When Whoopi Goldberg was growing up in Manhattan during the turbulent 1960s, she aspired to be a character actress.
“That’s what I dreamed of becoming,” Goldberg said while calling from South Orange, N.J. “I didn’t dream of becoming a star because movie stars didn’t look like me.”
Goldberg, 58, exceeded her dreams and then some. Not only did she become a star, the iconic entertainer, who has been the featured name on the marquee more than 20 times, is one of the few entertainers to have won an Oscar, a Tony, a Grammy and an Emmy.
“It’s hard to believe, isn’t it,” Goldberg said. “It’s been an extraordinary career.”
Goldberg is correct about her career. However, she needs to change the tense. She maintains an enviable existence. Her career continues to run in hyper-drive. Goldberg doesn’t have much time for film since she is the moderator on the daytime chat show “The View.”
“That takes up a big chunk of my life, but I love it,” Goldberg said. “I’m on the set every day at 9 a.m.,” Goldberg said. “But I get up every day at 4 a.m. So there’s no late nights for me, even though I hardly ever sleep.”
The only thing Goldberg does less than sleep is hit the road. “I do about one and a half shows on the road every month,” Goldberg said.
Hopefully Goldberg’s show Friday at Ruth Eckerd Hall won’t be half a show. “I promise you that it won’t be,” Goldberg said. “Tampa will get a full show. What I mean by a show and a half a month, is that what it averages out to each month. I just can’t get away that often.”
Goldberg enjoys her shows since it allows her to be herself. “I love doing ‘The View,’ but it’s different from what I do onstage,” Goldberg said. “What we do on ‘The View’ is relatable for women. We talk in a group setting. However, when I come to town, it’s a different animal. I talk from my experiences, which I’ve had a lot of. They might be very different from the audience’s experiences, but that’s all right. I’ll come at you with what I’ve experienced and what I think.”
Goldberg will wax about aging, sex and politicians when she comes to town. “I like talking about all that stuff,” Goldberg said. “But I’ll also focus on something that really bothers me and that is the dumbing down of everything, everything and yes, everything. I don’t get what’s happening in society. We’re not as sharp as we used to be, and for some reason that’s fine for many but not to me.”
If Goldberg isn’t reading, she listens to audio books in her rare spare time. “I know, I’m incredibly boring,” Goldberg said. “That’s what I do when I’m not working. I’m not out drinking and partying. I’m past all of that. I get so much gratification out of my work. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be getting up in the middle of the night and going on the road whenever I have a little bit of spare time.”
Goldberg’s success proves that fledgling performers don’t have to look and act the same as those who have made it. Goldberg doesn’t look and has never acted like anyone else. “I think being unique is a great thing,” Goldberg said. “Why should we have to be like everybody else? If I tried to be like everybody else, I would have a very different career right now.”