Whoopi Goldberg rose to prominence with her role in the iconic movie The Color Purple, and the rest, as they say, is history.
It’s safe to say that she became a huge star almost overnight and captured the attention of millions with this Steven Spielberg’s masterpiece. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times awarded the film four stars, calling it “the year’s best film” thus referring to Goldberg’s role as “one of the most amazing debut performances in movie history.” Eventually, she became the first Black woman to win all four major North American entertainment awards, Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony.
Living in a housing project in Manhattan with her mother as a young child, Goldberg knew that comedy was her calling in life. She dropped school and married at the age of around 18 to Alvin Martin, the first of Whoopi’s three husbands, and that many failed marriages. From this union, which didn’t last long, the actress got her daughter Alexandra.
Once she divorced, Goldberg and Alexandra moved places and lived in San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.
Her dream of becoming comedian was always there, but she was forced to do other jobs in order to provide for her daughter.
Speaking to Oprah, Goldberg revealed she once worked as a mortuary beautician.
“I did hair and makeup on dead people,” Goldberg said.
“There was an ad in the paper! And I’m a licensed beautician as well, because I went to beauty school.
“It’s a rough gig,” she added. “You have to be a certain kind of person. And you have to love people in order to make them worthy of a great send-off.”
At the same time, she did comedy and toured across the US and Europe with her one-woman production, The Spook Show. It was then that she was discovered by legendary director Mike Nichols. He was enchanted with Goldberg’s talent and soon after her show got a Broadway production.
What followed was The Color Purple and then a number of other smash hit films, including Ghost, for which she received an Academy Award, and the everlasting Sister Act, which made her the highest paid actress in history at the time.
Recently, Goldberg was suspended from the award-winning talk show The View for using what the audience considered foul language.
When it comes to her private life, Goldberg says she is at he best when she’s single because it gives her peace.
Between 1986 and 1988, Goldberg married her second husband, David Claessen, and then in 1994, she tied the knot with Lyle Trachtenberg. None of the marriages lasted long, and the actress believes she is the one to be blamed for that.
Goldberg shared that she has a hard time sharing things with others, which was the case with her ex-husbands.
“Look, people expect you to have a boyfriend. They expect you to get married,” she told the New York Times.
“So I kept trying to do that, but I didn’t want to share information with somebody else. I didn’t want anybody asking me why I was doing what I was doing or to have to make the other person feel better.”
She then added: “But if you’re in a relationship, you have to do those things, and it took me a while to figure out that I didn’t want to.”
Quizzed by Piers Morgan on her former marriages, Goldberg admitted that she had never truly loved her husbands. She told Morgan, “I suppose that, you know, you have to actually be in love with the person that you marry. You have to really be committed to them. And I’m just – I don’t have that commitment.”
She then continued, “And it seemed to me that if I was married, I’d have a… more normal life. But clearly, that’s not the case. There’s not a good reason to get married. You have to actually want a life with someone through ups and downs. And I – I just discovered that wasn’t for me.”
The actress never spoke much of her private life. It was the same when she dated former Bond star Timothy Dalton. The two were considered a high-profile couple and dated for about a year. He even accompanied her to the 1991 Oscars when she took home the Best Supporting Actress award that night for her memorable turn as loony psychic Oda Mae Brown in Ghost. She, however, didn’t mention Dalton in her acceptance speech.
Goldberg also dates fellow co-star Ted Danson with whom she played alongside in the comedy Made in America (1993).
At the time they got involved in a relationship, Goldberg was single, but Danson was married. Once the word of their affair spread around, his then-wife Cassandra Coates kicked him to the curb and divorced him for a hefty $30 million.
Following his divorce, he and Goldberg remained together for some time and were friends for the next 18 months before they stopped being in touch.
Discussing their break-up, she confessed to Closer magazine, “It was really painful, and it was very public. And the loss of his friendship hurts a great deal. We can never go and have a soda, anywhere.” She further said, “I’m friends with almost every man I’ve gone out with, except this man.”
Goldberg says she’s not good at relationships. “I wish I was, but I’m not. I gave my child all the time and money that I had, now I want it for me,” during a 2009 interview with The Guardian.
“The only way I could be married to anyone ever again is if they lived in another country,” Whoopi said. “They could come and visit, it would be like, ‘Oh, my goodness, I haven’t seen you in so long. Come here!’”
Nowadays, Goldberg enjoys her life in the company of her cat, Oliver.
She is accredited as a truly unique and visible talent in Hollywood. We only wish her success in the years to come.
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Love and Peace