An actress, comedienne, TV host, author, singer, and political activist, Whoopi Goldberg is one of only 12 people in the world to have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony award, but her interest in acting first began when as a child she saw the character of Uhura in Star Trek and, reportedly, exclaimed: "Momma! There's a black lady on TV and she ain't no maid!" The Oscar-winning actress celebrates turning 59
This led to a lifelong fascination with the show and between 1988 and 1993 Whoopi had a recurring role on Star Trek: The Next Generation.
After working on Broadway, Whoopi broke out in the 1985 adaptation of The Color Purple, which led to her first Oscar nomination and first Golden Globe win for Best Actress. She later went on to box office success with Jumpin' Jack Flash and Ghost, which co-starred Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore.
Whoopi won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as a psychic helping Patrick Swayze contact his dead wife, and became the first black actress to do so in over 50 years.
In 1992 Whoopi starred in Sister Act, which has gone on to become one of the most successful comedies of the 1990s, and became a live musical stage show in 2006.
The star then went on to take on supporting roles in some of the 1990s best films including Girl, Interrupted and The Lion King, before in 2002 returning to Broadway where she starred in Thoroughly Modern Millie which went on to win Best Musical at the Tonys.
In 2007 Whoopi was announced as the new host for daytime TV show The View, for which she won Outstanding Talk Show Host in 2009.
The actress has been married three times and in 2012 revealed: "Some people are not meant to be married and I am not meant to. I’m sure it is wonderful for lots of people."
She has one daughter, Alexandrea Martin, and in 2014 became a great-grandmother for the first time.