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American comedian, actress, and television host Whoopi Goldberg was born Caryn Elaine Johnson in 1955 in New York City. Today, Whoopi Goldberg is best known for her role as moderator of the television talk show The View, but even before she began this role in 2007, Goldberg’s career already boasted multiple industry awards and dozens of television and film roles that had already made her one of the most recognizable comedians of the era.
Goldberg’s earliest appearances were in a number of small films in the early 1980’s, until in 1983 she appeared in her own one-woman show, The Spook Show. Director Mike Nichols, impressed by the show, offered to bring it to Broadway, and the show became Whoopi’s big breakthrough. The show, simply titled Whoopi Goldberg, ran more than one hundred fifty performance and ultimately led to Goldberg’s first HBO special, Whoopi Goldberg: Direct from Broadway.
But in the mid 1980’s, a different director saw a spark in Whoopi beyond the comedic talents; Stephen Spielberg cast Goldberg in the title role of the groundbreaking dramatic film, The Color Purple. In her first dramatic role, Whoopi Goldberg’s performance earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress, launching an acting career that brought her both comedic and dramatic roles for much of the 1980’s and into the 1990’s. She also became the first African-American woman to host the Academy Awards in 1994; Goldberg would go on to host the ceremony again three more times.
Since 2007, Whoopi Goldberg has been the moderator and co-host of the television talk show The View, following Rosie O’Donnell’s departure. Goldberg recently co-founded the company Whoopi & Maya, which seek to provide medical marijuana-based products designed for and marketed towards women.
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