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She has been nominated for 13 Emmy Awards and is one of the few entertainers to have won an Emmy Award, a Grammy Award, an Academy Award, and a Tony Award (EGOT).
She is the second black woman to win an Academy Award for acting.
She tried unsuccessfully to sue the producers of the film.
Clara's Heart did poorly at the box office, though her own performance was critically acclaimed.
According to an anecdote told by Nichelle Nichols in Trekkies (1997), a young Goldberg was watching Star Trek, and upon seeing Nichols's character Uhura, exclaimed, "Momma!
Goldberg's breakthrough came in 1985 for her role as Celie, a mistreated woman in the Deep South, in Steven Spielberg's period drama film The Color Purple, for which she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress and won her first Golden Globe Award.
For her performance in the romantic fantasy film Ghost (1990) as Oda Mae Brown, an eccentric psychic, Goldberg won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and a second Golden Globe, her first for Best Supporting Actress.
She played a psychic in the film Ghost (1990) and became the first black woman to win the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in nearly 50 years, and the second black woman to win an Academy Award for acting (the first being Hattie Mc Daniel, for Gone with the Wind in 1940).
Premiere named her character Oda Mae Brown in its list of Top 100 best film characters. During the next year, she hosted a late-night talk show titled The Whoopi Goldberg Show and starred in two more motion pictures: Made in America and Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit.
She has stated that her stage forename ("Whoopi") was taken from a whoopee cushion; "When you're performing on stage, you never really have time to go into the bathroom and close the door.