - now simply titled "Whoopi Goldberg" - for Broadway audiences the following year. The show earned almost universal acclaim for the versatility of her acting and writing, as well as a Grammy for the show's album. Goldberg returned to the Bay Area to mount another one-woman show, "Moms," based on the life of pioneering black female comedian "Moms" Mabley. She then returned to New York to continue with her self-titled smash hit, which was broadcast on HBO in 1985. Among those impressed by Goldberg's skills was director Steven Spielberg, who was about to begin filming an adaptation of Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Color Purple. Spielberg offered Goldberg the film's key role, that of the saintly Celie, who survives abuse and separation from her children to find true happiness. The 1985 film was a box office hit, and Goldberg found herself on the receiving end of the lion's share of accolades, as well as a Golden Globe Award for Best Leading Actress.

The projects that followed in "Purple's" wake, however, rarely matched that film's standard of quality or depth of character for Goldberg. "Burglar" (1987) and "Fatal Beauty" (1987) were boorish attempts to inject her salty but cerebral comedy into witless action pieces. "Homer and Eddie" (1989) was a ghastly road picture/tearjerker with Jim Belushi as her mentally-challenged best friend. She briefly married David Claessen, the cinematographer on one of the most ill-fated projects from this period, a dismal comedy/drama titled "The Telephone" (1986) which was directed by actor Rip Torn and written by counterculture firebrands Harry Nilsson and Terry Southern. But Penny Marshall's broad action-comedy "Jumping Jack Flash" (1986) and the sweet period drama "Clara's Heart" (1988) had their fair share of ardent admirers. Goldberg also became a seemingly ubiquitous presence on TV, racking up over 80 appearances in specials (most notably HBO's "Comic Relief" and its follow-ups), several memorable guest spots (including a 1986 Emmy-nominated turn on ABC's "Moonlighting"), in addition to a stint co-starring with Jean Stapleton on "Bagdad Cafe" (1990-91), a short-lived CBS comedy series based on the 1987 feature film of the same name. An avowed "Star Trek" fanatic, Goldberg jumped at the chance to play a likable if rather modest recurring role as Guinan, the enigmatic alien bartender, on the hit syndicated series "Star Trek: The Next Generation" (1988-1994), and reprised the role in the feature "Star Trek: Generations" (1994).

In 1990, Goldberg captured the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in the lachrymose supernatural fantasy "Ghost," once again finding herself on a career upswing with her hilarious portrayal of the obnoxious fake psychic, Oda Mae Brown, who must help Sam Wheat (Patrick Swayze) protect his girlfriend, Molly Jensen (Demi Moore), despite the fact that he himself is dead and only Oda Mae can hear him. Goldberg's win made her only the second African-American woman to win an Oscar for acting - with the first being 50 years prior, with Hattie McDaniel's win for "Gone with the Wind" (1939). Coming off the heels of her important and some said, surprising win - as comedic actors had rarely won at Oscar time - she went on to a dignified dramatic role in the pre-civil rights '50s-era film, "The Long Walk Home" (1990) and a comic part in "Soapdish" (1991) before starring in the surprise blockbuster comedy of 1992, "Sister Act." The film, which grossed more than $300 million worldwide, starred Goldberg as a Reno lounge singer who impersonates a nun in a San Francisco convent when a mob boss puts her on his hit list. She ended 1992 with a strong supporting role as a cop in Robert Altman's "The Player" and the lead in "Sarafina!" (1992).

At this time, Goldberg also began hosting her own late night one-on-one chat show, "The Whoopi Goldberg Show" (syndicated, 1992-93). Though the informal show featured major stars, Goldberg was more of a gushy friend than a probing interviewer. Lackluster ratings led to a quick cancellation. She returned to films with "Made in America" (1993), a comedy co-starring Ted Danson, and the inevitable sequel, "Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit" (also 1993). The former project attracted more attention for her offscreen romance with Danson, which culminated in a near lethal career decision by the actor to appear in blackface at a tribute for Goldberg. Like many of her relationships with actors - including Timothy Dalton and Frank Langella - the couple quietly split after a brief affair. A more impressive highlight from this period came in 1995, when she added her handprints, footprints, and impressions of her trademark braids to the historic sidewalk outside Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood - a dream realized for someone born into poverty and hard times.

