Octavia Spencer Says Whoopi Goldberg Encouraged Her to 'Get Your Education' Before Pursuing Acting

"Hollywood will always be there," Spencer recalled Goldberg telling her, prior to moving to Los Angeles

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 19: Octavia Spencer attends the Season 3 Premiere of Apple TV's "Truth be Told" at Pacific Design Center on January 19, 2023 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Robin L Marshall/FilmMagic); NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 12: Whoopi Goldberg attends Shorts: Animated Shorts Curated By Whoopi Goldberg during the 2022 Tribeca Festival at Village East Cinema on June 12, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images for Tribeca Festival)
Photo: Robin L Marshall/FilmMagic; Rob Kim/Getty for Tribeca Festival

Octavia Spencer received some sage wisdom from Whoopi Goldberg early in her career.

The Academy Award winner, 52, recounted last week on WTF with Marc Maron her experience interning in the extras casting department on Goldberg's 1990 film The Long Walk Home when she was just 17.

"It was pretty amazing, actually, to have a relationship with Whoopi," she said of first meeting the EGOT winner, 67, while working on the movie, which was shot in her Montgomery, Ala. hometown.

She recalled the key piece of advice Goldberg offered her: "[I] just was ready to move to Hollywood to work on films right after the movie was wrapped," she noted. "And Whoopi said, 'Hollywood will always be there. Get your education.'"

"My mom was really heavily into education," added Spencer, explaining that her mother hoped that her daughter would eventually become an attorney.

When she graduated from Auburn University with a degree in English a few years later, Spencer said that Goldberg's brother — who also worked in production on The Long Walk Home — "made sure to let me know that Whoopi was thinking of me, and that she was all excited that I was graduating."

The Truth Be Told star additionally shared that Goldberg later remembered her the first time she appeared on The View.

Also starring in the 1990 film was Sissy Spacek, who she said "actually did" remember Spencer years later when they starred together in 2011's The Help, which earned Spencer her first Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

"It was so crazy," Spencer said.

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"We talked about her daughter because Schuyler [Fisk] was three when she did The Long Walk Home. It was pretty amazing, actually," Spencer added.

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