African American Hero of the Day

African American Almanac
ISBN: 9781578593231

Which actress has won four of the most prestigious entertainment honors in film, television, stage, and music?

  • She hosts her own radio show.
  • She is a co-host on the television program The View.
  • She once played a prostitute who disguises herself as a nun in the musical comedy Sister Act.
  • She had an ongoing guest role in the science fiction series Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Whoopi Goldberg (1949--)

Actress, Comedienne

Born Caryn E. Johnson in Manhattan's Chelsea district in New York, on November 13, 1949, Whoopi Goldberg began performing at the age of eight at the children's program at Hudson Guild and Helen Rubinstein Children's Theatre. After trying her hand at theater, improvisation, and chorus parts on Broadway, she moved to San Diego in 1974 and appeared in repertory productions of Mother Courage and Getting Out.

Goldberg joined the Black Street Hawkeyes Theatre in Berkeley as a partner with David Schein, then went solo to create The Spook Show, performing in San Francisco and later touring the United States and Europe.

In 1983 Goldberg's work caught the attention of Mike Nichols, who created and directed her Broadway show a year later. She made her film debut in The Color Purple (1985), winning a NAACP Image Award as well as a Golden Globe Award.

Goldberg has had roles in numerous films, including Jumpin' Jack Flash (1986), Clara's Heart (1988), Ghost (1990), for which she won an Academy Award as best supporting actress, Sister Act (1992), Sarafina (1992), and Homie Spumoni (2007). On television she received an Emmy nomination in 1985 for her guest appearance on Moonlighting, had a recurring role on Star Trek: The Next Generation, and was a founding member of the Comic Relief benefit shows.

Goldberg's career is one of a trailblazer. She was the first African American woman to host the Academy Awards four times--1994, 1996, 1999, and 2002. She is one of only a few actors who have the major awards of an Oscar (Ghosts), a Tony (Thoroughly Modern Millie), an Emmy (Beyond Tara: the Extraordinary Life of Hattie McDaniel), and a Grammy (Whoopi: Direct from Broadway). In 2001 she was honored with a star on the Walk of Fame and awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.

From August 2006 to March 2008 Goldberg hosted a national syndicated talk radio show Wake up with Whoopi, and on September 4, 2007, she became the moderator and co-host of the television talk show The View.

From African American Almanac: 400 Years of Triumph, Courage and Excellence by Lean'tin Bracks, (c) 2012 Visible Ink Press(R). A wealth of milestones, inspiration, and challenges met . . .

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