Find out how this EGOT winner made her fortune.
Whoopi Goldberg has pretty much done it all—and, as an EGOT winner, won it all.
Born Caryn Elaine Johnson on Nov. 13, 1955, in New York City, Goldberg's life got off to a rough start as she battled dyslexia and drug addiction. She got sober and married her drug counselor, Alvin Martin, in 1973; they were married for six years and welcomed daughter Alexandrea Martin before divorcing in 1979.
Goldberg started her showbiz career as a standup comedian in earnest in the late 1970s, earning the nickname "Whoopi" for her frequent (and we're assuming hilarious) flatulence. "When you're performing on stage, you never really have time to go into the bathroom and close the door. So if you get a little gassy, you've got to let it go," she told The New York Times. "So people used to say to me, 'You're like a whoopee cushion.' And that's where the name came from."
Goldberg moved to California in the 1970s, where she joined a theater troupe, then taught comedy and acting lessons (for students including Courtney Love). Director Mike Nichols, who Goldberg said went on to become her mentor, discovered her when she performed her one-woman show The Spook Show. The rest, as they say, is history: Here's Whoopi Goldberg's net worth and how she made it, from her big break to The View.
What is Whoopi Goldberg's net worth?
Goldberg's net worth is estimated to be a cool $60 million.
What does Whoopi Goldberg make for The View?
Goldberg is most visible on The View, where she's served as the show's moderator since 2007. Back in 2016, her annual salary for the daily talk show was estimated to be in the $5 million to $6 million range. She told The New York Times in 2019 that The View is simply "a job" to her, explaining, “In a way, I am playing a role. These are not conversations that I’m having with my friends. If they were, we’d be doing it differently. My friends and I can talk about things in-depth in a different way than you can on television.”
Though she doesn't take the job too seriously, it's served her well, earning her a slew of Daytime Emmy nominations and one win for Outstanding Talk Show Host.
How much did Whoopi Goldberg make for Sister Act and Sister Act 2?
One of Goldberg's most beloved and successful roles is that of lounge singer Deloris Van Cartier in Sister Act and Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit. The first film was so successful, bringing in more than $230 million worldwide, that Goldberg was reportedly able to command a salary in the $7 million to $12 million range for the sequel—making her, at that point, the highest-paid actress in Hollywood.
How much did Whoopi Goldberg make for The Color Purple?
Director Steven Spielberg was such a fan of Goldberg's one-woman Broadway show that in 1985—long before Sister Act came along—he tapped her to star in The Color Purple. Goldberg received a Best Actress Academy Award nomination for her role of Celie, but info on how much she earned for her performance is scarce. Chances are, though, that Goldberg made only a fraction of what she'd make for future films, considering The Color Purple's total budget was just $15 million and Goldberg, at the time, had only one other big-screen credit to her name.
How much did Whoopi Goldberg make for Ghost?
Besides The Color Purple and Sister Act, Goldberg's most notable role is surely her Oscar-winning turn as medium Oda Mae Brown in 1990's Ghost, which was the highest-grossing movie of that year with box office receipts of $505 million. (It's still in the top 100 highest-grossing movies of all time). The movie cost a comparatively paltry $22 million to make, and Goldberg got second billing after Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore—so again, her salary on that project probably wasn't super-high by Hollywood standards.
In fact, Goldberg has frequently said that the studio didn't even want her for the role, but Swayze insisted she be cast. When she won her Oscar, she thanked Swayze for being a "stand-up guy."
Goldberg's diverse movie resumé also boasts a slew of blockbusters, including:
The Lion King (voicing the lead hyena, Shenzi)
The Little Rascals
Boys on the Side
How Stella Got Her Groove Back
The Rugrats Movie (voicing Ranger Margaret)
Madea Goes to Jail
Toy Story 3 (voicing Stretch)
For Colored Girls
The Little Engine That Could (voicing Tower)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
How much has Whoopi Goldberg made in the theater?
After Nichols discovered Goldberg, he helped her bring The Spook Show—a series of brief, colorful character-themed monologues—to Broadway, where it was renamed eponymously after Goldberg and ran from 1984 to 1985. It also aired on HBO in 1985 under the title Whoopi Goldberg: Direct From Broadway. The audio recording of the performance earned her a Grammy, and Goldberg is credited as a producer on the project through her company, Whoop Inc.
