Caryn Elaine Johnson, known professionally as Whoopi Goldberg, is an American actress, comedian, author and television host. She has been nominated for 13 Emmy Awards for her work in television and is one of the few entertainers who have won an Emmy Award, a Grammy Award, an Oscar, and a Tony Award. She was the second black woman in the history of the Academy Awards to win an acting Oscar.
Caryn Elaine Johnson was born in New York City's Manhattan borough on November 13, 1955, the daughter of Robert James Johnson Jr., a Baptist clergyman, and Emma Johnson, a nurse and teacher. She was raised in the Chelsea-Elliot Houses. In the 1970s, Goldberg relocated to Southern California before settling in Berkeley, where she worked various odd jobs, including as a bank teller, a waitress at a vegetarian restaurant, a mortuary cosmetologist, and a bricklayer. There, she also joined the avant-garde theater troupe, the Blake Street Hawkeyes, and taught comedy and acting classes. She worked in a number of theater productions.
Goldberg trained under acting teacher Uta Hagen at the HB Studio in New York City. She first appeared onscreen in Citizen: I'm Not Losing My Mind, I'm Giving It Away (1982), an avant-garde ensemble feature by San Francisco filmmaker William Farley. Goldberg created The Spook Show, a one-woman show composed of different character monologues in 1983. Director Mike Nichols offered to take the show to Broadway. The show was retitled Whoopi Goldberg for its Broadway incarnation, ran from October 24, 1984, to March 10, 1985, for a total of 156 performances; the play was taped during this run and broadcast by HBO as Whoopi Goldberg: Direct from Broadway in 1985.
Goldberg's Broadway performance caught the eye of director Steven Spielberg, who cast her in her breakthrough role, the lead role of The Color Purple, based on the novel by Alice Walker. The Color Purple was released in late 1985 and was a critical and commercial success. It was nominated for 11 Academy Awards, including a nomination for Goldberg as Best Actress. For her performance in the romantic fantasy film Ghost (1990) as Oda Mae Brown, an eccentric psychic, Goldberg won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and a second Golden Globe, her first for Best Supporting Actress.
In 1992, Goldberg starred in the comedy Sister Act, earning a third Golden Globe nomination, her first for Best Actress – Motion Picture Comedy or Musical. She reprised the role in Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit (1993), making her the highest-paid actress at the time. Her other film roles include Made in America (1993), Corrina, Corrina (1994), The Lion King (1994), The Little Rascals (1994), Boys on the Side (1995), Theodore Rex (1995), Ghosts of Mississippi (1996), How Stella Got Her Groove Back (1998), Girl, Interrupted (1999), For Colored Girls (2010), Toy Story 3 (2010), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014), Nobody's Fool (2018) and Furlough (2018). In television, Goldberg is known for her role as Guinan on Star Trek: The Next Generation. She has been the moderator of the talk show The View since 2007. In 2017, Goldberg voiced Ursula in Disney's Descendants 2.
Goldberg has been married three times — in 1973 to Alvin Martin (divorced in 1979, one daughter); on September 1, 1986 to cinematographer David Claessen (divorced in 1988); and on October 1, 1994 to the union organizer Lyle Trachtenberg (divorced in 1995). When Goldberg was a teen, she and first husband, Martin, had a daughter, Alexandrea Martin, who also became an actress and producer. Through her daughter, Goldberg has three grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.
- Appears in the Descendants franchise along with Keegan Connor Tracy (Blue Fairy/Mother Superior/Wish Blue Fairy), Dianne Doan (Isra), Dan Payne (Captain of the Guard/Ivo), Anna Cathcart (Tween Drizella), Luke Roessler (Young David/Young James) and Faustino di Bauda (Sleepy/Walter/Wish Sleepy).
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- Whoopi Goldberg on Wikipedia
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