If you want to see what a long-lasting career in show business looks like, go no further than Whoopi Goldberg‘s credentials. She has 177 acting credits and 30 producing credits since her debut in the early 1980s. She has also written for television, directed documentaries, and presented at the Academy Awards.
After winning an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for ‘Ghost’ in the early 1990s, Whoopi was one of Hollywood’s highest-paid actresses. Her roles in films such as ‘The Player and Sister Act’ catapulted her to stardom.
But, by the time she won her Oscar, she had already won a major show-biz prize, the Grammy, for her Broadway performance. She went on to win a Tony Award and a slew of daytime Emmys. (When all is said and done, she’s an E-G-O-T winner.)
Before she worked in movies, Whoopi was a successful off-Broadway performer. Janet Coleman recounted the atmosphere 20 minutes before the curtain rose at her sold-out concerts at a theatrical workshop in a Vanity Fair feature from 1984.
She also cited a glowing New York Times review. Mel Gussow raved in the paper of record, “Not only a stand-up comic but a satirist with a cutting edge and an actress with a caustic attitude toward life and public performance.”
Famed director Mike Nichols praised her as a “genuine artist” and assisted in bringing The Spook Show to Broadway. Alice Walker, who had just won the Pulitzer Prize, attended the play and approached Whoopi about appearing in the film adaptation of The Color Purple. (Whoopi did, and she won her first Oscar nomination for it.)
After arriving on Broadway, Whoopi recorded and released a record of her performances. She received her first Grammy nomination and won the award in 1986. A second Grammy nomination came in 1989 for a performance by another character from the play (Fontaine).