|Whoopi Goldberg Quick Info|
|Height||5 ft 5 in|
|Date of Birth||November 13, 1955|
|Eye Color||Dark Brown|
Whoopi Goldberg is an award-winning actress, comedienne, television host, and author. Her performances in films like The Color Purple (1985), Ghost (1990), and Sister Act (1992) have displayed her wide range of acting abilities. She became the first black celebrity to host the Academy Awards and is one of the few celebrated artists to have won all the 4 major awards viz., an Emmy, a Tony, a Grammy, and an Oscar. A trendsetter on and off-screen, she is widely known for expressing her often controversial views on many pressing issues through her talk-show, The View.
Caryn Elaine Johnson
Whoopi Goldberg, Da Whoop, Shuttle Head
New York City, New York, United States
New Jersey, United States
Whoopi attended St. Columba’s Catholic School during her younger years. Later, she studied at Washington Irving High School but dropped out at the age of 17 due to her poor academic performance resulting from dyslexia.
She took acting lessons from Uta Hagen at the HB Studio in New York City and she also attended the New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.
Actress, Comedienne, Author, Television Host
- Father – Robert James Johnson Jr. (Baptist Clergyman) (Died 1993)
- Mother – Emma Johnson (née Harris) (Nurse, Teacher) (Died 2010)
- Siblings – Clyde Johnson (Older Brother) (Died in 2015 from a Brain Aneurysm)
- Others – Robert Johnson (Paternal Grandfather), Hattie Wilson (Paternal Grandmother), Malakiah Harris (Maternal Grandfather), Rachel Freedman (Maternal Grandmother)
Whoopi is represented by the New York-based Whoop Inc.
As a Comedian – Observational Comedy, Black Comedy, Insult Comedy, Surreal Humor, Character Comedy, Satire
As a Singer – Opera
African-American Culture, American Politics, Race Relations, Racism, Marriage, S*x, Everyday Life, Popular Culture, Current Events
5 ft 5 in or 165 cm
78 kg or 172 lbs
Boyfriend / Spouse
Whoopi Goldberg has dated –
- Alvin Martin (1973-1979) – Whoopi got married to Alvin Martin at the age of 17. Their marriage produced a child, Alexandrea Martin (b. May 9, 1973), who is an actress and producer. The couple was together for 6 years before filing for divorce in 1979.
- David Schein (1980-1985) – Whoopi was in a relationship with David Schein for around 5 years from 1980 to 1985.
- David Edgar (1986) – David Edgar and Whoopi got married in 1986. This was her 2nd marriage but, soon after, they went their separate ways and got divorced the same year.
- David Claessen (1986-1988) – Dutch cinematographer David Claessen and Whoopi met in 1986. After dating for about 8 months, they made their relationship official on September 1, 1986. However, it wasn’t meant to last very long as the couple decided to head separate ways on October 1, 1988.
- Alan Moore (1987) – British writer Alan Moore and Whoopi were romantically involved in 1987.
- Eddie Gold (1987-1990) – Romance blossomed between Whoopi and Eddie Gold in 1987. They were together for 3 years but their relationship eventually went downhill and they parted ways in 1990.
- Timothy Dalton (1990-1991) – A seemingly unlikely pair, Whoopi and British actor Timothy Dalton had a brief affair in the early 90s. The Bond actor and Goldberg were seen together at various occasions starting from 1990. Although both denied being in a relationship, their chemistry together was for everyone to see. However, a year later, it was claimed that the couple had split up.
- Ted Danson (1992-1993) – The relationship between actor Ted Danson and Goldberg caused quite a stir as Danson was married at that time. His wife Cassandra Coates filed for divorce in 1993 following his affair. The pair worked together in the 1993 film, Made in America. However, their time together was limited as they dated for a year from April 1992 to 1993.
- Lyle Trachtenberg (1994-1995) – Lyle Trachtenberg, an actor, and Whoopi got together at the beginning of 1994. They got married on October 1, 1994, after 9 months of dating. Their union lasted for a year before they pulled the plug on their marriage in October 1995.
- Jeffrey Cohen (1995) – Whoopi dated Jeffrey Cohen briefly in 1995.
