Robert De Niro And Billy Crystal Surprise Whoopi Goldberg For 60th Birthday
Robert De Niro and Billy Crystal helped to kick off Whoopi Goldberg’s 60th birthday celebrations on Friday by making surprise appearances on her talk show.
The Ghost actress marked her age milestone with a special episode of The View, which was packed with unannounced celebrity visits and messages from her famous friends.
De Niro was the first surprise guest to join Goldberg on the show and wish her a happy birthday, while the birthday girl admitted his presence meant the world to her.
“Bob has been like a big brother to me and so he’s family,” she explained. “I can call him and ask him (anything), talk to him about anything. I mean, I adore him and have loved him for a long time.”
Pre-taped video messages were also recorded by the likes of Glenn Close, Quincy Jones, Sir Elton John, Mary Louise Parker, former U.S. President Bill Clinton, R&B icon Patti LaBelle, and her longtime crush, newly-engaged New York Yankees legend Derek Jeter.
One video featured Bette Midler teasing her by saying, “Happy birthday, Whoopi! I’m so excited for you. Listen, 60 is a big deal. I’m a few years older than you and I can tell you it’s all fun until you hit about 69 and it all goes to s**t! So enjoy the few years you have left! I love you!”
In another clip, filmmaker Steven Spielberg recalled being “trumped” by Goldberg on The Color Purple set. The actress played Celie Harris Johnson, a character who had to be aged onscreen.
“Remember Whoopi, on The Color Purple, you were aging a lot in the movie and I wanted to put all this prosthetic make-up on you to really make you look like you were 60, and you kept saying to me, ‘Black don’t crack!'” he remembered. “I kept saying to you, ‘What?’ You said, ‘Black don’t crack! I don’t wanna wear all these prosthetics!’
“We finally compromised; we did a little bit of work on your neck, a little bit of work around your eyes, but all these years later, now that you’re turning 60, I was wrong and you were right! On your first movie, you trumped me, your director, and you were absolutely right! You look so much younger at 60 than Celie looks at the same age when we made The Color Purple in 1985!”
“Whoopi, you are a true friend,” he added. “You’ve been standing up for me, and with me, all these years later and you know, I feel the same way about you, I love you. Happy birthday!”
Billy Crystal also filmed a message for Goldberg, apologizing for not being able to celebrate with her in person and “maybe bring out a cake and put it all over your face.” He then said, “I’m just so sorry I can’t be there. But you know what? Maybe I can,” before wheeling out a stars and stripes-decorated cake for the stunned actress.
Whoopi also took a moment to honor their late friend Robin Williams, calling him and Billy “my loves and my hearts”, before being treated to musical performances from disco veterans Martha Wash, Cheryl Lynn and Thelma Houston.
Closing out the show, the star, who lost her brother in May, thanked all of her friends, her family at The View and her fans for making her big day one to remember, stating, “This is really, really wonderful and meaningful and so important for me because it’s been a rough year.”