Far from making her difficult to cast, Goldberg's unusual and considerable talents and her earthy, straightforward persona kept her extremely busy, from hosting the Academy Awards ceremonies numerous times, performing in the low-key romance "Corinna, Corinna" (1994), voicing Shenzi, a manic, scheming hyena in "The Lion King" (1994), or playing a lesbian in the road film, "Boys on the Side" (1995). She was all-but-inescapable in 1996, prompting her to quip in 1997 that most of her 30 movies were "released last year." She starred in the passable comedy "Eddie," as an ardent basketball fan who wins the chance to coach her favorite team; the whimsical misfire "Bogus," about an orphaned boy who creates an imaginary friend to help him cope with his mother's death; "The Associate," a remake of a 1979 French/West German comedy, portraying an investment banker who furthers her career by employing male drag and "whiteface" to personify a fictional white male CEO; and Rob Reiner's "Ghosts of Mississippi," a return to civil rights-era drama, as Myrlie Evers-Williams, the wife of slain NAACP officer Medgar Evers. She also made her third attempt at marriage in 1994 by wedding union organizer Lyle Tractenberg, whom she met on the set of "Corrina, Corrina." The couple split the following year.

Perhaps watching those four movies rack up disappointing to outright disastrous grosses made Goldberg hungry for a change, so she returned to the Broadway stage, replacing Nathan Lane in a gender-switching turn as Pseudolus in the revival of "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" - her first attempt at a book musical. Never mind that the show's leering combination of vaudeville and Plautus presented a somewhat dated attitude toward women, Goldberg made the role (originated by the great Zero Mostel) her own, identifying particularly with the Roman slave's thirst for freedom. After appearing as herself in two 1997 features - "Burn, Hollywood, Burn" and "In & Out" - and writing a book of observations, simply titled Book, she played Delilah, a woman dying of cancer in "How Stella Got Her Groove Back" (1998) and a gay detective in "The Deep End of the Ocean" (1999). For the former, her death scene was touching but in a way extraneous to the adaptation by Ron Bass and Terry McMillan of McMillan's novel, which yielded thinner material than the duo's previous "Waiting to Exhale" (1995). As for the latter, her detective seemed gay only for the sake of political correctness, and not for anything directly connected to the ponderous story itself.

Goldberg saved some of her best work at the end of the 1990s for the small screen. She appeared sparingly in Christopher Reeve's movingly acted "In the Gloaming" (HBO, 1997) as the live-in nurse of AIDS-stricken Robert Sean Leonard, who had come home to die. She acted in two spare-no-expense extravaganzas, ABC's multiracial "Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella" (1997) as Queen Constantina, and NBC's "Alice in Wonderland" (1999) as a laid-back, marvelously made-up Cheshire Cat - both of which were sandwiched around another "Wonderful World of Disney" presentation (fulfilling her contractual obligation to the Mouse), "A Knight in Camelot" (ABC, 1998), a remake of Mark Twain's "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court." That year also saw her executive produce and occupy the center square for a new version of "Hollywood Squares" (syndicated, 1998-2004), which earned four Emmy nominations. She found time to squeeze in a role on the Lifetime medical drama, "Strong Medicine" (2000-06), for which she also wrote several episodes. She also continued to lend her voice to quality feature animation projects like "A Christmas Carol" (1997), "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Movie" (1998) and "The Rugrats Movie" (1998). In addition to gracing the cast of "Girl Interrupted" (1999), starring Winona Ryder and Angelina Jolie, Goldberg executive produced and starred in "Kingdom Come" (2001), an amusing black family drama about the unions and crises that erupt after a much-disliked relative passes away. Offscreen, Goldberg earned her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles in 2001.