- Frank Langella (1995-2000) – During the shooting of the film Eddie in 1995, co-stars Whoopi Goldberg and Frank Langella got romantically involved. The couple was together for more than 4 years till 2000 when they announced their split.
- Michael Visbal (2001-2004) – Michael Visbal and Whoopi were linked together in the past.
- Bill Duke – Actor Bill Duke and Whoopi Goldberg got together sometime in the past.
Race / Ethnicity
She has African-American, Guinea Bissauan, Sierra Leonean, and Liberian ancestry.
With advancing age, her hair color has turned to ‘salt & pepper’.
- Her signature dreadlocks
- Deep husky voice
- Wire-rimmed sunglasses
- No eyebrows
- A tattoo of Woodstock (the bird from Charles M. Schulz’s “Peanuts” cartoon strip) on her shoulders
11 (US) or 41.5 (EU) or 8.5 (UK)
Whoopi has done endorsement work for the following brands –
- National Fluid Milk Processor Promotion Program (1999) (Print ad)
- MCI (1995)
- Get Caught Reading (1999) (Print ad)
- Flooz.com (1999)
- Entenmann’s Bakery (2011)
- Poise Panty Liners (2011)
- SlimFast (2004) (Print ad)
- LA Weight Loss System (2007) (Print ad)
- QVC Shopping Network (2007)
- MyTouch Cell Phones (2009)
- Kohl’s (2016)
- NFL (2013)
- USA Characters Unite (2014)
- Lisa Colagrossi Foundation (2018)
- ABC (2018)
- UNICEF (2012)
- Lupus Foundation of America (2016)
- Give a Damn (2012)
- My Black is Beautiful (2017)
- GLAAD (2015)
- Empire State Relief Fund (2012)
Best Known For
- Being one of the prominent African-American celebrities to have paved the way for the future generations of black actors in the industry
- Her long-standing career as an actress, television host, author, and comedienne in which she has won numerous accolades and recognitions
As a Singer
She has performed as a singer on Broadway shows in various musicals.
Whoopi has sung opera at many places.
Whoopi made her feature film debut in the 1982 drama, Citizen: I’m Not Losing My Mind, I’m Giving It Away.
First TV Show
She made her first appearance on a TV show as a guest on Late Night with David Letterman in 1984.
Whoopi has tried (and endorsed) many diet plans starting with SlimFast in 2003 and the LA Weight Loss in 2007. Although the latter helped her feel 50 lbs lighter, she also regained some of that weight rather quickly.
However, it was in 2014, that Whoopi debuted her slim figure after having lost 35 pounds with the help of celebrity chef and author Rocco DiSpirito’s ‘Pound a Day Diet‘. The low-carb Mediterranean diet consisted of 6 small meals a day. As per the diet plan, the weekly calorie count was switched up often so that Whoopi never experienced a dieting plateau.
Whoopi Goldberg Favorite Things
- Movie – Valley of the Dolls (1967)
- Books – When Life Gives You Lululemons by Lauren Weisberger, The Preston & Child book series by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, Threadbare Volume One: Stuff and Nonsense by Andrew Seiple, Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan, Toddlers Are A**holes: Its Not Your Fault by Bunmi Laditan
Whoopi Goldberg Facts
- She did several odd jobs in the 70s to support herself financially. These included working at a funeral parlor where her job was to apply makeup to corpses, bank teller, and a bricklayer.
- Early in her career, she had joined an avant-garde theater troupe called the Blake Street Hawkeyes. She taught comedy and acting at the time and Courtney Love was one of her students.
- Her eminent career has seen her win an Emmy Award, a Grammy Award, a Tony Award, and an Academy Award, a feat very few actors have managed to achieve.
- Her portrayal of the eccentric psychic Oda Mae Brown in the immensely successful movie, Ghost (1990), won Whoopi her first Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. In doing so, she became the 2nd actress of African-American descent to win that highest acting award in Hollywood. She was preceded by Hattie McDaniel who was the first black woman to receive an Academy Award for her role in Gone with the Wind in 1940.
- Premiere magazine listed her performance as Oda Mae Brown at the 95th spot in their list of Top 100 best film characters in 2004.
- She gave herself the name ‘Whoopi’ after the whoopee cushion alluding to her tendency for flatulence.
