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Traffic cost Patti LaBelle’s shot at Ghost role

Patti Labelle missed out on the opportunity to audition for Whoopi Goldberg’s role in Ghost after becoming stuck in traffic on her way to New York.
The soul legend, who has dabbled in acting over the years, reveals she has twice crossed paths with Whoopi on her way to Hollywood, and on both occasions, she lost out on movies which have since become classics.
One of the films was 1990’s Ghost, but Patti didn’t even get the chance to try out for the part of psychic Oda Mae Brown after arriving late to the Big Apple casting call.
“I was in the Lincoln Tunnel (connecting New Jersey to New York) stuck in traffic, and I was there to audition for Ghost,” she recalled on U.S. talk show The View, on which Whoopi is a co-host. “When I got there, Whoopi had gotten the part!”
The other big project was Steven Spielberg’s 1985 adaptation of The Color Purple, which Patti passed on because she didn’t want to disrobe on camera.
“I was to audition for Shug Avery’s part in The Color Purple, so when I got to Steven Spielberg, he told me what the scene (required),” she shared. “I knew what it was all about before I went to L.A., but when they said you have to get kinda nude, naked. I couldn’t have done it, so I messed that up.”
Spielberg ended up casting actress Margaret Avery for the role of Shug, who engages in lesbian sex scenes with Whoopi’s character, Celie Johnson. The movie won both actresses Oscar nominations, while The Color Purple was also shortlisted for Best Picture.
Whoopi and Patti have long since moved on from the brief Hollywood competition and have become good friends.

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