Thursday, 13 November 2008

Happy Birthday Whoopi Goldberg (53)

Whoopi Goldberg (born Caryn Elaine Johnson; November 13, 1955) is an American actress, comedienne, and television host.

She is one of only thirteen people who have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony Award, including Daytime Emmy Awards. In 1990, she became the second African American female performer after Hattie McDaniel to win an Academy Award for acting. She has won two Golden Globe Awards and two Saturn Awards for her performances in Star Trek Generations and Ghost.

Early life
Goldberg was born Caryn Elaine Johnson in New York City and raised in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood, the daughter of Emma (née Harris), a nurse and teacher, and Robert James Johnson, a clergyman. Goldberg's mother was a "stern, strong and wise woman" who raised her as a single mother after Goldberg's father had left the family. Her stage name was taken from whoopee cushion, which she initially used as her stage name; she stated that "If you get a little gassy, you've got to let it go. So people used to say to me, 'You're like a whoopee cushion.' And that's where the name came from." She chose the surname "Goldberg" after Jewish ancestors of hers who bore the surname, having said that "Goldberg's a part of my family somewhere." In 1991, she referred to herself as a "Jewish-Catholic girl from New York"; she has also stated that her mother is Jewish and referred to herself as a "Jewish-American Princess". A DNA test, broadcast in the 2006 PBS documentary African American Lives, traced most of her ancestry to the Papel and Bayote people of modern-day Guinea-Bissau. Her racial admixture test revealed her genetic makeup to be 92 percent sub-Saharan African and 8 percent European.

In an anecdote told by Nichelle Nichols in the documentary film Trekkies, a young Goldberg was watching Star Trek, and upon seeing Nichols' character Uhura, exclaimed, "Momma! There's a black lady on TV and she ain't no maid!" This spawned life-long fandom of Star Trek for Goldberg, who would eventually achieve a recurring guest-starring role in 1987's Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Goldberg's on-screen talent first emerged in 1981-82 in Citizen: I'm Not Losing My Mind, I'm Giving It Away, an avant-garde ensemble feature by San Francisco filmmaker William Farley. Goldberg created The Spook Show, a one-woman show devised of different character monologues, in 1983. Director Mike Nichols was instantly impressed and offered to bring the show to Broadway. The self-titled show ran from October 24, 1984 to March 10, 1985 for a total of 156 sold-out performances. While on Broadway, Goldberg's performance caught the eye of director Steven Spielberg. He was about to direct the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Color Purple, written by Alice Walker. Having read the novel, she was ecstatic at being offered a lead role in her first motion picture. Goldberg received compliments on her acting from Spielberg, Walker, and music consultant Quincy Jones. The Color Purple was released in the late autumn of 1985, and was a critical and commercial success. It was later nominated for 11 Academy Awards including a nomination for Goldberg as Best Actress. The movie did not win any of its Academy Award nominations, but Goldberg won the Golden Globe Award.

Personal life
At age 18, during her marriage to 26-year-old Alvin Martin, Goldberg gave birth to their first and only child Alexandrea c.1973. After Goldberg's divorce from Martin, she moved to California and helped found the San Diego Repertory Company, where she used the stage name Whoopi Cushion. Before succeeding as an actress, she worked as a bank teller, a bricklayer, and a mortuary cosmetologist. Goldberg later went on to marry David Claessen, but they divorced after two years, in 1988. Whoopi later married Lyle Trachtenberg, but their marriage lasted only one year. In 2000, Whoopi broke up with her boyfriend of five years, Frank Langella.

Goldberg has three grandchildren through her daughter, Alexandrea Martin. The eldest, named Amarah Skye, born on November 13, 1989, shares Goldberg's birthday.

In 1993, Goldberg was briefly involved with Ted Danson, her co-star in Made in America. Danson was married at the time and caring for his wife, who had survived a stroke while giving birth in 1979. There was controversy following a comedy routine at a Friars' Club roast in which Danson performed in blackface. Goldberg wrote the script.

