Marlee Matlin praises Whoopi Goldberg for 'breaking barriers'

Marlee Matlin praises Whoopi Goldberg credit:Bang Showbiz
Marlee Matlin praises Whoopi Goldberg credit:Bang Showbiz

Marlee Matlin has praised Whoopi Goldberg for "breaking barriers."

The 56-year-old actress and activist - who has been deaf since she was eighteen months old - thinks that the 'Sister Act' star, 66 has been a "great mentor" and “sets an example” to her.

Speaking through an interpreter, she told PEOPLE: "I've had great mentors in my life. She's gone through a great deal of breaking barriers . And she set an example for me as well. I have good friends and most especially I have family who supports me, who have my back."

The 'CODA' star - who acted alongside Whoopi in 'The Player' back in 1992 and won an Oscar for her leading role in 'Children of a Lesser God' during the late 1980s - also spoke out about veteran actor Henry Winkler, 76, noting that the 'Happy Days' star told her to not "let anyone define" her.

She said: "It was Henry Winkler who told me to not let anyone define me, not let anyone tell me no. And just like anybody who has a dream or a goal or a desire, I shouldn't let my deafness stop me. And so I never let my deafness define me."

Marlee stars alongside fellow deaf actors Troy Kotsur and Daniel Durant in comedy-drama film 'CODA' about a deaf family and gushed about being able to work with stars who have experienced the same things as her.

She explained: "Today, what I'm excited about is the fact that people are really getting involved. They're expressing their opinions. They're having conversations. And it's more exciting that I'm not the only one anymore. There are costars now with me who are experiencing this, that never have experienced in their depth. And so it's nice to be with them and to be part of their journey.