vp19 (vp19) wrote in carole_and_co,
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A Goldie anniversary (happy birthday, Ms. Hawn!)

In an entry last week depicting a writer's fictional trial in heaven, Carole Lombard, speaking in the afterlife, professed her admiration for Goldie Hawn (http://community.livejournal.com/carole_and_co/#50359). Conjecture, obviously, but Goldie, who celebrates her 62nd birthday today, was in her prime perhaps the top comedic actress in Hollywood, with a likable style reminiscent of Lombard and other comic icons of the Golden Age. (And, like Lombard, her generous off-screen personality has won her many friends.)

Goldie was born Nov. 21, 1945 in Washington, D.C., and grew up just across the District line in the leafy Victorian suburb of Takoma Park, Md. And a half-century ago, when Goldie was turning 12, if she was watching old movies on TV, it was probably to see the likes of Ginger Rogers instead of Lombard -- for her goal was to become a dancer when she grew up, perhaps operating her own dance school. But at Montgomery Blair High School in the early sixties, she also caught the acting bug, and as happens to many of us, her life, and career, went in an entirely different direction.

So here's a pictorial birthday salute to the lovely, leggy Goldie -- and many of these images are rare. First, here's Hawn while she was still a teenager, performing summer stock in Williamsburg, Va., in 1964. She still did some dancing too, going up to New York to perform at the World's Fair.



Later in the decade, she headed to Los Angeles, where she had these publicity pictures taken. She would land a supporting role on the short-lived sitcom "Good Morning World" and then joined the troupe of "Rowan And Martin's Laugh-In," where she soared to stardom:



In contrast, here's a more candid shot of Goldie from about that time, in the kitchen of her apartment:



Hawn's first film of note was an adaptation of the Broadway play "Cactus Flower," issued near the end of 1969, for which she would win an Oscar for best supporting actress. Her career was taking off, and she now focused on movies -- although she also made a few TV specials. This scene from a 1970 special must have been especially thrilling to her, because that's her father Edward performing. He was a concert violinist who played with the Washington-based National Symphony.



Goldie was a steady film star throughout the '70s, working in a number of comedies as well with a young Steven Spielberg in the 1973 drama "The Sugarland Express," but her career ascended in 1978 when she co-starred with Chevy Chase and Dudley Moore in the classy comic thriller "Foul Play." (Farrah Fawcett was first offered the female lead, but turned it down.)



Hawn and Chase would reunite in 1980 (with Charles Grodin joining them) for "Seems Like Old Times," a Neil Simon-written comedy that, as its title suggests, evoked the spirit of 1930s screwball. It wasn't that big a hit at the time, but is belatedly being appreciated as a comedic gem.

Goldie began producing her own films in 1980 with "Private Benjamin," perhaps her biggest hit. Four years later, she did a period piece, playing a 1940s war worker in the drama "Swing Shift."



Reviews for "Swing Shift" were mixed, but the film nonetheless meant a lot to Hawn -- because that's where she met Kurt Russell, who's been her unmarried beau ever since.

Hawn continued having hits, culminating in a successful 1992, when she made three movies: the so-so drama "Criss Cross," the delightful "Housesitter" with Steve Martin, and the offbeat fantasy "Death Becomes Her" with Meryl Streep. Here's a scene from that last film where, through Hollywood special effects, Goldie's literally not all there:



Hawn didn't make another film for four years -- but it turned out to be a major hit, "The First Wives Club" with two other funny ladies, Diane Keaton and Bette Midler, who collectively proved actresses over 40 (heck, by now Hawn was over 50!) could still be big box office. That year, she also appeared in Woody Allen's "Everyone Says I Love You," where she sang on screen and won good reviews for doing so. (Hawn recorded an album in the early '70a, which was reissued on CD a few years ago.) Three years later, she reunited with Martin for a middling remake of Simon's "The Out-Of-Towners"; her last film to date, "The Banger Sisters" with Susan Sarandon, came out in 2002.

Goldie has aged remarkably well (with the help of a little plastic surgery, to be sure), making one wonder if there's some Dorian Gray-like portrait somewhere. Here she is with Russell earlier this year, and while her low-cut outfit might seem a bit daring for a woman in her early sixties, she still pulls off the look nonetheless:



And here's a photo from 2005 of Goldie with her daughter Kate Hudson, an attractive, talented and likable actress in her own right -- and the one many would love to see cast as Carole Lombard if a biopic is ever made.



We should also note Goldie's book, "A Lotus Grows In The Mud." A memoir, autobiography and guide to life all rolled into one, it reflects Hawn's effervescence, warmth and honesty -- qualities that have won her millions of fans. (I should note that one of her stories involves meeting cartoonist Al Capp in the mid-sixties, and while the creator of "Li'l Abner" was a brilliant satirist, his treatment of women leaves a lot to be desired.) It's well worth a read.



Anyway, congrats on your 62nd, Goldie...and many happy returns!

Tags: goldie hawn, kate hudson, kurt russell
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