Goldberg subsequently busied herself primarily with cameos and voiceover appearances in films of widely varying quality, with more notable leading appearances on the small screen in telepics including the Christmas-themed "Call Me Claus" (2001) and opposite her "Color Purple" co-star Danny Glover in "Good Fences" (2003), a TV movie about an upwardly mobile, 1970s-era black family struggling to adapt to their new posh Connecticut neighborhood. Her 2003 NBC sitcom effort "Whoopi," which cast her as opinionated ex-lounge singer-turned-hotelier Mavis Rae, debuted to promising returns but was subsequently cancelled during its first season. She was also a pitchperson for the Slim-Fast weight loss system in 2004 until her salty political comments bashing President George Bush at a Democratic fundraiser prompted the company to drop her. More roles as herself and animated voiceovers followed, including the children's TV series "Littleburg" (2004) as Mayor Whoopi, "The Lion King 1 1/2" (2004), "Pinocchio 3000" (2004) and (as Franny the Goat) "Racing Stripes" (2005). She also netted a Daytime Emmy in 2002 as the host of "Beyond Tara: The Extraordinary Life of Hattie McDaniel," about the "Gone with the Wind" actress who had preceded her as an Oscar winner.

Meanwhile, the actress continued to do much of her best work in the theater, receiving a Tony Award for best musical as one of the producers of "Thoroughly Modern Millie" in 2002 and playing the title character in "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" by August Wilson at New York's Royale Theater in 2003. Two decades after her acclaimed one-woman show took Broadway by storm, Goldberg revived and updated her performance in 2004 for "Whoopi: The 20th Anniversary Show" in a 12-week run at New York's Lyceum Theater, revisiting characters Fontaine, the Surfer Chick and adding Lurleen, a middle-aged character who talks about topics like dieting and menopause. The show was later broadcast on HBO as "Whoopi: Back to Broadway" in 2005. Goldberg continued to spread her attentions across multiple media in 2006, serving as executive producer on "Just for Kicks" (Nickelodeon, 2005-06), a children's series about a girls' soccer team; and hosting a syndicated morning radio talk show, "Wake Up with Whoopi," which earned headlines for the good-natured manner in which she handled some on-air attacks from crass shock jocks, Opie and Anthony.

In 2007, Goldberg once again vaulted to the top of the pop culture register by ending months of speculation from TV critics and bloggers by being named as the moderator for "The View" by executive producer and co-host Barbara Walters. As a hoped for less-combative host than her predecessor, Rosie O'Donnell, she began her tenure at the show in September of that year. While serving as co-host of "The View" - which often earned her headlines for her disagreements with her politically opposed fellow couch sitter Elizabeth Hasselbeck - Goldberg remained active on television and in film, voicing Stretch for "Toy Story 3" (2010) and joined the ensemble cast for Tyler Perry's adaptation of "For Colored Girls" (2010), which also starred Janet Jackson, Thandie Newton and Phylicia Rashad. On the small screen, she had a small guest appearance as an NA sponsor on "The Cleaner" (A&E, 2008-09), while landing episodes of comedies like "The Middle" (ABC, 2009- ) and "Glee" (Fox, 2009-15), where she was hailed for her performance on the latter as the dean from the New York Academy of Dramatic Arts.

By Paul Gaita

Filmography

 

Director (Feature Film)

Moms Mabley: I Got Somethin' to Tell You (2013)
Director

Cast (Feature Film)

