Whoopi Goldberg broke down during Thursday’s episode of The View as she tried to announce the death of director Mike Nichols.
Whoopi was clearly too emotional to get the words out, so her co-panelists jumped in to help out.
As mentioned in the brief tribute, Mike Nichols played an instrumental role in Whoopi Goldberg’s career and her life overall. The Oscar-winning director actually discovered Whoopi and helped to get her career off of the ground decades ago when the 59-year-old actress was still mostly unknown to the rest of the world.
Nicolle Wallace started things off by taking over for Whoopi Goldberg when she signaled to her that she could not continue with the statement on her own.
“This morning, news broke that entertainment pioneer Mike Nichols died suddenly of cardiac arrest while home with friends and family. Whoopi has a hard time putting it into words, which is why I am doing it for her. But this man meant the world to her.”
Rosie O’Donnell picked up where Nicolle left off to speak about exactly how Mike Nichols was able to get Whoopi started.
“Mike Nichols is the one who first saw Whoopi performing and said, ‘You got something, kid.’ She was a downtown street artist and he said, ‘Let’s do a show.’ They put it together… [He] gave her her entire beginning of her career, recognized her brilliance before anyone else.”
Even though Whoopi Goldberg was not able to say very much during the brief tribute to her mentor and longtime friend, her emotionally-stirring statement that “life is so short” spoke volumes and led The View audience members to applaud her.
The View also showed a flashback of an interview that Whoopi Goldberg had with the acclaimed director of The Graduate back in 2012. During that interview, Mike was able to reflect on how he first met Whoopi — explaining how he was able to see something in her.
In the interview, Whoopi turned to her mentor and said, “[W]henever I’m with you, I’m okay.”
The show that started it all for Whoopi Goldberg was The Spook Show — a one-woman show from over 30 years ago that featured the future Oscar winner performing numerous character monologues. Mike Nichols saw great potential in the show and turned it into a major stage production that ran on Broadway for over 150 performances.
During the show’s run, Whoopi Goldberg was able to also catch the eye of Steven Spielberg, who chose her for her breakthrough movie role as Celie in The Color Purple.