Whoopi Goldberg, original name Caryn Elaine Johnson, (born November 13, 1955, New York, New York, U.S.), American comedian, actress, and producer known for her work in theatre, film, television, and recordings. An accomplished performer with a wide repertoire, her work ranged from dramatic leading roles to controversial comedic performances.
Goldberg spent her early years in a Manhattan housing project. She began performing at age eight with a children’s theatre group and later, as a young adult, went on to perform in the choruses of Broadway shows. She moved to California in 1974 and soon became active in the theatre community there, as well as establishing a presence as a stand-up comedian. Eventually she developed The Spook Show, a one-woman stage show noted for its humour, satire, and drama, which she performed throughout the United States and Europe. That performance became the basis for the critically acclaimed Broadway show Whoopi Goldberg, which debuted in 1984, and in 1985 Goldberg won a Grammy Award for the show’s recording. Soon afterward she made her Hollywood debut in The Color Purple (1985), for which she garnered an Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe Award.
Goldberg went on to perform in less-successful films before appearing in Ghost (1990), for which she won both the Academy Award and the Golden Globe Award for best supporting actress. Goldberg followed up with numerous performances in film and television, including hosting her own talk show for a brief stint, serving as host of the Academy Awards show on several occasions, and starring in the television show Whoopi (2003–04). In 2007 she became a cohost on the daytime television talk show The View.
She is the only African American to have earned a Grammy, Tony, Oscar, and Emmy. She has also been a longtime activist. Whoopi is a supporter of fighting the stigma and finding the cure for HIV.