Whoopi Goldberg will forever be indebted to Patrick Swayze for her Oscar-winning role in GHOST - because the actor insisted he'd only star in the film if the comedienne appeared too.

Goldberg admits she begged to play phony psychic ODA MAE BROWN in the hit 1990 movie, but director Jerry Zucker thought her to be too well-known and refused to consider her.

The actress recalls, "Jerry felt that I was too famous for this part because what he wanted was someone who could take this character and make her larger than life, not because the person was larger than life who was playing her.

"Every black woman on the face of the planet... people rose up from the dead to go and read for this. They kept looking."

Goldberg insists the part would have eventually been given to another actress had it not been for Swayze's campaign to get her in the film.

She adds, "They finally cast Patrick Swayze and he said, 'So who's Oda Mae?' and Jerry said, 'We haven't found her yet,' and Patrick said, 'What, Whoopi wouldn't do it?'

"He said, 'I'm not doing this unless she does it.' So I got a call from my agent saying, 'Remember that movie you've been trying to get in... Well, they cast Patrick Swayze... and he apparently doesn't want to do this movie without you.

"So, Patrick and I hung out, basically, and laughed a lot, and stuff, and Jerry just sort of observed. Later on Jerry said, 'I did a lot of things right in that movie; you were one of the things I did right.'"