Name at birth: Caryn Elaine Johnson
One of the most famous female comedians in the U.S., Whoopi Goldberg is also known for her dramatic performances in the films The Color Purple (1985, with Oprah Winfrey) and Ghost (1990, starring Demi Moore). Goldberg (who got her surname from her first husband) made a name for herself in the early 1980s with a one-woman stage production, The Spook Show. After touring the United States, she took her hit show to Broadway, which led Steven Spielberg to cast her in his film adaptation of the Alice Walker novel, The Color Purple. Goldberg earned an Oscar nomination and kicked off a movie career that has included an Oscar win for Ghost, the hit films Sister Act (1992) and Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit (1993) and voice work for the animated features The Lion King (1994) and The Pagemaster (1994). Active in TV as well, she's had a talk show, a comedy series, specials on HBO, a recurring role on Star Trek: The Next Generation (1988-93) and a regular gig on the game show The Hollywood Squares (1998-2004). Goldberg is also known as an activist who helped start Comic Relief (1986) to raise funds for the homeless (other founding performers include comedians Billy Crystal and Robin Williams). In addition to her Oscar for Ghost, Goldberg has a Grammy for Whoopi Goldberg (1985), an Emmy for hosting Beyond Tara: The Extraordinary Life of Hattie McDaniel (2002) and a Tony for producing Thoroughly Modern Millie (2002). In 2006 Goldberg jumped into the world of satellite radio, but the next year she joined the panel of hosts on TV's The View, taking the place of out-going Rosie O'Donnel.
A loud, proud black woman from New York City, Goldberg and her outspoken political views have sometimes made headlines and a few enemies: in 2004 she lost her job as a representative of Slim-Fast diet products because of remarks she made that were critical of President George W. Bush… Goldberg has hosted the both the Grammys (1992) and the Oscars (1994, 1996, 1999 and 2002)… Goldberg is the author of Book (1997) and, for children, Alice (1992) and Nobody Wants to See You With Your Finger Up Your Nose, Whoopi’s Big Book of Manners (2006).