Friday, Sep. 16, 2011

Caryn Johnson to Whoopi Goldberg

Is it cliché for a comedian to take her stage name from a practical-joke device? Not if you're Whoopi Goldberg. Born Caryn Elaine Johnson in 1955, the actress and The View co-host was less than shy about her bodily functions: "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's where the name came from." Whoopi's mother thought that a Jewish surname would get her further in Hollywood, so she replaced Johnson with Goldberg. And just like that, a thousand bad puns — and a very successful career — were born.