|Date of Birth||November 13, 1955|
|Origin||Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA|
Life and Career
Goldberg was born in Manhattan and raised in the Chelsea-Elliot Houses - the daughter of Emma (née Harris), a nurse and teacher, and Robert James Johnson, Jr., a clergyman. Goldberg has described her mother as a "stern, strong, and wise woman" who raised her as a single mother after Goldberg's father had left the family. Goldberg's recent ancestors migrated north from Faceville, Georgia; Palatka, Florida; and Virginia.
Her stage name, Whoopi, was taken from a whoopee cushion; she has stated that "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 traditionally German/Jewish surname Goldberg as a stage name because her mother felt that Johnson was not "Jewish enough" to make her a star. According to an anecdote told by Nichelle Nichols in the documentary film Trekkies (1997), a young Goldberg was watching Star Trek, and upon seeing Nichols' character Uhura, exclaimed, "Momma! There's a black lady on TV and she ain't no maid!" This spawned lifelong fandom of Star Trek for Goldberg, who would eventually ask for and receive a recurring guest-starring role on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Between the years of 1979 and 1981, she lived in communist East Germany, working in a number of theater productions. During her travels, she would smuggle various items into the country for the artists she stayed with.
Goldberg starred in Penny Marshall's directorial debut, Jumpin' Jack Flash, and began a relationship with David Claessen, a director of photography on the set, and the couple married later that year. However, in 1988, the couple divorced. Before Claessen, Goldberg was married to Alvin Martin for seven years, but the couple divorced. From 1994 to 1995, Goldberg was married to Lyle Trachtenberg, but again this marriage ended in divorce. Since, Goldberg hasn't remarried, but she had a five year long relationship with Frank Langella which ended in 2001. She has been single ever since.
In January 1990, Goldberg starred with Jean Stapleton in the situation comedy Bagdad Cafe. The show ran for two seasons on CBS. Simultaneously, Goldberg starred in The Long Walk Home, portraying a woman in the civil rights movement. She played a psychic in the 1990 film Ghost, and became the first black female to win the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in nearly 50 years, and only the second black female in Oscar history to win an acting award.
Goldberg starred in Soapdish and had a recurring role on Star Trek: The Next Generation as Guinan, which she would reprise in two Star Trek movies. On May 29, 1992, Sister Act was released. The motion picture grossed well over US$200 million and Goldberg was nominated for a Golden Globe. During the next year, she hosted a late-night talk show, The Whoopi Goldberg Show, and starred in two more motion pictures Made in America and Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit. From 1994 to 1995, Goldberg appeared in Corrina, Corrina, The Lion King (voice), The Pagemaster (voice), Boys on the Side and Moonlight and Valentino. Goldberg guest starred on Muppets Tonight in 1996. Goldberg became the first African-American female to host the Academy Awards show in 1994. She hosted the awards show again in 1996, 1999 and 2002.
On September 4, 2007, Goldberg became the new moderator and co-host of The View, replacing Rosie O'Donnell. O'Donnell stated on her official blog that she wanted Goldberg to be moderator. Goldberg's debut as moderator drew 3.4 million viewers, 1 million fewer than O'Donnell's debut ratings. After two weeks, however, The View was averaging 3.5 million total viewers under Goldberg, a 7% increase from 3.3 million under O'Donnell the previous season. Since then, Goldberg has appeared in productions such as Glee, 666 Park Avenue, Suburgatory, The Middle, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland and Toy Story 3.