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If you liked Whoopi Goldberg's story, you might also like:
Carol Burnett,
Lauryn Hill,
James Earl Jones,
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Jessye Norman,
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and Oprah Winfrey

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Whoopi Goldberg
Whoopi Goldberg
Profile of Whoopi Goldberg Biography of Whoopi Goldberg Interview with Whoopi Goldberg Whoopi Goldberg Photo Gallery

Whoopi Goldberg Interview (page: 3 / 3)

Actress and Activist

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  Whoopi Goldberg

What was the most exciting moment in your career?

Whoopi Goldberg: Sitting at the table during Color Purple and looking up and suddenly realizing I was acting in front of Steven Spielberg, was pretty cool. It was pretty good. Because it was like, suddenly, I got it. I was there. I was in a movie. Not only was I in a movie, but I had a big part in the movie, you know. And I just started laughing, and laughing. It took about 25 minutes to compose myself, but it was pretty remarkable. Because, you know, there was an idea whose time had come, for me. And that it was with Steven Spielberg was pretty cool.

Do you remember the first time you acted on the stage?

Whoopi Goldberg: I was a teapot. I was a small teapot, short and stout, here was my handle, this was my spout. And I was like seven. It was the greatest. I was just bowing, and bowing. They had to come get me off the stage. I just kept bowing. "Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you." You know. All the other pots are gone. Born ham, that's basically me. It's the truth. My mom told me. I'd forgotten it. She also tells the story of my birth. I'm almost half kidding when I say, I came out and waved. My mother says that I came out head, arm, other arm, thumb in mouth, immediately. They were astounded, because generally that's not what you do. I was born clear, you know. They just kept calling people. I was just hanging out, thumb in my mouth. Some people are just born that way.

[ Key to Success ] Passion

What characteristics do you think are most important for success?

Whoopi Goldberg: We're born with success. It is only others who point out our failures, and what they attribute to us as failure. I think the idea that you know who your inner self is on a daily basis, because... you know. What's good for you 25 years ago may not be good for you now. So, to keep in touch with that, I think that's the first ingredient for success. Because if you're a successful human being, everything else is gravy, I think.

[ Key to Success ] Integrity

What do you say to kids who want to be actors?

Whoopi Goldberg: Come on! Come on! You know, be an actor because you love to act. Don't be an actor because you think you're going to get famous, because that's luck. But if it's what you want to do with your whole heart and soul, come on. Go everywhere, learn everything. Learn Shakespeare. Shakespeare is great fun. Don't be thrown by the words. The words are the same words that we use with a little different implementation. Write things for yourself. Come on, it's a great way to spend time. It's a great way to learn history. It's a great way to learn all kinds of things. But only come if you're coming to play. If you're not coming to play, you should get another gig to supplement your acting.

[ Key to Success ] Vision

What did getting the Academy Award mean to you?

Whoopi Goldberg Interview Photo
Whoopi Goldberg: It was pretty cool, I have to say. I liked it. I would like to do it again one day. It was very cool. I used to make speeches when I was a kid, you know, thanking all the little people. And suddenly, there I was having to make a real speech! I touch my Oscar every day. I move him from one place to the other and then back.

You also hosted the awards.

Whoopi Goldberg: Oh, yes. I liked it. When else are you going to get to play with several billion people? It's just one more thing I can write in my diary: Dear Diary, played for two billion today. I have this whole book of things that I've gotten to do. I've gotten to play at the White House, which is kind of neat. I've been all over the world. I've met amazing people. Life can be grand. It can be tough, but it can be grand.

What were the difficult aspects of your success?

Whoopi Goldberg: People expecting me to be more than I am. Expecting me to live up to their expectations, when perhaps I can't. People forgetting that I get cranky, and I get crabby, and I don't always want to be Whoopi Goldberg. Some days I'm just not in the mood. The lack of privacy is tough.

I went to the bathroom once and people followed me in, and a lady put her hand up under the stall with a pen and a piece of paper, wanted my autograph. I said, could I just finish what I'm doing first? So sometimes people just forget, or they grab you and they don't realize that, you know, you're a person that feels. They grab my hair. People grab my hair and go, Whoopi!! And not realize that I don't mind saying hello, but hey! That hurt, you know. Or when you're rushing, or you're preoccupied and you just can't stop. People aren't always understanding. And so you feel bad because you don't want them to think ill of you. And you come to a place where you say, "You know what? Too bad. I have to go." So that's kind of tough.

[ Key to Success ] Perseverance

Is it harder to be centered when you're well-known?

Whoopi Goldberg: The reality is, I'm quite off-center. It's a daily workout trying to implement those things that you believe. It's hard sometimes, and I'm cranky and crabby. I don't always practice what I preach, but I do pay for it when I realize that I haven't.

It's a lot of work just being human. You add celebrity on top of that and it's like living 45 lives.

Thank you, Whoopi. It's been a pleasure.

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This page last revised on Nov 28, 2007 12:40 EST
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