Goldberg was involved in controversy in the summer of 2004 when, at a fundraiser for John Kerry at Radio City Music Hall in New York, Goldberg made a sexual joke about President George W. Bush, by waving a bottle of wine, pointing toward her vagina and saying: "We should keep Bush where he belongs, and not in the White House." Slim-Fast, the biggest company in US health shake market, took exception to these comments made by Goldberg and dropped her from their current ad campaign.

Goldberg is one of few to win an Oscar, a Grammy, a Tony, and an Emmy. She has starred in over 150 films, and during a period in the 1990s, Whoopi was the highest-paid actress of all time. Her humanitarian efforts include working for Comic Relief, recently reuniting with Billy Crystal and Robin Williams for the 20th Anniversary of Comic Relief.

In February 2002, Goldberg sent her Oscar statuette from Ghost to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to be cleaned and replated. During this time, the statuette was taken from its shipping container, and later retrieved by the shipping company, UPS.
She is currently working on creating the Stanton Award, awarded to best comedic performance. (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Whoopi Goldberg
Date of Birth:
13 November 1955, New York, New York, USA

Birth Name:
Caryn Elaine Johnson

Da Whoop

5' 5" (1.65 m)

Whoopi Goldberg was born in the Chelsea section of Manhattan in 1955 as Caryn Elaine Johnson. She worked in a funeral parlor and as a bricklayer while taking small parts on Broadway. She moved to California and worked with improv groups, including Spontaneous Combustion, and developed her skills as a stand-up comedienne. She came to prominence doing an HBO special and a one-woman show as Moms Mabley. She has been known in her prosperous career as a unique and socially conscious talent with articulately liberal views. Among her boyfriends were Ted Danson and Frank Langella. She was married three times and was once addicted to drugs.

Whoopi Goldberg first came to prominence with her starring role in The Color Purple (1985). She received much critical acclaim, and an Oscar nomination for her role and became a major star as a result. Subsequent efforts in the late 1980s were, at best, marginal hits. These movies mostly were off-beat to formulaic comedies like Burglar (1987), The Telephone (1988), and Jumpin' Jack Flash (1986). Goldberg made her mark as a household name and a mainstay in Hollywood for her Oscar-winning role in the box office smash Ghost (1990). Whoopi Goldberg was at her most famous in the early 1990s, making regular appearances on "Star Trek: The Next Generation" (1987). She admitted to being a huge fan of the original _"Star Trek" (1967) _ and jumped at the opportunity to star in "Next Generation."

Goldberg received another smash hit role in Sister Act (1992). Her fish-out-of-water with some flash seemed to resonate with audiences and was a box office smash. Whoopi starred in some highly publicized and moderately successful comedies of this time, including Made in America (1993) and Soapdish (1991). Goldberg followed up to her success with Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit (1993), which was well-received but didn't seem to match up to the first.

As the late 1990s approached, Goldberg seemed to alternate between lead roles in straight comedies such as Eddie (1996) and The Associate (1996), and took supporting parts in more independent minded movies such as The Deep End of the Ocean (1999) and How Stella Got Her Groove Back (1998). Goldberg never forgot where she came from, hosting many tributes to other legendary entertainment figures. Her most recent movies include Rat Race (2001) and the quietly received Kingdom Come (2001/I). Goldberg contributes her voice to many cartoons, including The Pagemaster (1994) and "Captain Planet and the Planeteers" (1990), as Gaia, the voice of the earth. Alternating between big-budget movies, independent movies, tributes, documentaries, and even TV movies (including Theodore Rex (1995)).

Whoopi Goldberg is accredited as a truly unique and visible talent in Hollywood. Perhaps she will always be remembered as well for Comic Relief, playing an integral part in almost every benefit concert they had. Currently Whoopi Goldberg is the center square in "Hollywood Squares" (1998) and frequently hosts the Academy Awards. She also is an author, with the book "Book."

Lyle Trachtenberg (1 October 1994 - October 1995) (divorced)
David Claessen (1 September 1986 - October 1988) (divorced)
Alvin Martin (1973 - 1979) (divorced) 1 child

Trade Mark
Wire-rimmed sunglasses.
No eyebrows

2000: Broke up with boyfriend of five years Frank Langella.

Discovered by director Mike Nichols.

1994: Became the very first woman to host the Academy Awards solo.

