'The View' co-host Whoopi Goldberg's biography

ByABC News
November 16, 2020, 5:02 PM
The View co-host Whoopi Goldberg
The View co-host Whoopi Goldberg
Jeff Lipsky/ABC

Whoopi Goldberg is among an elite group of artists who have won the GRAMMY® (“Whoopi Goldberg”), Academy Award® (“Ghost”), Golden Globe® (“The Color Purple” and “Ghost”), Emmy® (as host of AMC’s “Beyond Tara: The Extraordinary Life of Hattie McDaniel” and a Daytime Emmy for “The View”) and Tony® (producer of “Thoroughly Modern Millie”). She was honored in 2017 with the Disney Legends Award, which celebrates artists whose work has significantly contributed to Disney’s enduring reputation for creative excellence, and she served as a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Board of Governors from 2017-2023.

Born and raised in New York City, Goldberg worked in theater and improvisation in San Diego and the Bay Area, performing with the Blake Street Hawkeyes theater troupe. It was there she created the characters that became “The Spook Show” and evolved into her hit Broadway show, GRAMMY Award-winning album, and the HBO special that helped launch her career.Goldberg made her motion picture debut in the Steven Spielberg-directed “The Color Purple,” for which she earned an Academy Award nomination and a Golden Globe Award. Her performance in “Ghost” earned her the Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress. She has also appeared in numerous other films, including “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” “Clara’s Heart,” “The Long Walk Home,” “Soapdish,” “Sister Act,” “Made in America,” “Boys on the Side,” “Ghosts of Mississippi,” “How Stella Got Her Groove Back,” “Girl, Interrupted,” “Kingdom Come,” “Rat Race,” “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” Adriana Trigiani’s film adaptation of “Big Stone Gap” and co-starred with Tiffany Haddish and Tika Sumpter in Tyler Perry’s “Nobody’s Fool.” She has also voiced characters in such animated classics as “The Lion King” and “Toy Story 3” as well as recent and upcoming animated features, including “Luck,” “My Father’s Dragon” and “Pierre the Pigeon Hawk.” She appeared in and produced the critically acclaimed feature film “Till.” Upcoming projects include “Sister Act 3” for Disney+ and the feature films “Outlaw Posse,” “Ezra” and “Atribilious.”

On television, Goldberg appeared for five seasons on “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” co-starred with Jean Stapleton in “Bagdad Café,” and hosted her own syndicated late-night talk show. She appeared in the Emmy-nominated HBO drama “In the Gloaming,” directed by Christopher Reeve, as well as the Wonderful World of Disney presentations of “Rogers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella” and “A Knight in Camelot,” and the miniseries “Alice in Wonderland” and “The Magical Legend of the Leprechauns.” She starred in the NBC sitcom “Whoopi,” which she executive produced, as well as the television movies “It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie” and Showtime’s “Good Fences,” which she co-produced with co-star Danny Glover. She executive produced the Lifetime original movie “What Makes a Family” and Showtime’s “Ruby’s Bucket of Blood,” and she executive produced and starred in the TNT original movie “Call Me Claus,” the Showtime original “Good Fences” and the Lifetime original movie “A Day Late and a Dollar Short.” Goldberg has been the moderator and co-host of ABC’s “The View” since 2007. She appeared in the 2020 adaptation of Stephen King’s bestselling novel “The Stand” and has recurring roles on Amazon’s “Harlem” and the EPIX series “Godfather of Harlem.” She reprised her iconic role of Guinan in season two of the Paramount+ series “Star Trek: Picard.” She will also be seen in the highly anticipated limited series for Amazon Prime Video based on Neil Gaiman’s acclaimed fantasy novel “Anansi Boys.” Goldberg narrated the two seasons of ABC News Studios primetime series “The Con.”

Goldberg has had considerable success as a producer as well. She executive produced the Lifetime original series “Strong Medicine,” and from 1998 to 2002, she executive produced and appeared in the center square on “Hollywood Squares.” Under the umbrella of Whoop, Inc., Goldberg and partner Tom Leonardis also produced the live-action comedy series “Just for Kicks,” set in the world of girls’ soccer, for Nickelodeon, as well as “Stream,” an original sci-fi miniseries event for FEARnet.com. They recently launched the BET docuseries “According to Alex” and Oxygen’s “Strut,” which followed a group of transgender models breaking down barriers in the world of fashion while challenging stereotypes of gender and beauty and was honored with the GLAAD Media Award in 2017 for Outstanding Reality Program. They produced the documentary short “Coach” about legendary coach C. Vivian Stringer for ESPN’s “Nine for IX” series. Goldberg made her directorial debut on the Emmy Award-nominated documentary “Whoopi Goldberg Presents Moms Mabley,” which debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival and premiered on HBO in November 2013. Her documentary “Waldo on Weed” premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2019. Most recently, she executive produced the Lifetime movies “Caught in His Web” and “A New Orleans Noel.”

Goldberg has appeared on many television series and specials, including her own HBO specials, three-time host of ABC’s “A Gala for the President at Ford’s Theatre,” and nine historic “Comic Relief” telecasts with Billy Crystal and Robin Williams. Goldberg received Emmy Award nominations for hosting three Academy Awards telecasts and returned to host the first telecast at the new Kodak Theatre in 2002. She hosted the Tony Awards in 2008.

Goldberg executive produced the hit Broadway musical “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” which won six Tony Awards, including Best Musical. She also produced “Whoopi… The 20th Anniversary” and “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (in which she also starred), as well as the West End, Broadway and worldwide touring productions of “Sister Act: The Musical.” She provided the voice of the Giant in the all-star 2019 Hollywood Bowl production of “Into the Woods.”

She returned to Broadway in 1997, garnering rave reviews in “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.” In 2001, Goldberg returned to her performing roots, on tour for the first time in over 10 years, performing one-night-only engagements across the U.S. In 2003, Goldberg produced and starred in the title role of the Broadway revival of “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” She commemorated the 20th anniversary of her original one-woman show with a Tony-nominated engagement production on Broadway last year, and the HBO broadcast of the show was nominated for an Emmy Award. She appeared in the hit Broadway musical “Xanadu” and made her West End stage debut in a special limited run as Mother Superior in “Sister Act: The Musical” in 2011, which she also produced in London, on Broadway and around the world. In addition to the Oscar, GRAMMY and two Golden Globe Awards, Goldberg has been honored with multiple NAACP Image Awards, numerous People’s Choice Awards and five Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards as Favorite Movie Actress, as well as various awards and honors for her many humanitarian efforts.

In 1992, Goldberg made her debut as an author with the children’s book “Alice.” Her second literary endeavor, “Book,” became a bestseller, and she is the author of the children’s book series “Sugar Plum Ballerinas.” Her books for adults include “Is It Just Me? Or Is It Nuts Out There?,” “If Someone Says ‘You Complete Me’… Run!!!,” “The Unqualified Hostess: I Do It My Way, So You Can Too” and “Two Old Broads: Stuff You Need to Know That You Didn’t Know You Needed to Know” with Dr. M.E. Hecht. Her upcoming books include the graphic novel “The Change” and “Bits and Pieces.”

She has also created her own clothing line, Dubgee by Whoopi, and launched her extremely popular annual holiday collection, which has grown to include holiday sweaters, scarves and masks, in 2016.

In 1995, Goldberg placed prints of her hands, feet and braids in the forecourt of the famed Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.