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Whoopi Goldberg reflects on family, career in new memoir “Bits and Pieces”

After a more than four-decade career, Whoopi Goldberg is sharing her story on her own terms. The EGOT winner joined “CBS Mornings” to discuss her new memoir, “Bits and Pieces,” which delves into her career, life, and relationships with her late mother, Emma Johnson, and late brother, Clyde Johnson.

Goldberg credits her family for her success. She recalled her mother’s advice that is mentioned in her memoir: Cry about what you don’t have or figure it out and then go do it.

“It’s kind of how I live my life, you know,” Goldberg said of her mother’s advice. “If something’s not going right or I’ve stepped in something, I’m not gonna cry about it. I just gotta be like, ‘Yeah, I did,’ and move on, because all that wasted time of ‘Oh, no,’ it’s like a tic-tok, baby. You don’t have much time left.” 

Goldberg, who grew up in a housing development in New York City, said her mother was “interested in everything,” which allowed Goldberg to explore the world as a child.

“She, I think, always felt that if she could expose us, we could find different things for ourselves,” she said.

Reflecting on her career, from working with director Steven Spielberg and starring in “The Color Purple,” Goldberg expressed surprise at how quickly four decades have passed. 

“For me, it feels still like it was yesterday,” she said. “It still feels really fresh, all of it.”

Goldberg said directors Mike Nichols and Spielberg changed her life by bringing her into show business and showing her that talent will get you far — no matter what. 

“You may not like me, but you cannot deny what I can do,” Goldberg said. “And that is the thing that I get to walk in my truth every day. I am good at what I do. I am, regardless of whether you think I’m cute or sexy, whatever, doesn’t matter. You can’t do what I can do.”

She said at the start of her career, Hollywood was trying to make Goldberg into “a female version of Eddie Murphy.” She said that most of her early movies were hits on HBO, but didn’t do well in theaters. It wasn’t until 1991, when she won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in the movie, “Ghost,” that she said she felt truly accepted in Hollywood.

The memoir also candidly addresses Goldberg’s past struggles with cocaine addiction and her choice to quit cold turkey. 

“You have to make a decision,” Goldberg said. “Do you want to live in a closet, at the bottom of a closet? When the housekeeper comes in, she screams, you scream, and you think, is this the rest of my life? … Is this the life you want? If the answer is no, get out right now.”

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