Dated Ted Danson.

Born at 12:48pm-EST.

Daughter: Alexandrea; Granddaughters: Amarah and Jerzey.

Travels to locations by bus since she hates flying.

She won a Grammy for "Whoopi Goldberg: Direct From Broadway."

Once worked in a mortuary where her job was applying makeup to corpses.

1985: Listed as one of 12 Promising New Actors of 1985 in "John Willis's Screen World," Vol. 37.

Was nicknamed Whoopi (as in "whoopi-cushion") because of being overly flatulent. She added the name Goldberg, taken from the Jewish side of her family.

Holds an honorary degree from Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pa.

Dropped out of high school and became addicted to heroin. She ended up marrying her drug counselor. She cleaned up and later divorced him. In 1974 she moved to California and helped found the San Diego Repertory Company, where she used the name, Whoopi Cushion. Before making it as an actress, she worked as a bank teller, a bricklayer and in a mortuary.

She was inspired to become an actress by watching Nichelle Nichols's portrayal of Uhura on "Star Trek" (1966).

Is dyslexic.

Mother of actress Alex Martin.

2002: Hosted the Oscar ceremonies.

Asked Gene Roddenberry for a role in "Star Trek: The Next Generation" (1987) because she was a big fan. She was given role of "Guinan", the head of the Ten-Forward lounge. Her character was named for legendary entertainer / nightclub owner Texas Guinan.

Spokesmodel of the "got milk?" campaign.

Is an avid Fiesta Ware (china) collector.

2002: Won a Tony as a producer for Best Musical, "Thoroughly Modern Millie.".

1985: Won a Grammy for Best Comedy Performance Single or Album, Spoken or Musical for "Original Broadway Show Recording.".

Was the second African American woman to win an Oscar. The first was Hattie McDaniel.

Biography in: "Who's Who in Comedy" by Ronald L. Smith, pg. 184-186. New York: Facts on File, 1992. ISBN 0816023387.

Has over 4 different action figures modeled after her character, Guinan, from the "Star Trek" series and the films.

Is part-owner of Mary's Kitchen, a country store/kitchen in Malibu, California. It is staffed by "New Yorkers" and certain furnishings were imported from New York because Whoopi wanted a touch of home in Malibu.

In the "Absolutely Fabulous" (1992) series episode "Gay," she played a woman who arranges marriages. In her guest-starring role in "The Nanny" (1993) (episode "The Pre-Nup"). she played a wedding planner.

Has a tattoo of Woodstock (the bird from the Charles M. Schulz's "Peanuts" cartoon strip) on her shoulder.

Granddaughter Amarah Skye was born on her 34th birthday.

When she was only 8, she performed with the Children's Program and the Hudson Guild and The Rubenstein Children's Theatre.

Member of the jury at the Cannes Film Festival in 1991

Has her own production company, One Ho Productions, which backs most of her movies and television projects.

Michael J. Fox accompanied her to the 1986 Academy Awards when she was nominated for The Color Purple (1985).

Was one of the eulogists at Gene Roddenberry's funeral in 1991, along with other Star Trek stars Nichelle Nichols and Patrick Stewart.

Did a private stand-up comedy routine entitled "If E.T. landed in Oakland" in front of, among others, Steven Spielberg and Michael Jackson, which eventually won her the lead in The Color Purple (1985), which Spielberg directed.

One of only four actresses who won the quadruple crown of acting: The Oscar, Tony, Emmy and Grammy.

Her performance as Oda Mae Brown in Ghost (1990) is ranked #95 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.

Is good friends with Patrick Stewart.

She was awarded The Annual Kennedy Centre Mark Twain Prize for Comedy.

The first woman to host the Academy Awards on her own. She hosted them in 2002, 1999, 1996 and 1994.

Is one of only 7 African-American actresses to receive a Best Actress Oscar nomination. The others in chronological order are: Dorothy Dandridge, Diana Ross, Cicely Tyson, Diahann Carroll, Angela Bassett and Halle Berry.

She is one of only 10 individuals who have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony Award (counting Daytime Emmy Awards).

