A true icon! Whoopi Goldberg went from humble beginnings to making history — and she doesn’t show any signs of stopping.
The multitalented star grew up in New York City before moving across the country to California in the 1970s. Her first major career breakthrough occurred back on her home turf with the success of her one-woman show, originally called The Spook Show. When the production was brought to Broadway for a brief run in 1984, it was renamed Whoopi Goldberg and later released as an HBO special the following year.
Her turn on the Great White Way ultimately led to her first big film role in 1985’s The Color Purple. Goldberg’s portrayal of Celie earned her the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Motion Picture. She was also nominated for an Oscar that year but walked away empty handed.
Goldberg’s first Academy Award win didn’t come for another five years when she nabbed the best supporting actress trophy for 1990’s Ghost. The achievement brought her one step closer to earning the coveted EGOT title. She became the first Black woman to score all four major award wins in 2002.
Not only is the Soapdish star a legend of stage and screen, but she’s also widely known for her hot takes on The View. In 2007, she joined the panel of cohosts as the show’s moderator — and has remained in the role for more than a decade.
“I’m there until I don’t think I can do it anymore, but I’m not there yet,” she told Variety in April 2021 of her future on the daytime talk show. “As long as they allow me to do both [acting and hosting], I can do it. The minute they say, ‘No, you can’t,’ then I have to figure out what to do.”
Goldberg’s years of success didn’t come easily but her hard work certainly paid off. Following the release of Sister Act and its sequel in 1992 and 1993, respectively, she was the highest-paid actress in the biz.
“That lasted 25 minutes, and then it was gone,” she teased to Variety. “I’m really glad that I was one of the first to break that little ceiling or crack it.”
The Racing Stripes star has made huge strides for women in entertainment, particularly women of color. Her greatest achievement? “That I’m still here,” she told the outlet. “I didn’t fade away. I didn’t disappear. I’m still here and still here doing me.”
Keep scrolling for a look back on how Goldberg’s impressive career began: