Whoopi Goldberg Reveals How She Really Got Her Stage Name – Hollywood Life

Whoopi Goldberg Reveals How She Really Got Her Stage Name in ‘Bits and Pieces’ Memoir

‘The View’ cohost was originally born Caryn Johnson, but wanted a name that ‘sounded more interesting.’

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Whoopi Goldberg is ready to shine a light on how she got her stage name. In her new memoir titled Bits and Pieces: My Mother, My Brother and Me, The View cohost recalled the moment she didn’t want to be called her birth name, Caryn Johnson.

“Once I started getting parts in plays, I wanted a name that sounded more interesting,” Whoopi wrote in her book via Us Weekly. “Caryn Johnson wasn’t it.”

While working at various stage shows, Whoopi said that some people started calling her “Whoopi” because she “would sometimes let loose with a fart. I added ‘Cushione’ to it — with a French pronunciation.”

When her first review was published, Whoopi faced some questions from her mother, Emma Harris, about the name change. “When we talked on the phone, she said, ‘What is this Whoopi Cushione?’” Whoopi recalled. “Well, it’s kind of my nickname. It’s like whoopee cushion with a little French accent.”

“I explained to her the whole farting thing,” Whoopi continued in her book. “‘Well, if you’re going to change your name and want people to take you seriously, you need a more substantial name,’ my mother advised me. I said, ‘Oh, really, great namer of the stars? What do you think it should be?’ She said, ‘Well, you should take one of the names from the family tree. How about Goldberg? That has a nice ring to it.’ That became my name.”

Whoopi Goldberg
Whoopi Goldberg (Gary Gershoff/Getty Images)

From that point on, “only my family and a few people who knew me early in my life still called me Caryn.”

Back in January 2024, Whoopi first announced her newest book project would honor her late mother and late brother Clyde K. Johnson. “This book is dedicated to my mother and my brother and our time together as a small, funny little unit,” she told People at the time. “It’s dedicated to anyone who’s found themselves on a scary path not of their choosing or dealing with loss.”

Whoopi’s mother died in 2010 after suffering a stroke. She was 78. Five years later, the actress mourned the death of her brother, who suffered a brain aneurysm at the age of 65.

“This book is dedicated to everyone who is just trying to figure out the small stuff,” Whoopi added, “as well as the stuff where you have to be more than you thought you could be and it’s dedicated to love.”

Bits and Pieces: My Mother, My Brother, and Me is available now.