- 10:25 AM, Feb 25
A brilliant actress who is able to illuminate the screen every time she shows up, be it comedy or drama, Whoopi Goldberg has assiduously compiled more than good acting resume to really shine out as a truly unique and visible talent in Hollywood. Originally named Caryn Elaine Johnson, she was raised solely by her mother, Emma Johnson, in the Manhattan's Chelsea housing projects following the departure of her father, Robert James Johnson, shortly after she was born on November 13, 1955 in New York City. The star began her involvement in acting early, developing her skills since the age of 8 at Hudson Guild Community Center and the Helena Rubinstein Children's Theatre as she drew inspiration from Nichelle Nichols who played Lt. Nyota Uhura on the original “Star Trek” series. Later fixed her mind to pursue a career in the field rather than finished her study at New York's Washington Irving High School, she subsequently concluded to drop out from the institution to then boldly head for California with hopes to encounter better opportunity there.
First landed her feet in San Diego, California Whoopi's decision thankfully did not prove in vain for she quickly managed to join an improvisational theater group called Spontaneous Combustion while helped establishing the San Diego Repertory Theater which gave her chance to taste onstage experience through its productions of “Mother Courage” plus “Getting Out” among others. Much to be noticed from this period was it was during the time that she began to use her stage name of Whoopi Goldberg after changing it from Whoopi Cushion upon her mother's suggestion, drawing the first one from her condition of being overly flatulent and the last from Jewish side of her family. With this unusual moniker, the aspiring actress optimistically worked on her path to finally join Blake Street Hawkeyes Theatre in Berkeley where she smoothly made her way to build a reputation as a glowing stand-up comedienne which thus gave her enough confidence to create her own one-woman satirical performance piece called “The Spook Show” in 1983.
To Whoopi's surprise, “The Spook Show” unexpectedly left such deep impression to director Mike Nichols when it was presented at the Dance Theatre Workshop in New York that he immediately offered her to bring the production to Broadway without any slightest doubt. Presented in 1984 simply under the title of her own name, the show successfully stunned both critics