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Whoopi Goldberg: Hollywood Icon

Nov 13, 2020 08:00AM ● By Kassidy Garland
whoopi goldberg

Caryn Elaine Johnson, known by her stage name, Whoopi Goldberg, was born 64 years ago today on November 13, 1955 in Manhattan. An established comedian, actress, and TV host, Whoopi Goldberg’s career has produced a wide range of projects spanning  over 30 years. 

Whoopi and her brother Clyde were raised by a single mother in NY. Goldberg struggled in school and was often labeled unintelligent, so she dropped out of high school when she was 17. Finally, after seeking help as an adult, Whoopi Goldberg was diagnosed with dyslexia, and worked on understanding and overcoming her disability. 

Whoopi has stated that her name was actually derived from the Whoopee Cushion because in her early shows, she was known to pass gas frequently on stage rather than leaving or waiting until the end of her set.


Supposedly inspired by Nichelle Nichols’s role as Uhura on Star Trek, Whoopi Goldberg pursued the same career path, eventually scoring a recurring role on the same show. After she moved to Southern California, Goldberg worked a few odd jobs while teaching acting classes. In the beginning of her career, Goldberg starred in a one-woman show, taking it to Broadway. Goldberg’s breakout role was Celie in Steven Spielberg’s 1985 production of The Color Purple based on the novel by Alice Walker. This position gained her global recognition.

After her success with The Color Purple, Goldberg went on to star in a number of movies, including Ghost, which would become one of her most iconic roles. After the huge commercial success of Sister Act, Sister Act 2: Back In The Habit made her the highest paid female actress in Hollywood.

Because of her wide range of success, Whoopi Goldberg is one of sixteen people to have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony. In addition to her “grand slam” of an EGOT win, Whoopi Goldberg is also the first woman to host the Academy Awards, and only the second African-American to win an Oscar for acting.

After a brief stint with her own talk show in the 90s, Whoopi Goldberg became a co-host and moderator on The View, where she has remained since 2007. Goldberg also directed the 2013 documentary Whoopi Goldberg Presents Moms Mabley.

In addition to her success as an entertainer, Whoopi Goldberg is an advocate for the LGBTQIA community, human rights advocate, and philanthropist, as well as the founder of Whoopi & Maya, a company that markets cannabis for menstrual cramps. Goldberg is also a member of the National Rifle Association. 

Over the last 30 years, Whoopi Goldberg has made a name for herself as an award-winning actor, business owner, TV host, and advocate. She continues to produce work in a number of fields.




Montgomery Board of Disabilities Services

  Kassidy Garland has had a great appreciation for reading and writing since she was young. She graduated from West Chester University in 2017 with a Bachelor’s Degree in English & Women and Gender Studies. With a concentration in creative writing, Kassidy has 5 years of experience writing blogs, articles, and for social media. Based out of Philadelphia, Kassidy loves to write about a number of topics and looks forward to sharing her passion with those at FunTimes Magazine.