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Whoopi Goldberg Has Come a Long Way! See the Iconic Comedian Through the Years

Whoopi Goldberg is showing everyone how it’s done. The Academy Award winner has two Golden Globes under her belt and she’s also been nominated for numerous Emmys. Because of her successful career, Whoopi has been cohosting The View since 2007 and she doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

In 1982, Whoopi first broke out into Hollywood when she appeared in 1982’s Citizen: I’m Not Losing My Mind, I’m Giving It Away. The comedian — who was born in New York City on November 13, 1955 — changed her name from Caryn Elaine Johnson to “Whoopi” because that’s what her friends called her.

“When you’re performing on stage, you never really have time to go into the bathroom and close the door,” she told The New York Times in August 2006. “So if you get a little gassy, you’ve got to let it go. So people used to say to me, ‘You’re like a whoopee cushion.’ And that’s where the name came from.”

By 1985, Whoopi was making headways in Hollywood, especially when she landed the role of Celie Johnson in Steven Spielberg‘s The Color Purple. Although she didn’t know it at the time, Whoopi’s performance would help her get her first Oscar nomination. It was an award she would eventually win with 1991’s Ghost.

But even though those films are just a couple of great highlights from her career, Whoopi became known for so many more projects like 1992’s Sister Act and her voice work in The Lion King. Aside from her career though, the legendary star also focused on having a family.

The For Colored Girls star tied the knot three times, and had her daughter, Alex Martin, with her first husband, Alvin Martin, in May 1973. In 1979, the couple got divorced, but Whoopi didn’t take it personally. She eventually realized that marriage just wasn’t going to make her happy.

“One day I thought, I don’t have to do this. I don’t have to conform. I tried marriage, and it wasn’t for me,” Whoopi told The New York Times in 2019. “You can’t be in a marriage because everybody’s expecting you to.”

To see the TV icon’s gorgeous transformation through the years, scroll through the gallery below!