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10+ Facts About Whoopi Goldberg Fans Didn't Know

Jordan Claes 16 Oct 2020

There's a lot of adjectives I could throw out to describe Whoopi Goldberg. But if you were looking to describe Whoopi using only a single word, it would be this — inspirational.

Whoopi has spent her career tearing down walls and defying expectations. She deserves not only our praise but our respect as well.

Get to know her better and check out these 10+ facts about Whoopi Goldberg fans didn't know.

1. Whoopi Goldberg is a stage name.

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Whoopi's birthname is Caryn Elaine Johnson. She got the nickname Whoopi because of her tendency to pass gas freely; her friends used to call her a whoopee-cushion.

She took the surname Goldberg because she thought she'd be more well-received in Hollywood if she sounded Jewish.

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2. She's won nearly every major award there is to win.

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Whoopi is a member of the prestigious EGOT group. She's one of only four actresses who have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, as well as a Tony Award.

Her trophy room must be overflowing by this point!

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3. Whoopi was the center-square on Hollywood Squares for years!

Hollywood Squares was a game show version of tic-tac-toe.

Host Tom Bergeron would read trivial pursuit style questions and guests would have to discern whether or not the answers given to them were either true or false.

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4. She knows how to belt out a tune!

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Of all the films in Whoopi's canon of work, perhaps none is more revered and beloved than Sister Act.

It may surprise you to learn that Whoop didn't use a voice double in either film, that's really her singing.

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5. Whoopi is an Oscar winner!

Giphy | The Late Show With Stephen Colbert

Whoopi was nominated for Best Actress in 1985 for her work in the film The Color Purple. She took home the Oscar in 1991 for Best Supporting Actress in the film Ghost.

Ironically, years later, something pretty spooky happened to her statue.

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In February of 2002, Whoopi's Oscar disappeared from a sealed shipping container.

Instagram | @whoopigoldberg

She was sending it back, via the Academy, to have it cleaned and restored. Somehow, her Oscar ended up in the trash bin at an airport in Ontario, CA!

Whoopi has said she'll never let the award out of her sight again.

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6. Whoopi once had an incredibly macabre job.

Instagram | @whoopigoldberg

Before breaking into comedy, Whoopi was working to become a licensed beautician.

One of the first jobs she ever had was in a funeral parlor, doing hair and makeup for the recently deceased.

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7. She's a stand up comedian!

Many people nowadays might only know Whoopi as a co-host on The View. But back in the early '90s, she was one of the most popular comedians in Hollywood!

She was introduced by the legendary Robin Williams at the Shrine Auditorium in L.A.

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8. She was the second Black woman in history to win an Academy Award for acting.

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The first to do so was a woman by the name of Hattie McDaniel. She won Best Supporting Actress in 1939 for Gone With The Wind — that's a 50-year gap!

Fun fact: every single Best Actor winner for the last decade has been White.

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9. Whoopi was the first woman to host the Academy Awards, solo.

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The first time that Whoopi picked up the reigns was in 1994. She did such a fantastic job and was so well-received that she was invited back two years later.

Whoopi has hosted the Oscars a grand total of four separate times.

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10. Whoopi has confirmed that a Sister Act sequel is in the works!

For years, fans of the Sister Act franchise have been wishing and hoping for a sequel.

Now, after nearly two decades, it appears that wish may just come true!

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11. She lent her voice to an incredibly popular Disney Villain.

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Did you know that Whoopi voiced Shenzi the Hyena in the animated version of The Lion King?

Her performance is hands down one of the most memorable aspects of the entire film.

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12. Whoopi has a severe fear of flying.

Instagram | @whoopigoldberg

For good reason, I might add. Back in 1978, Whoopi had the great misfortune of witnessing a mid-air collision between two passenger planes.

She can't step foot on a plane without suffering a panic attack.

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It got so bad that Whoopi developed PTSD.

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PTSD stands for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

In order to help alleviate her fears as much as possible, Whoopi elects to travel the country by private bus as opposed to a plane.

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13. She's set to star in a brand new Stephen King TV series!

If you call yourself a Stephen King fan then you're probably already more than familiar with the post-apocalyptic tale known as "The Stand."

Whoopi is set to portray Mother Abagail in this 21st-century reboot.

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