With the Oscars coming up right around the corner and this being black history month, I’m striving to mix the two. The first female to solo host the Oscars, as well as be the first African American to host the Oscars, is Whoopi Goldberg.
This award-winning comedian, actress and human rights advocate, was born on November 13, 1955 in New York City. Originally named, Caryn Elaine Johnson, Whoopi Goldberg and her younger brother Clyde, were raised by their single mother, Emma. Ms. Goldberg changed her name when she determined that her given name was too boring. She dropped out of high school at the age of 17 and was unknowingly suffering from dyslexia. She is best known for her proficient representations in both comedic and dramatic roles, as well as her outstanding work in the Hollywood film industry as an African-American woman. During her stay in San Francisco, Ms. Goldberg was awarded a Bay Area Theater Award for her portrayal of comedienne Moms Mabley in a one-woman show. In 1983, she starred in the extremely popular The Spook Show. Among her most touching and characteristically opposing creations were “Little Girl” and “Fontaine“. Director, Steven Spielberg cast Ms. Goldberg in the principal female role of his 1985 production of The Color Purple, a film that went on to earn ten Academy Awards and five Golden Globe nominations. Ms. Goldberg received an Oscar nomination and her first Golden Globe Award, for Best Actress. Ever since “The Color Purple,” Ms. Goldberg has appeared in more than 80 film and television productions. Her performance as Oda Mae Brown in the 1990 film Ghost led to a number of landmark achievements. She won the 1991 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, making her the second African-American woman to win an Oscar. The role also acquired Goldberg her second Golden Globe, as well as the Black Entertainer of the Year Award from the NAACP and the Excellence Award at the Women in Film Festival. In 1992, Whoopi initiated her own television talk show, The Whoopi Goldberg Show. Featuring Whoopi in one-on-one interviews with well-known political and Hollywood celebrities, the show ran for 200 episodes until 1993. In 1994, 1996 and 1999, Ms. Goldberg hosted the Academy Awards, making her the first woman to do so. Whoopi Goldberg became a moderator of the daytime talk show The View on September 4, 2007. During her time on The View, Ms. Goldberg sought out other creative openings. She went behind the scenes to direct the 2013 documentary “Whoopi Goldberg Presents Moms Mabley”. She also appeared on several episodes of the TV musical Glee and was among the famous faces in the collection cast of Big Stone Gap (2015). An author of both children’s and adult fare, she gives out relationship advice with her 2015 book, If Someone Says ‘You Complete Me,’ Run!
“We’re born with success. It is only others who point out our failures and what they attribute to us as failure.” –Whoopi Goldberg
I admire Whoopi Goldberg because she has been in some of my favorite movies and she continues to break barriers. I aim to be as memorable as her with the all the contributions she has made to her craft and society.