Goldberg, Whoopi (b. Caryn Johnson)(1955– ) movie actress, comedian; born in New York City. Raised in a Manhattan housing project, she dropped out of high school and became active in the civil rights movement. In the mid-1970s, she cofounded the San Diego Repertory Theatre. During that time she changed her name in order to protect her privacy and to promote her comic persona. Her one-woman show, Whoopi Goldberg, ran on Broadway (1984–85). Her movie credits include The Color Purple (1985) and Ghost (1990), for which she won an Academy Award.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.