Worked as a Dishwasher at a restaurant called "Big Kitchen" at 3003 Grape St in San Diego.

Performed all her own singing in the "Sister Act" movies. Her co-stars have claimed that they were surprised at her vocal ability.

Has a brother who is seven years older than her.

Personal Quotes
[talking about critics, on the "Queen Latifah Show" (1999)] You can say whatever you want about me, but talk about my daughter and I'll beat your ass up.

[quip while hosting the The 71st Annual Academy Awards (1999) (TV)] Babe: Pig in the City (1998). Wasn't that the Linda Tripp Story?

My family is Jewish, Buddhist, Baptist and Catholic. I don't believe in man-made religions.

I'm a big old egoistical baby and that's okay. I can accept it.

[speaking about Alice Walker, author of "The Color Purple", on her efforts to get a part in the film (The Color Purple (1985)) that was made from it] I told her I would play a Venetian blind, dirt on the floor, anything." [about Alice Walker, author of "The Color Purple", in which Goldberg eventually played a leading role]

Actors have no color. That's the art form.

[in 1994 interview, on African-American actors in Hollywood] I don't know if I'm the one who should be commenting on the situation. I can't complain about the amount of work that's out there. I am black. But I didn't become black yesterday. I'm black and I'm getting the work and I'm doing some good things, but I realize many black actors and actresses are not being given the opportunities. The industry has got to stop thinking in terms of black and white and has to start thinking in terms of who is right, regardless of color, for the role.

[in 1994 interview, about "Star Trek" (1966)] I know I'm never going up, for real, in anybody's rocket ship. I know this because I hate to fly. Gene Roddenberry's vision always included a multi-ethnic group of people. I thought that was pretty amazing. Being on "Star Trek" has been a great way to sort of expand on the universe and be a part of it." (1994 interview)

[in 1994 interview, on how she got cast in "Star Trek: The Next Generation" (1987)] I did it because, frankly, I couldn't get any other work then. I liked the show, so I asked if I could be on it. As a matter of fact, I asked twice. The first time, I sent a message to LeVar Burton asking him to tell the producers that I would really like to be on the show. He got the message to the producers and they said, "Yeah, right. Whoopi wants to do "Star Trek". One of the members [Gates McFadden] left the show and I heard about it, so I approached the show's producers again and said, "Listen, I don't know if you know it or not, but I've been trying for a long time now to get on this show." They said LeVar had told them about it and they thought he was kidding. I told them I can't do all the episodes but I would like to do some of them. "Can I have the job?" They finally said, "Sure, we'll build you a bar". And they built me Ten-Forward. I got to go in and be really sage and wear great hats. I also got to hang out with some extraordinary people, like Patrick Stewart, LeVar and Jonathan Frakes.

[2002 interview, on working with the cast of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" (1987)] The connections between us is family. Its just family. And its unshakable, you know. Because you look around and you see a great part of your active adult life. Great part of my active adult life was spent with the cast and crew of "Star Trek".

Nobody ever encouraged me in this business. I encouraged myself. I was a very dull and shy child. I was the last person you would expect to be a success in this business. But I always felt if I kept going something would happen. But I even surprised myself at times. When I was doing ensemble theater and comedy work, I felt I had some talents. But when I started doing my shows in Berkeley and found that I could be funny on my own, I was shocked.

[from a 1990 interview] None of the stuff I've done will ever cure cancer. It's entertainment and some of it has been better entertainment than others. Ghost (1990) is a good little movie, like Jumpin' Jack Flash (1986), which I've changed my mind about and am finally able to watch. Burglar (1987) and Clara's Heart (1988) are good little movies. There's also a couple I don't care for. The Telephone (1988) read brilliantly but was cockadoo on the screen. I'm also not crazy about Fatal Beauty (1987); it could have been a whole lot better. I've done good stuff and bad stuff. That's what careers are all about.

[at the 1996 MTV Movie Awards, when she was very pleased to see Bob Barker won the award for Happy Gilmore (1996)]: Any Motion Picture Award program would give a big hand to Bob Barker. I have to come to; because that's very big, and Bob told me he was surprised at what happened. See, you never know, you never know!

Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit (1993) $7,000,000