Ever-true to what she believes, popular actress and comedienne Whoopi Goldberg was born Caryn Elaine Johnson (1949-) on this day in New York City. Raised in a housing project, she began performing at age eight.
"Normal is in the eye of the beholder," she once said. The outspoken star has overcome dyslexia, heroin addiction, and single parenthood to become an Oscar-winning actress and philanthropist.
"When you are kind to someone in trouble," she observed, "you hope they'll remember and be kind to someone else. And it'll become like a wildfire."
In 1985, Goldberg made her motion picture debut in Steven Spielberg's film version of Alice Walker's novel The Color Purple. Her forceful supporting role in Ghost (1990) won her the Academy Award, the first black woman in over 60 years to win the award. She has also won an Emmy, Grammy, Tony, and Golden Globe Awards for her work.
"I knew before I was born that I wanted to act," she revealed. "I'm sure my first conscious thought was, 'Where's the lights?'"
With big grin and biting humor, she hosted the Academy Awards show in 1994, 1996, and 1999--a first for a woman. "I feel a bit like the golden child," she said. "All those people who said you couldn't, and you shouldn't, and you won't, and you will never -- and you did."
As co-host of the many Comic Relief telecasts with Billy Crystal and Robin Williams, she has tirelessly worked to help the homeless and end poverty. "If every American donated five hours a week, it would equal the labor of 20 million full-time volunteers," she said.
There is no limit to your personal power.