Whoopi Goldberg : her journey from poverty to megastardom

by Parish, James Robert.

Format: Print Book 1997
Availability: Available at 2 Libraries 2 of 2 copies
Available (2)
Location Collection Call #
F.O.R. Sto-Rox Library Biography BIO GOLDB Par
Location  F.O.R. Sto-Rox Library
Collection  Biography
Call Number  BIO GOLDB Par
Penn Hills Library Non-Fiction 791.43 PAR
Location  Penn Hills Library
Collection  Non-Fiction
Call Number  791.43 PAR
Karen Johnson, born in 1949, was raised by her mother in the racially mixed Chelsea district of New York City. By ninth grade she had quit school and spent most of her time in Central Park searching for drugs. While Karen Johnson's experiences may seem like many urban horror stories, hers took a dramatic turn the day she decided to move west and change her name to Whoopi Goldberg.

Relocating to San Diego with Alexandrea, her daughter from her first marriage to her drug counselor, was not easy. She lived on welfare and scrambled for whatever jobs she could get, including work as a bricklayer and a makeup artist for a mortician. While in San Diego, Whoopi joined an improvisational troupe where she honed her comedic talents.

She began doing standup comedy, eventually moving to San Francisco, where her one-woman program was discovered by director/producer Mike Nichols. Nichols brought her show to Broadway, and she won a Grammy for it. But her big break came when Steven Spielberg cast Whoopi inthe demanding role of Celle in the film version of Alice Walker's novel The Color Purple, a performance that won a Golden Globe award and an Oscar nomination. She went on to win an Academy Award for her role in Ghost. Whoopi Goldberg had finally made it big.

Whoopi Goldberg: Her Journey From Poverty to Mega-Stardom goes behind the scenes to examine:

- How her secret romance with married actor Ted Danson climaxed in the "notorious" Friars club roast

- Whoopi's confrontation with her absentee father, who died of AIDS in 1993

- Her three failed marriages and her once troubled relationship with her daughter

- Her legendary feud with Disney studio management over the making of Sister Act

-Why her precedent-setting hosting of the Academy Awards ceremonies in 1994 and 1996 set

Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Parish chronicles the career of one of America's best-known stand-up comics and actresses, who nonetheless remains an enigma. Goldberg's biography includes her life as a welfare mother and drug addict; however, Goldberg's reinvention of herself, including changing her name from Caryn Johnson, has caused much of her background to remain in dispute. What isn't disputed is her position as a controversial star, which has added to her difficulties in getting work in Hollywood even beyond the limitations set for women and minorities. Parish recounts Goldberg's determination to pursue an entertainment career, several troubled marriages, and admitted failure as a parent. He also recounts the long-running battles with other black entertainers at odds with Goldberg's racial politics. Goldberg's own quirky personality, as well as Hollywood's predilections, has resulted in a body of work that includes a highly acclaimed role in the movie The Color Purple, an Academy Award for Ghost, a failed stint as a TV talk-show host, Star Trek appearances, and constant work as a celebrity promoter of causes ranging from AIDS to abortion rights. (Reviewed December 15, 1997)1559724315Vanessa Bush"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "The tone for this cut-and-paste celebrity bio of comedian and film star Whoopi Goldberg is set by the first chapter, an extended account of the infamous Friar's Club roast of Goldberg at which Ted Danson, her then-lover, appeared in blackface and told racially and sexually offensive jokes. After that, Parish, author of 88 volumes of entertainment journalism, attempts to sustain the controversy throughout, from Goldberg's rough New York childhood (where she was born Caryn Johnson), through her years as a performance artist and avant-garde actress, to her instant stardom with The Color Purple and subsequent career in less prestigious films. There's a good deal about her drug use as a young woman, her failed relationships and marriages, and her bad career choices, but because the book is based almost entirely on previously published and broadcast interviews of Goldberg, there is very little here that will surprise even readers who are only casually interested in Goldberg. But this is not entirely the author's fault. Many of the stories here‘how Goldberg chose her stage name, why she prefers not to be called an "African American"‘have been told and retold. As one of the most garrulous interviewees in show business, and as the author of the currently bestselling Book, the performer who made her mark by being shocking seems to have little new to say. Filmography; eight pages color photos, 16 pages b&w photos not seen by PW. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Goldberg, Whoopi, -- 1955-
Comedians -- United States -- Biography.
Women comedians -- United States -- Biography.
African American women comedians -- Biography.
African American comedians -- Biography.
Motion picture actors and actresses -- United States -- Biography.
African American motion picture actors and actresses -- Biography.
Publisher Secaucus, N.J. :Carol Pub. Group,1997
Language English
Notes "A Birch Lane Press book."
Description vii, 390 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 368-375), filmography (pages 345-367) and index.
ISBN 1559724315 (hc)
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