With her familiar dreadlocks and granny glasses, Whoopi Goldberg is one of Hollywood's most recognizable and versatile stars. Adept at comedy and drama — and at home on stage, on television and in the movies — Goldberg is one of only 10 performers who have captured all four of the biggest awards: an Emmy, a Grammy, a Tony and an Oscar. She is also the first African American to host the Academy Awards.
Ever opinionated, Goldberg has achieved her most recent success as moderator and co-host of "The View," the popular television issue show known for its bickering panelists. The role brought Goldberg an Emmy Award in 2009.
Born in New York City as Caryn Elaine Johnson in 1955, she adopted the stage name Whoopi from the whoopee cushion and began using the traditionally German/Jewish surname Goldberg in part because her mother thought Johnson was not "Jewish enough" to make her a star. Alluding to her complex ancestry, Goldberg once gave the dismissive explanation, "My family is Jewish, Buddhist, Baptist and Catholic. I don't believe in man-made religions."
Goldberg displayed her unusual versatility in the early 1980s by performing a one-woman act, "The Spook Show," featuring 17 distinct personas. It so impressed director Mike Nichols that he brought the production to Broadway for 156 sold-out performances. Steven Spielberg immediately cast her in "The Color Purple," a 1985 film that earned Goldberg a Golden Globe Award. That was followed by an Academy Award-winning role as psychic Oda Mae Brown in "Ghost." She was the second black female in Oscar history to win an acting award.
|1985||Best Actress||The Color Purple||Nomination|
|1990||Best Supporting Actress||Ghost||Win|