Skip to main content

See also:

Interesting things about Whoopi Goldberg including her real name

Interesting things people might not know about Whoopi Goldberg
Photo by D Dipasupil/Getty Images

Whoopi Goldberg was born Caryn Elaine Johnson on Nov. 13, 1955. She is an American comedian, actress, singer-songwriter, political activist, author and moderator of the popular daytime television talk show "The View" on ABC. Even though Goldberg made her debut in the 1982 film "I'm Not Losing My Mind, I'm Giving It Away," her breakthrough role did not come until 1985, when she played the role of Celie, a mistreated black woman in the Deep South in the film "The Color Purple" for which she was nominated for Best Actress, but she did not win that award.

Since then, Goldberg has played many other roles. She won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress when he played Oda Mae Brown, a wacky psychic helping a slain man (Patrick Swayze) save his lover (Demi Moore) – in the romantic fantasy film "Ghost" in 1990.

Goldberg was the second black woman in the history of the Academy Awards to win an acting Oscar (the first being Hattie McDaniel, who won for "Gone with the Wind" in 1939). Goldberg was co-producer of the television game show "Hollywood Squares" from 1998 to 2004. She has been the moderator of the daytime television talk show "The View" since 2007. Goldberg has been nominated for 13 Emmy Awards for her work in television. She is one of the few entertainers who have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Award.

Goldberg is a high school dropout; yet, in the 1990s, she was rumored to be the highest paid actress for appearing in film. She has worked many jobs including working as a telephone sex operator. According to her biographical information, Goldberg has been married three times, and neither husband was named "Goldberg." Her stage name, Whoopi, was taken from a whoopee cushion. She has often told the story about how she got her first and last name. She said, "If you get a little gassy, you've got to let it go. So people used to say to me, 'You're like a whoopee cushion.' And that's where the name came from." She adopted the surname Goldberg because her mother felt Johnson was not "Jewish enough" to make her a star. The name has worked for her because on her 46th birthday, Goldberg was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. And the well-known celebrity is still going strong.