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Whoopi Goldberg is a Grammy-Award winning comedienne, an actress, a human rights advocate, and TV host of the daytime talk show The View.
Whoopi Goldberg - Ghost (4:05)
An inside look at the life of Whoopi Goldberg as told by Whoopi herself.
After working in stand up comedy, Whoopi Goldberg wanted to try her hand at film acting and was given her first major role by Steven Spielberg in the film "The Color Purple."
At the age of 20 Whoopi Goldberg, then Caryn Johnson, decided to move out to California to try and break into show business.
In 1990 Whoopi Goldberg starred in "Ghost" as Oda Mae Brown, a role for which she won the Academy Award for best Actress in a Supporting Role.
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Whoopi Goldberg became moderator of the daytime talk show The View on September 4, 2007. She replaced a sometimes combative Rosie O'Donnell, who left the show in May 2007 after a little less than a year.
Goldberg wasted no time jumping into controversy. On her first day, she defended football star Michael Vick in his dogfighting case, saying "from where he comes from" in the South (he grew up in Newport News, Virginia), dogfighting isn't that unusual. "It's like cockfighting in Puerto Rico, " she said. "There are certain things that are indicative to certain parts of the country." On the next day's broadcast, Goldberg insisted she had repeated several times she did not condone what Vick did.
In the early 1970s, Goldberg was briefly married to the man who had been her drug counselor. The couple had one child, Alexandrea, and divorced in 1974. She was married to cameraman David Claessen from 1986 to 1988. Goldberg then had a high-profile romance with actor Ted Danson in the early 1990s. She has a daughter, Alexandrea Martin, two granddaughters, Amarah Skye and Jerzey, and one grandson Mason.
Goldberg holds a Ph.D. in literature from New York University and an honorary degree from Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.
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From the early comedy of Nipsey Russell, Richard Pryor and Bill Cosby to the contemporary routines of Steve Harvey, Mo'Nique, Chris Rock, Wanda Sykes and Dave Chappelle, black comedians have often used their wit to become the voice and face of the African-American experience. These legendary comedians have also set a very high bar—not only for African Americans, but for all comics trying to make it in show business. Learn more about these famous jokesters, from their early days to their comic beginnings, to their side-splitting performances and more.
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Visit Biography.com's Women's History group to explore more biographies, photos and videos of some the world's most fascinating women.
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