Tyler Perry's The List (2018)
Nobody's Fool (2018)
9/11 (2017)
Misery Loves Comedy (2015)
Herself
The Christmas Pearl (2015)
Big Stone Gap (2015)
Top Five (2014)
Herself
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)
A Day Late and a Dollar Short (2014)
Black Dog, Red Dog (2012)
A Little Bit of Heaven (2012)
The Little Engine That Could (2011)
Voice
Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey (2011)
Narrator
Toy Story 3 (2010)
Voice
For Colored Girls (2010)
Teenage Paparazzi (2010)
Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail (2009)
Meerkat Manor: The Story Begins (2008)
Narrator
Snow Buddies (2008)
Mia and the Migoo (2008)
Voice
Farce of the Penguins (2007)
Homie Spumoni (2007)
If I Had Known I Was a Genius (2007)
Everyone's Hero (2006)
Doogal (2006)
The Aristocrats (2005)
Herself
Racing Stripes (2005)
The Lion King 1 1/2 (2004)
Pauly Shore is Dead (2004)
Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2 (2004)
Herself
Good Fences (2003)
Blizzard (2003)
Voice Blizzard
More Dogs Than Bones (2003)
Searching for Debra Winger (2003)
Herself
Showboy (2002)
It's a Very Muppet Christmas Movie (2002)
Star Trek: Nemesis (2002)
Actor (Uncredited)
Rat Race (2001)
Call Me Claus (2001)
What Makes a Family (2001)
Terry Harrison
Monkeybone (2001)
KINGDOM COME (2001)
The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (2000)
Actor (Uncredited)
Mary Pickford: A Life on Film (2000)
Host
Mary Pickford: A Life on Film (2000)
Narrator
Alice in Wonderland (1999)
Our Friend, Martin (1999)
Voice
Girl, Interrupted (1999)
Get Bruce (1999)
Herself
Jackie's Back! (1999)
The Deep End of the Ocean (1999)
A Knight in Camelot (1998)
Vivien Morgan
AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies (1998)
Alegria (1998)
Cast
The Rugrats Movie (1998)
Voice
How Stella Got Her Groove Back (1998)
Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella (1997)
Burn, Hollywood, Burn (1997)
Herself
In the Gloaming (1997)
Myrna
Destination Anywhere (1997)
In & Out (1997)
Herself
A Christmas Carol (1997)
Voice
Theodore Rex (1996)
The Associate (1996)
Ghosts of Mississippi (1996)
Eddie (1996)
Bogus (1996)
Harriet Franklin
The Pitch (1996)
Herself
Inside the Academy Awards '95 (1995)
Performer
Boys on the Side (1995)
The Celluloid Closet (1995)
Herself
Moonlight and Valentino (1995)
Star Trek: Generations (1994)
The Lion King (1994)
Voice
Corrina, Corrina (1994)
The Little Rascals (1994)
Liberation (1994)
Narration
Naked in New York (1994)
The Pagemaster (1994)
Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit (1993)
World Beat (1993)
Made In America (1993)
National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon 1 (1993)
Sister Act (1992)
The Player (1992)
The Magical World of Chuck Jones (1992)
Herself
Sarafina! (1992)
Wisecracks (1991)
Herself
Soapdish (1991)
House Party 2 (1991)
Ghost (1990)
The Long Walk Home (1990)
Kiss Shot (1989)
Sarah Collins
Homer and Eddie (1989)
Eddie Cervi
Clara's Heart (1988)
The Telephone (1988)
Burglar (1987)
Fatal Beauty (1987)
Jumpin' Jack Flash (1986)
The Color Purple (1985)

Producer (Feature Film)

The Christmas Pearl (2015)
Executive Producer
A Day Late and a Dollar Short (2014)
Executive Producer
Moms Mabley: I Got Somethin' to Tell You (2013)
Executive Producer
Moms Mabley: I Got Somethin' to Tell You (2013)
Producer
Good Fences (2003)
Producer
Call Me Claus (2001)
Executive Producer
What Makes a Family (2001)
Executive Producer
Ruby's Bucket of Blood (2001)
Executive Producer
The Mao Game (1999)
Executive Producer

Music (Feature Film)

Doogal (2006)
Song Performer
Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella (1997)
Song Performer
The Lion King (1994)
Song Performer
Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit (1993)
Song Performer
Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit (1993)
Song

Special Thanks (Feature Film)

In & Out (1997)
Special Thanks To

Misc. Crew (Feature Film)

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week (2016)
Interviewee
Misery Loves Comedy (2015)
Other
Top Five (2014)
Other
The Muppets (2011)
Cameo
The Aristocrats (2005)
Other
Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2 (2004)
Other
Searching for Debra Winger (2003)
Other
Star Trek: Nemesis (2002)
Other
The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (2000)
Other
Get Bruce (1999)
Other
Burn, Hollywood, Burn (1997)
Other
In & Out (1997)
Other
The Pitch (1996)
Other
The Celluloid Closet (1995)
Other
The Magical World of Chuck Jones (1992)
Other
Wisecracks (1991)
Other

Cast (Special)