In 1996, Goldberg starred in Broadway's A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. She won a Tony Award in 2002 as a producer for Thoroughly Modern Millie, and in 2003, produced and starred in the titular role in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. She had another one-woman show, Whoopi, in 2004, and then played Aphrodite and Calliope in Xanadu in 2008.
When one of her most famous movies, Sister Act, got a stage-musical reimagining, she played the role of Mother Superior in London's West End (and produced it on Broadway) in 2010. Goldberg was slated to reprise her role on Broadway in 2021, but those plans were put on ice due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Goldberg continues stage work as a host and presenter, with credits including:
HBO's Comic Relief
2008 Tony Awards
How much has Whoopi Goldberg made in TV?
Though she's a bona fide movie star, Goldberg still acts and produces consistently in TV. She starred in Marvel'sM.O.D.O.K. in 2021, which will likely not only pay well but may also net her some extra cash in merchandising. She also served as star and executive producer of her own sitcom, Whoopi, from 2003 to 2004, and starred in the sitcom Bagdad Cafe from 1990 to 1991. While both series were short-lived, her other television acting credits include:
Captain Planet and the Planeteers
Happily Ever After: Tales for Every Child
Strong Medicine (executive producer and writer)
Law & Order: Criminal Intent
Everybody Hates Chris
666 Park Avenue
Once Upon a Time in Wonderland
When We Rise
The Stinky & Dirty Show
Elena of Avalor
How much has Whoopi Goldberg earned from writing books?
Goldberg is an accomplished author. Her books include The Sugar Plum Ballerinas series and Whoopi's Big Book of Manners for kids, as well as The Unqualified Hostess: I Do It My Way So You Can Too!; If Someone Says "You Complete Me," Run!: Whoopi's Big Book of Relationships and Is It Just Me? Or Is It Nuts Out There?.
How much does Whoopi Goldberg make from endorsements?
Goldberg branched out using the platform The View gave her without letting it trap her on the panel. She explained to The New York Times, “What you’re asking is ‘Is The View enough?’ It’s not. Ten years is a long time, and now I’m starting to do other stuff. I’m doing books. I’m adventuring into THC products. I’m creating the clothes.”
Whoopi Goldberg's brand endorsements
She expanded into endorsements, appearing in ads for Slim-Fast, Poise and Gap. Her Slim-Fast contract was terminated early after she made an off-color joke about then-President George W. Bush. Her most recent endorsement has been for Nurtec, a migraine medication.
Whoopi Goldberg's Dubgee clothing line
Goldberg developed her Dubgee clothing line to fit a variety of standard and plus sizes with a focus on comfort. She explained to The Business of Fashion that she's super hands-on when it comes to the designs for Dubgee.
“There are a million people who put their name on clothes, you know, the ‘Pooky Poo’ collection. It’s not a licensing deal to me," Goldberg said. "I want to wear what we are making. I want to say, ‘Here’s why I love it, here’s why I think you’ll love it.’ I can convince people to take a shot at feeling better.”
She added, “This is as serious to me as anything else I’ve done in my life. The first thing you should communicate is, ‘I like me.’ I think the motto of the company is, ‘The last thing you should ever fret about is what’s in your closet.’”
Whoopi Goldberg had a cannabis line, but it went up in smoke
In 2016, Goldberg, who lives in West Orange, New Jersey, teamed up with Om Edibles founder Maya Elisabeth to create and co-found Whoopi & Maya, a medical cannabis company for women suffering from menstrual pain. "They wanted to include menstrual cramps in the list of things you can prescribe medical marijuana for, but the governor said that will never happen in New Jersey because our doctors only prescribe marijuana for 'real' pain," she fumed told The Cannabist. "The fact that people think of [women 's health] as a niche market—that he didn't think of menstrual cramps as 'real' pain—tells me that there's a lot of education to do on this subject."
How much is Whoopi Goldberg's real estate portfolio worth?
Goldberg resides in a 23-room mansion in West Orange, New Jersey, that she reportedly purchased for $2.8 million in 2009. She purchased the property after listing a Manhattan loft in 2009 for $3.99 million.
In 2004, Goldberg purchased a massive 745-acre farm in Marlboro, Vermont (though 640 of those acres were conserved land). Seven years and several renovations later, Goldberg listed the property for $2.3 million.
Goldberg had a modest home in Berkeley, California, that she purchased in 1985 for $335,000. She made a major profit, listing the house for $1.275 million in 2015. She may be an East Coast gal at heart: In 2018, she listed her Pacific Palisades home for $8.8 million after paying $2.5 million for the property in 1993.