(ASPEN, Colo.) - Caryn Johnson didn't pick the name Whoopi.
``It picked me,'' the actress now known as Whoopi Goldberg explained while accepting the American Film Institute's Star Award during the eighth annual U.S. Comedy Festival on Saturday.
``I get gassy,'' Goldberg said.
She recalled a friend telling her, ``You're like a whoopee cushion.''
The name stuck but her career didn't really take off until, at the suggestion of her mother, she added Goldberg.
``It did something. It sort of changed people's attitudes'' about her, she told newsman Ed Bradley, who conducted an on-stage interview in which Goldberg recalled everything from her life on the streets to a job she once held applying hair and makeup on corpses.
Later she performed off-Broadway and in many films, winning an Academy Award for her supporting role in ``Ghost.''
``I don't look like Halle Berry. But chances are, she's going to end up looking like me,'' Goldberg said.