And the Oscar Goes To... (2014)
Herself
Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project (2007)
The 30th Annual People's Choice Awards (2004)
The Disco Ball (2003)
100% NYC: A Concert Celebrating the Tribeca Film Festival (2003)
Willie Nelson & Friends: Live and Kickin' (2003)
Absolutely Fabulous New York Special (2003)
The 6th Annual Sears Soul Train Christmas Starfest (2003)
Harry For The Holidays (2003)
Unchained Memories: Readings From the Slave Narratives (2003)
Richard Pryor: I Ain't Dead Yet, #*%$#@!! (2003)
Marshalls' Women in Comedy (2002)
The Heroes of Black Comedy (2002)
The 74th Annual Academy Awards (2002)
Host
The Great American History Quiz: America at War (2001)
Beyond Tara: The Extraordinary Life of Hattie McDaniel (2001)
Narrator
Lifetime Presents: Disney's American Teacher Awards (2001)
Presenter
SAG Awards Show (2001)
Performer
The Comedy Store: The E! True Hollywood Story (2001)
The Making of "A Charlie Brown Christmas" (2001)
7th Annual Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards (2001)
Presenter
Independence Day 2001 (2001)
I Love Lucy -- 50th Anniversary Special (2001)
The Kennedy Center: Mark Twain Prize -- Celebrating Whoopi Goldberg (2001)
RuPaul (2001)
Interviewee
AFI's 100 Years... 100 Laughs (2000)
Chuck Jones: Extremes and In-Betweens -- A Life in Animation (2000)
Here's to You, Charlie Brown: 50 Great Years! (2000)
Host
Patrick Swayze (2000)
The 2000 Essence Awards (2000)
Presenter
Jessye Norman Sings For the Healing of AIDS (2000)
Sally Field: Defying Gravity (2000)
Intimate Portrait: Lady Bird Johnson (2000)
Narrator
A Century of Black Cinema (2000)
Stand and Be Counted (2000)
Intimate Portrait: Olympia Dukakis (1999)
Interviewee
Intimate Portrait: Linda Ellerbee (1999)
Narrator
Fall in Love With a Stranger (1999)
Pulp Comics: Caroline Rhea (1999)
The 1999 Essence Awards (1999)
Performer
SAG Awards Show (1999)
Presenter
Zoo Babies With Whoopi Goldberg (1999)
Narration
Funny Flubs & Screw-Ups IV (1999)
Zoo Babies With Whoopi Goldberg (1999)
Presenter
The 71st Annual Academy Awards Presentation (1999)
Host
Inside Hollywood: The Pictures, the People, the Academy Awards (1999)
The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize Celebrating the Humor of Richard Pryor (1999)
Performer
The AFI's 100 Years... 100 Stars (1999)
The 26th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards (1999)
Presenter
Hollywood Salutes Jodie Foster: An American Cinematheque Tribute (1999)
A Gala For the President at Ford's Theatre (1998)
Ladies Home Journal's Most Fascinating Women of '98 (1998)
Bob Hope: The Road to the Top (1998)
Narrator
Countdown to Comic Relief 8 (1998)
Interviewee
The 70th Annual Academy Awards (1998)
Presenter
Creating "Ragtime" (1998)
A Very Special Christmas From Washington D.C. (1998)
Comic Relief VIII (1998)
12th Annual Soul Train Music Awards (1998)
Performer
The 24th Annual People's Choice Awards (1998)
Intimate Portrait: Debbie Allen (1997)
Narration
Sports on the Silver Screen (1997)
53rd Presidential Inaugural Gala (1997)
The 51st Annual Tony Awards (1997)
Presenter
Happy Birthday Elizabeth -- A Celebration of Life (1997)
A Charlie Rose Special (1997)
Interviewee
Who Makes You Laugh? 2 (1997)
Comic Relief's 10th Anniversary (1996)
Comic Relief American Comedy Festival (1996)
The 1996 Essence Awards (1996)
The 68th Annual Academy Awards (1996)
Host
Celebrate the Dream: 50 Years of Ebony (1996)
Comic Relief VII (1995)
Planet Hollywood Comes Home (1995)
20 Years of Comedy on HBO (1995)
