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 and audience alike, including influential filmmaker Steven Spielberg who then eagerly billed her to play the lead character in his 1985 picture of “The Color Purple” opposite Danny Glover. Though it actually was her major film feature debut, she amazingly could deliver a very moving performance there as an abused woman named Celie, prompting HFPA to present her a Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama category along with AMPAS bestowing an Oscar nod in Best Actress in a Leading Role a year later.
Also scoring an Emmy nomination in Outstanding Guest Performer in a Drama Series category by the same year through her enactment in an episode of "Moonlighting", Whoopi unmistakably found herself shot right away to widespread recognition following the glorious attainment which really enabled her to move further in the industry. Afterwards seen in a number of movies like “Jumpin' Jack Flash” (1986), “Fatal Beauty” (1987), “Clara's Heart” (1988), plus “Homer and Eddie” (1989), the talented star wonderfully did not wait long to again strike the screen, this time hitting much harder as she fantastically nabbed triple honors of Oscar, BAFTA Award, and Golden Globe Award in supporting role category by 1991 for her memorable performance in “Ghost” (1990). The success joyously still continued when her next feature, “Sister Act” (1992), strived to garner superb result both critically and commercially, even brought her another Golden Globe nod for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Comedy/Musical category in 1993.
Shifted to hosting stint in her own late night chat program of “The Whoopi Goldberg Show” aired in syndication from 1992 to 1993, Whoopi satisfyingly maintained her film career well as she kept appearing in a steady stream of well-known motion pictures for the rest of 1990s, such as “Made in America” (1993), “Corrina, Corrina” (1994), “Ghosts of Mississippi” (1996), and “Girl, Interrupted” (1999). Already became a hugely respected actress by the turn of the third millennium, she, however, preferred to be more involved in providing voices to some animated features or in small screen productions during the first half of the era though people could still see her in movies like “Monkeybone” (2001) or “Star Trek: Nemesis” (2002). Nevertheless, she finally returned to film feature with full force by 2006 for there have already been 3 flicks of her namely “Homie Spumoni”, “If I Had Known I Was a Genius”, also “The Last Guy on Earth” set to be released in latter half of the year.
Concerning her private life, Whoopi has married for three times which all sadly did not work well, the first being with a drug counselor named Alvin Martin when she was barely 18 years old. Though already had a child together, a daughter called Alexandra, by 1973, the couple quickly decided to separate in 1974 and finally got their divorce paper finalized in 1979. The next year afterwards saw her dating playwright David Schein for about five years, but it was David Claessen, the director of photography of her 1988 film, “The Telephone”, whom she changed marriage vow with in 1986. This, too, only ran for a short time as they later broke up in October 1988, leading her to fall into the arms of several men, like Timothy Dalton and Ted Danson before gave her heart to Lyle Trachtenberg, a union organizer, thus held her third wedding ceremony on October 1, 1994. As the knot fell apart a year later, she then was spotted dating actor Frank Langella and a businessman named Michael Visbal in the early 2000s, but both unfortunately just turned out to be another failure in her romantic journey, much to her disappointment.