Whoopi is one of only ten people to win an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar AND Tony Award, and yet as a child she was taunted for her difficulty in school, called ‘stupid’ by her peers. She struggled to keep up with school and began to believe that she was ‘dumb’ like everyone was telling her. Her mother encouraged her often by telling her that she was smart.
Whoopi discussed the effects of her dyslexia on her self-esteem in an interview in 1991: “You don’t want to be retarded all your life. I was ‘retarded’ for a good part of mine, according to all the paperwork, and I just couldn’t handle it.” So instead, she went out and starting pursuing her dreams instead of focusing on her academic difficulties and the negative feedback from her teachers and peers.
And pursue her dreams she did! Whoopi helped found several theatres and had a big break in the blockbuster The Color Purple. She continues to go from success to success on the silver screen and Broadway. She is active in the charitable sector, fighting against poverty, homelessness and HIV/AIDS.