Bonnie Raitt Has Something to Talk About (1995)
The American Film Institute Salute to Steven Spielberg (1995)
Performer
Countdown to Comic Relief (1995)
Interviewee
One on One With Magic Johnson (1994)
1994 People's Choice Awards (1994)
Presenter
In a New Light '94 (1994)
But... Seriously (1994)
Gene Roddenberry: Star Trek and Beyond (1994)
A Gala For the President at Ford's Theatre (1994)
Out There II (1994)
Comic Relief VI (1994)
Host
The 66th Annual Academy Awards Presentation (1994)
Host
A Gala For the President at Ford's Theatre (1993)
Bob Hope: The First Ninety Years (1993)
What Is This Thing Called Love? (1993)
The 65th Annual Academy Awards Presentation (1993)
Presenter
The 7th Annual American Comedy Awards (1993)
Performer
An American Reunion: New Beginnings, Renewed Hope (1993)
Aretha Franklin: Duets (1993)
Comic Relief V (1992)
AFI Salute to Sidney Poitier (1992)
Performer
MDA Jerry Lewis Telethon (1992)
Back to School '92 (1992)
Hurricane Relief (1992)
1992 Grammy Awards (1992)
Host
HBO's 20th Anniversary -- We Hardly Believe It Ourselves (1992)
Danny Kaye's International Children's Awards For UNICEF (1992)
Performer
The 64th Annual Academy Awards Presentation (1992)
Presenter
The Comedy Store's 20th Birthday (1992)
Rock the Vote (1992)
The 63rd Annual Academy Awards Presentation (1991)
Presenter
Dead Wait (1991)
The Dream Is Alive: The 20th Anniversary Celebration of Walt Disney World (1991)
Voices That Care (1991)
The 45th Annual Tony Awards (1991)
Performer
The 23rd Annual NAACP Image Awards (1991)
Performer
Victory & Valor: A Special Olympics All-Star Celebration (1991)
Ray Charles: 50 Years in Music, Uh-Huh! (1991)
Host
Whoopi Goldberg: Chez Whoopi (1991)
Host
Tales From the Whoop: Hot Rod Brown, Class Clown (1990)
Happy Birthday, Bugs!: 50 Looney Years (1990)
Comic Relief IV (1990)
Motown 30: What's Goin' On! (1990)
America's All-Star Tribute to Oprah Winfrey (1990)
Performer
Fifteenth Annual Circus of the Stars (1990)
Red, Hot & Blue (1990)
Smokey Robinson (1990)
Narrator
CBS Comedy Bloopers II (1990)
A Laugh, a Tear (1990)
Host
Whoopi Goldberg & Billy Connolly in Performance (1990)
CBS Comedy Bloopers (1990)
That's What Friends Are For (1990)
My Past Is My Own (1989)
The Truth About Teachers (1989)
The Debbie Allen Special (1989)
Hanna-Barbera 50th Anniversary Special (1989)
All-Star Tribute to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1989)
The 75th Anniversary of Beverly Hills (1989)
10th Annual Ace Awards (1989)
Performer
Comic Relief III (1989)
An All-Star Celebration: The '88 Vote (1988)
Whoopi Goldberg's Fontaine: Why Am I Straight? (1988)
Freedomfest: Nelson Mandela's 70th Birthday Celebration (1988)
Free to Be... a Family (1988)
The 2nd Annual American Comedy Awards (1988)
Performer
Pee-wee's Playhouse Christmas Special (1988)
A Carol Burnett Special... Carol, Carl, Whoopi & Robin (1987)
The Pointer Sisters... Up All Night (1987)
Comic Relief II (1987)
The 29th Annual Grammy Awards (1987)
Performer
Funny, You Don't Look 200 (1987)
Happy Birthday, Hollywood! (1987)
The 19th Annual NAACP Image Awards (1987)
Performer
The 1st Annual American Comedy Awards (1987)
Performer
Comic Relief (1986)
The Making of Disney's Captain EO (1986)
The American Film Institute Salute to Billy Wilder (1986)
Performer
The 58th Annual Academy Awards Presentation (1986)
Presenter
The 28th Annual Grammy Awards (1986)
Performer
Comic Relief: Backstage Pass (1986)
The 12th Annual People's Choice Awards (1986)
Performer
Whoopi Goldberg -- Direct From Broadway (1985)

