Oscar Actors: Goldberg, Whoopi

Born Caryn Johnson November 13, 1949 in New York. Exuberant black seriocomic star of the American stage, TV, and films.

On the stage from age eight, she appeared in New York area productions and played small roles in Broadway musicals before moving to the West Coast in 1974. She performed with various drama and improvisation troupes in San Diego and San Francisco, then scored a personal hit in the onewoman 'Spook Show' with which she toured the US and Europe. Following a triumphant appearance on Broadway in 1984, she made a strong screen debut in Steven Spielberg's “The Color Purple” (1985) in a moving performance that earned her an Academy Award nomination.

Most of her subsequent film roles have been in the broad comedy vein. She won an Oscar as best supporting actress for “Ghost” (1990)-it was her second and last nomination.

In 1990, Goldberg co-starred in the TV comedy series “Bagdad Caf.” Her presence in “Sister Act,” one of the sleeper hits of 1991, guaranteed her a reported salary of $8 million for a return stint in its sequel, making her one of the highest paid actresses of all time.

In 1992, she hosted her own syndicated talk show. She assumed her Jewish-sounding name through her first marriage. Her second, also ended, was to cinematographer David Claessen.

Oscar Alert

In 1985, Goldberg lost the Best Actress Oscar to Geraldine Page in “The Trip to Bountiful,” in a race that also included Anne Bancroft in “Agnes of God,” Jessica Lange in “Sweet Dreams,” and Meryl Streep in “Out of Africa.”