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Whoopi Goldberg, originally named Caryn Johnson, was born in New York, New York to Robert and Emma Johnson. Her parents separated when she was a toddler, and she spent the first years of her life in a public housing project in Manhattan. She got into show business early, performing with the Children's Program at the Hudson Guild when she was eight. She also performed at the Helena Rubinstein Children's Theatre as a child. Her first appearances on Broadway were in bit parts while she worked as a bricklayer and funeral parlor make-up artist to support herself. In the early seventies she moved to San Diego where she became part of an improv group called Spontaneous Combustion. There she got married to Alvin Martin and became addicted to heroin. The two had a daughter, Alexandra, before divorcing in 1975. She managed to get clean from heroin around that time as well.

Goldberg created THE SPOOK SHOW which first played in San Francisco and later toured the U.S. And Europe. That show evolved into her breakthrough solo production which appeared on Broadway. The album from the show won her a Grammy Award as Best Comedy Recording of the Year. That same year she appeared as Celie in the movie THE COLOR PURPLE, receiving an Academy Award and winning a Golden Globe for her performance. Goldberg later won both an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for her supporting role in GHOST. She is also the winner of several NAACP Image Awards and People's Choice Awards.

Goldberg has enjoyed a thriving film career and has appeared on numerous television shows. She briefly had her own talk show called "The Whoopi Goldberg Show." She has co-hosted Comic Relief with Billy Crystal and Robin Williams for several years in a row and is involved in many humanitarian causes focusing on children, the homeless, human rights, substance abuse, and AIDS.

CHRONOLOGY

1955 She was born in New York, New York.

1973 She married Alvin Martin; Her daughter, Alexandra Martin, was born.

1974 She and Alvin Martin divorced.

1975 She moved to San Diego, California.

1984 Her breakthrough solo production appeared on Broadway.

1985 The record album of her Broadway show won a Grammy Award as Best Comedy Recording of the Year.; THE COLOR PURPLE- film; She received an Academy Award nomination and a Golden Globe for her portrayal of Celie in THE COLOR PURPLE.

1986 She married David Claessen. (September 1); JUMPIN' JACK FLASH - film

1987 She first co-hosted HBO's "Comic Relief" which benefits the homeless.

1988 She and David Claessen divorced.; CLARA'S HEART - film; She began appearing on the television show, "Star Trek: The Next Generation."

1989 HOMER AND EDDIE - film

1990 She won a Golden Globe and an Academy Award for her supporting role in GHOST.

1991 SISTER ACT- film; She purchased a farmhouse in Cornwall, Connecticut.

1992 Her talk show, "The Whoopi Goldberg Show" debuted.; Her children's book ALICE was published.; SISTER ACT - film

1993 Her father died of stomach cancer and complications from HIV.; SISTER ACT 2: BACK IN THE HABIT, MADE IN AMERICA - films

1994 CORRINA, CORRINA - film; She married Lyle Trachtenberg. (October 1)

1995 Prints of her hands, feet and braids were placed in cement at Mann's Chinese Theatre.; She and Lyle Trachtenberg divorced.; BOYS ON THE SIDE, MOONLIGHT AND VALENTINO - films

1996 EDDIE, GHOSTS OF MISSISSIPPI- films

1997 BOOK was published.

1998 HOW STELLA GOT HER GROOVE BACK - film

1999 GIRL, INTERRUPTED, THE DEEP END OF THE OCEAN - films

2000 THE ADVENTURES OF ROCKY AND BULLWINKLE - film