Writer (Special)

A Laugh, a Tear (1990)
Writer
Whoopi Goldberg's Fontaine: Why Am I Straight? (1988)
Writer
Whoopi Goldberg -- Direct From Broadway (1985)
Writer

Producer (Special)

Whoopi Goldberg: Chez Whoopi (1991)
Executive Producer
A Laugh, a Tear (1990)
Producer
Tales From the Whoop: Hot Rod Brown, Class Clown (1990)
Executive Producer
Whoopi Goldberg & Billy Connolly in Performance (1990)
Executive Producer

Music (Special)

That's What Friends Are For (1990)
Song Performer
The Pointer Sisters... Up All Night (1987)
Song Performer ("Can'T Get Next To You")

Special Thanks (Special)

A Laugh, a Tear (1990)
Writer
Whoopi Goldberg's Fontaine: Why Am I Straight? (1988)
Writer
Whoopi Goldberg -- Direct From Broadway (1985)
Writer

Misc. Crew (Special)

My Past Is My Own (1989)
Creative Consultant

Cast (TV Mini-Series)

The Desilu Story: The Rags to Riches Success of the Desilu Empire (2003)
The Magical Legend of the Leprechauns (1999)
Mother Goose: A Rappin' and Rhymin' Special (1997)
Voice
A Cool Like That Christmas (1993)
Voice
Defenders of Dynatron City (1992)
Voice Of Ms Megawatt
Koi and the Kola Nuts (1992)
Narration

Life Events

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

Provided voice of Gaia for the animated series "Captain Planet and the Planeteers"; received Daytime Emmy nomination

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

1992

Hosted the short-lived talk show "The Whoopi Goldberg Show"

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"

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

Returned to host the 68th Academy Awards telecast

1996

Co-starred with Frank Langella in the basketball comedy "Eddie"

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

Appeared as Death in the combined live-action animated fantasy film "Monkeybone"

2001

With Barbra Streisand, served as executive producer of the Lifetime movie "What Makes a Family"

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

Starred in "Whoopi: Back to Broadway - The 20th Anniversary," an HBO film of the one-woman show she performed in New York

2005

Voiced Franny, a wise old goat in the animated feature "Racing Stripes"

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"

Family

Robert James Johnson
Father
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.
Emma Johnson
Mother
Separated from Goldberg's father.
Clyde K Johnson
Brother
Driver. Works as Goldberg's personal driver on film sets.
Alexandrea Martin
Daughter
Born in 1973; gave birth to daughter Amarah on November 13, 1989; married in 1993; gave birth to son Jerzy c. 1995.
Amarah Skye Martin
Granddaughter
Born on November 13, 1989.
Jerzey Martin
Grandson
Born c. 1995.

Companions

Alvin Martin
Husband
Drug counselor. Was Goldberg's counselor in early 1970s; first husband; married in 1973; divorced in late 1970s; father of Goldberg's daughter.
David Schein
Companion
Playwright, actor. Lived with Goldberg from 1980 to c. 1985.
David Claessen
Husband
Director of photography. Married on September 1, 1986 in Las Vegas, Nevada; separated in 1987; divorced in October 1988.
Eddie Gold
Companion
Director of photography. Together from 1987 to 1990.
Timothy Dalton
Companion
Actor. Together from 1990 to 1991.
Ted Danson
Companion
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.
Jeffrey Cohen
Companion
Orthodontist.
Lyle Trachtenberg
Husband
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.
Frank Langella
Companion
Actor. Co-starred together in "Eddie" (1996); together from c. October 1995 until early 2000.

Bibliography

"Book"
Whoopi Goldberg, William Morrow (1997)
"Whoopi Goldberg: Her Journey from Poverty to Mega-Stardom"
James Robert Parish, Carol Publishing Group (1997)
"Alice"
Whoopi Goldberg, Bantam Books (1992)