Whoopi Goldberg’s deadly job
Whoopi Goldberg spent years scraping by as an addict and drop-out before getting cleaned up at age 20 and eventually landing a job in a mortuary.
Whoopi Goldberg got her start working with the dead, says Olga Craig in the London Daily Telegraph. Goldberg grew up in poverty after her father left when she was just 18 months old, and started using heroin in high school. She spent years scraping by as an addict and drop-out. It was only after she got herself cleaned up at age 20 that she decided to pursue a career in comedy. But in order to make ends meet, she took whatever work she could find. After a stint as a bricklayer, she trained as a beautician and landed a job working in a mortuary. “I did people’s makeup. Dead people’s actually.” She won’t ever forget her first day at work. “I got a call saying I was wanted in the boss’ office. Which just happened to be where the bodies were kept in drawers. I went down and there was no one there. So I sat down and waited. A few minutes later I heard sort of creaking. I turned round and one of the drawers was slowly opening. Then someone sat up and waved at me—someone who should have been dead. Man, I was totally freaked out. Turns out it was the boss. He jumped out and said, ‘That’s the worst thing that could ever happen to you here, and it won’t.’” Goldberg shrugs. “It wasn’t such a bad job. And things could only get better.”