What Is Whoopi Goldberg’s Real Name and Why Did She Change It?

Whoopi Goldberg has been making the world laugh with her spunky personality and quirky jokes for almost four decades now. She has starred in a wide range of movies and TV shows, including Ghost and Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Since 2007, however, Whoopi has been known for delivering her brutally honest commentary on a number of different topics on the daytime TV show, The View. Recently, she had been absent from the show for over a month due to the fact that she was battling a life-threatening case of double lung pneumonia and sepsis, she seems to be doing much better now and able to get back to her spot on the talk show, which has delighted her millions of fans.

Although many of her fans got to know Whoopi on a more personal level by watching her on The View, there are still some unanswered questions that people have about the 63-year-old actress. For instance, is Whoopi Goldberg the name that she was born with, or is it just her stage name? In order to answer this question, here is what we know about Whoopi Goldberg’s real name.

What is Whoopi Goldberg’s real name?

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Whoopi’s real name is Caryn Elaine Johnson. She was born on November 13, 1955, to Emma Harris and Robert Johnson Jr. in New York City, New York.

Whoopi had a childhood that was less than perfect. When she was very young, her father had abandoned the family, leaving Whoopi’s mother to work multiple jobs in order to take care of two children: Whoopi, and her younger brother. Because she also has dyslexia, her school life was another difficult obstacle for her, but she credits her mother’s love and support for being able to make it through that tough time in life when all of her teachers thought that she was just being lazy, instead of having a disability.

When talking about how supportive her mom was, Whoopi said: “[Mom] would say to me, ‘You know, Caryn, I know you get this because if I tell you, you understand it. I don’t know what..what it is you have or don’t have, but it’s not something that is going to freak me out.” She had also said that when she finally did find out that she had dyslexia, it was nice to know that she wasn’t “just lazy.”

How did Whoopi Goldberg get her new name?

Whoopi Goldberg | John Lamparski/WireImage

In the 70s, Goldberg moved her and her daughter out to California in pursuit of a better life. During the first few years that Whoopi lived in California, she had to take many odd jobs, including a funeral home assistant and a bank teller. During that time, her co-workers had noticed that she had a problem with passing gas frequently and they gave her the nickname, “Whoopi Cushion.”

Once, when she was talking about where her nickname came from, Whoopi had said: “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 is where the name came from.”

Later on, her mother had told her that the name Whoopi Cushion sounded absurd and then pointed out that she would better-received in Hollywood if she went by a Jewish surname, so then, the name “Cushion” got changed to the name “Goldberg.”

Whoopi Goldberg has revolutionized the way people viewed female comedians. Being that she is only one of 20 people in the world who has ever won an Oscar, a Grammy, an Emmy, and a Tony award, it is obvious that with the amount of talent that she possesses, no matter what name she decided to go by, the world would have still loved her the same.