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Color: Black
Food: Potato Chips
Quote: Fuck It.
Season: Christmas
Vacation Destination: Home
Birthplace
New York, New York
Interview Description:

Biography |

Interview Date: 10/5/2016

Whoopi Goldberg was born Caryn Elaine Johnson on November 12, 1955 in Manhattan, New York to Emma Harris Johnson and Robert James Johnson. Goldberg’s mother raised her as a single parent in the Chelsea-Eliot Houses public housing project. Goldberg attended St. Columba Catholic School nearby in Chelsea, and Washington Irving High School, but dropped out before graduation.

Goldberg studied with theater practitioner Uta Hagen at HB Studio in New York City during the 1970s before moving to Berkeley, California, where she performed with the Blake Street Hawkeyes, an experimental theater group. In the early 1980s, Goldberg began developing The Spook Show, a one-woman series of character monologues, with the Hawkeyes. She eventually took the show to Dance Theater Workshop in New York, where director Mike Nichols asked her to take the show to Broadway. The piece was renamed Whoopi Goldberg, and during its 1984 to 1985 run, Goldberg caught the eye of Steven Spielberg, who picked her for a starring role in his new film version of Alice Walker’s The Color Purple.

Goldberg was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in The Color Purple. Since that role, Goldberg has appeared in countless films, television series, and stage performances, such as Ghost (1990), Sister Act (1992), and The Lion King (1994). Several of her films portray civil rights narratives, including The Long Walk Home (1990), Ghosts of Mississippi (1990), and the South African film Sarafina!. A lifelong Star Trek fan, Goldberg had a recurring role as a bartender on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Goldberg is a prolific author of bestselling books for children and adults and has produced numerous projects for television and stage. Goldberg has been the moderator of the morning talk show The View since 2007.

Goldberg is one of only twelve individuals who have won Emmy, Grammy, Tony, and Oscar awards, and has also received numerous other honors. She has one daughter, three grandchildren, and one great grandchild.

Whoopi Goldberg was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 5, 2016.

Speaker Bureau Notes: