Whoopi Goldberg, the iconic American actress, comedian and television host has left an indelible mark on the entertainment industry with her remarkable talent and versatility. Over the course of her illustrious career, she has starred in a wide array of movies and TV shows, earning her critical acclaim and numerous accolades. Of these accolades, one of Goldberg’s most notable achievements is becoming the first Black EGOT winner in 2002.
From a young theater student growing up in Manhattan housing projects to an expert in her craft, Goldberg self-made herself into a household name. Here is a closer look at some of Goldberg’s most memorable films and television appearances, accompanied by Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb rankings.
The Color Purple (1985)
Rotten Tomatoes: 80%
Whoopi Goldberg’s breakout role came in Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Color Purple. Goldberg portrayed Celie Harris Johnson, earning an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress in a Leading Role. The film, which explored themes of race, gender and oppression, remains a powerful cinematic achievement and showcases Goldberg’s extraordinary talent.
Rotten Tomatoes: 74%
In Ghost, Whoopi Goldberg took on the role of Oda Mae Brown, a psychic medium who helps a murdered man (played by Patrick Swayze) communicate with his grieving girlfriend (Demi Moore). This supernatural romance became a massive hit and won Goldberg the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Her comedic timing and heartfelt performance contributed significantly to the film’s success.
Sister Act (1992)
Rotten Tomatoes: 74%
Whoopi Goldberg showcased her comedic prowess in Sister Act as Deloris Van Cartier, a lounge singer who hides in a convent after witnessing a murder. This hilarious musical comedy became a beloved classic, and Goldberg’s charismatic portrayal added immeasurable charm to the film.
Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit (1993)
Rotten Tomatoes: 18%
Goldberg returned as Deloris Van Cartier in the sequel, Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit. While it didn’t match the critical acclaim of the first film, fans appreciated Goldberg’s continued presence and her musical performances.
The Lion King (1994)
Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Though she lent her voice to the character Shenzi, one of the hyenas, in Disney’s animated classic The Lion King, Goldberg’s contribution to the film is unforgettable. The movie remains an all-time favorite among audiences and critics alike.
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994)
Rotten Tomatoes: 89%
Star Trek: The Next Generation is a beloved science fiction series set in the 24th century. Captain Jean-Luc Picard, played by Patrick Stewart, leads the starship USS Enterprise on missions of exploration and diplomacy. Whoopi Goldberg played the recurring character Guinan in the television series. The show is renowned for its philosophical themes, complex characters and optimistic vision of the future. Goldberg’s portrayal of Guinan was highly regarded by fans and critics alike, and her character became one of the most memorable and beloved recurring figures.
Boys on the Side (1995)
Rotten Tomatoes: 71%
Boys on the Side is a heartfelt drama-comedy featuring Whoopi Goldberg, Drew Barrymore and Mary-Louise Parker as three women who embark on a road trip that changes their lives. Goldberg’s performance as the tough yet compassionate Jane is a standout in this film, which received praise for its themes of friendship and empowerment.
The View (Since 2005)
Whoopi Goldberg has co-hosted the popular daytime talk show The View for 16 years and has now returned to the show. The show’s live audience welcomed her back with a standing ovation on Monday, Sept. 11 as she returned to the show after contracting COVID-19. The View continues to be one of Goldberg’s most iconic appearances to this day with her unique perspective and hilarious antics.
Whoopi Goldberg’s filmography is a testament to why she has received such praise and achieved so much success throughout the span of her career. While IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes rankings provide valuable insights into the critical and audience reception of her work, Goldberg’s impact on the entertainment world goes beyond mere numbers. Her legacy as an artist, comedian, and cultural icon remains undeniable.