Whoopi Goldberg suggests racism stunted Ghost’s popularity

Actor won an Oscar for her role in the 1990 film

Ellie Harrison
Wednesday 22 July 2020 22:15 BST
Whoopi Goldberg and Patrick Swayze in 'Ghost'
Whoopi Goldberg and Patrick Swayze in 'Ghost' (Rex Features)

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Whoopi Goldberg has suggested that racial prejudice may have impacted the legacy of the 1990 classic, Ghost.

The film, which celebrated its 30th anniversary this summer, starred Patrick Swayze as a banker who investigates his own murder from beyond the grave. Goldberg, meanwhile, played a psychic, in a performance that won her an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.

She was the second ever black actress to win an Oscar, after Hattie McDaniel took home an Academy Award for 1939’s Gone with the Wind.

Ghost had a budget of $22m (£17.3m) but stunned its producers when it took $505m (£396.7m) globally. Unlike other big-budget classics such as Star Wars and ET, Ghost did not spawn spin-offs or adaptations – a planned TV series never got beyond pilot stage.

Speaking to Deadline, Goldberg said the film may have been a victim of racism.

“We were a very mixed cast, and it makes you wonder 30 years later, was it because we were a mixed cast that nobody wanted to celebrate it? Had it been any other cast that happened to be maybe all white, people might’ve celebrated it?” she asked.

Goldberg also suggested that Ghost might have been selected for screenings at drive-in cinemas this year, alongside classics such as Pretty Woman, if she were white. “I hate to be an egotistical little thing but I feel like I’ve been in several movies that should be in drive-ins,” she said. “Would it have been different if I had been short and cute and blonde?”

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