- Goldberg has mentioned that watching Nichelle Nichols’s character Nyota Uhura on Star Trek (1966) was a defining moment for her as Nichols was the first black woman to appear on television in a role that was not of a maid. Whoopi became a life-long fan of Star Trek and later in her career, she requested for and received the recurring guest-starring role of Guinan on Star Trek: Next Generation in 1987.
- It was while performing a private stand-up comedy routine titled ‘If E.T. landed in Oakland’ that she was discovered by director Steven Spielberg who was in the audience along with Michael Jackson. Spielberg offered her the lead role of Celie Johnson in his directorial venture The Color Purple (1985).
- Her breakthrough role as Celie won her many accolades and critical acclaim. She won her first Golden Globe Award for her performance in the movie and was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress.
- Goldberg has the distinction of being the first African American host of the Academy Awards in 1994. She was also the first woman to host the ceremony solo. She reprised her hosting duties again in 1996, 1999, and 2002.
- She received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on her 46th birthday on November 13, 2001.
- In April 2016, she co-founded Whoopi & Maya, her business venture aimed at producing medical cannabis products for women who were seeking relief from menstrual cramps. Her motivation for the business idea was the fact that she herself suffered from difficult periods and sought relief from them through cannabis.
- Whoopi was the owner of a nightclub in Los Angeles. Her business partner was Robert Shapiro who at the time was the lawyer of O.J. Simpson and was defending him against the murder charges of Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman.
- She was a high-functioning drug addict for many years and was hooked up on heroin after leaving high school. She has also confessed that she had smoked marijuana before accepting her Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for Ghost in 1991.
- In 1985, she won a Grammy Award for Best Comedy Recording for Whoopi Goldberg: Direct from Broadway. At the time, she was the first African American and only the 2nd woman to have received the award.
- She always travels by bus as she has a fear of flying. In 1978, while she was working as a waitress at San Diego’s Big Kitchen café, she witnessed PSA flight #182 crashing into flames after a mid-air collision. The traumatic incident left a huge mark on her and she refrained from flying post that incident.
- Whoopi is left-handed.
- She used to lie about her age citing a 1949 birthdate making her 6 years older than her real age. It was unheard of as most celebrities would lie to appear younger than their real age.
- Her character Guinan in Star Trek: The Next Generation inspired 4 different action figures.
- She is a part-owner of Mary’s Kitchen, a country store /kitchen in Malibu, California.
- She became a grandmother on her 34th birthday when her daughter gave birth to a baby girl named Amarah Skye on November 13, 1989.
- She was a member of the “Official Competition” jury at the 44th Cannes International Film Festival in 1991.
- She released her album Koi and Kola Nuts in 1991.
- One Ho Productions, her production company, backs most of her movies and television projects.
- She was the recipient of the Annual Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for Comedy in 2001.
- She is a pro-choice campaigner as she herself underwent the procedure at the age of 14.
- She has a pet cat named Oliver.
- Goldberg counts some of Hollywood’s biggest names as her close friends which include Robert De Niro, Joan Rivers, Billy Crystal, Robin Williams, Marlon Brando, and Patrick Stewart.
- She was somewhat of a chain-smoker for over 40 years before she finally quit in 2015.
- At the age of 58, she became a great-grandmother after her granddaughter Amarah Dean gave birth to a girl Charlie Rose (b. March 15, 2014).
- After Rosie O’Donnell famously left The View in 2007, Goldberg stepped in as her replacement on September 4, 2007. As a moderator on the women-oriented talk show, she has created many controversies through her comments on present social and political issues.
- Whoopi had almost missed out on playing her award-winning iconic role in Ghost (1990) as she was told that her persona was “too big” for the movie.
- While filming Sister Act (1992), Whoopi had intentionally fallen ill since the actors playing the nuns were not getting sufficient salary and Whoopi wanted the producers to notice that wage gap.
- In 2021, Whoopi took a break from The View due to some health issues. She later returned to the show in June 2021. Whoopi also revealed that she was suffering from sciatica and had to use a walker to help alleviate her sciatica.
- In September 2021, Whoopi signed a 4-year deal to stay on The View.
Featured Image by Rainforest Action Network / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0