(1945 - )
Goldie Hawn was born in Silver Spring, Maryland, on
November 21, 1945, to Laura (Stienhoff) Hawn, a dance school owner and
jewelry wholesaler, and Edward Rutledge Hawn, a professional musician. Hawn
was raised Jewish although, she notes, "not in a strictly religious
atmosphere," and describes a happy home life. She began dancing at age
three, and danced in the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo's Nutcracker chorus at age ten. Hawn recalls being asked to dance on point for a
friend's bar mitzvah. The music started, and she slipped and fell-twice.
Succeeding on her third attempt, "I realized I was probably the little
girl who was going to make it."
After graduating high school, Hawn attended American
University while running her own ballet school. Two years later, she moved
to New York City to pursue acting and dance seriously. To support herself,
she danced in the Texas Pavilion at the 1964 World's Fair, at numerous
clubs, and in the chorus of touring Broadway musicals. Producers from Rowan
and Martin's Laugh-In spotted her dancing on an Andy Griffith
television special in 1967 and hired her as a regular. Hawn's endearing
giggles and improvisational ability on Laugh-In (1968-1970) earned
her an Emmy and, less welcome, comments about her "dumb-blonde
routine." Her character, Hawn clarifies, "was a deeply joyful
blonde. I never thought of her as dumb."
In 1969, Hawn won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar and a
Golden Globe Award for the film Cactus Flower She went on to a
critically acclaimed dramatic role in Steven Spielberg's first film, Sugarland
Express. With 1980s highly successful comedy Private Benjamin,
she added the role of executive producer to that of star. In perhaps her
most accomplished performance, Hawn shows Benjamin's metamorphosis from
selfish, stereotypical Jewish American Princess to self-aware, empowered
woman in charge. Behind the camera, Hawn faced the challenges common to
women filmmakers in the traditionally male-dominated industry.
"Women's power in Hollywood is not an easy thing to come by," she
says. "A woman is constantly tempering her own point of view, her own
But, Hawn remembers, "I just stuck to my guns . .
.and this was hard because I didn't want people too see me as a
Hawn values her independence, although she believes
"it's hard for any woman. Women run households, they raise children,
they have to be very, very tough. I always saw my mother working, so I
never grew up thinking that a man would take care of me, ever." She
also stresses the importance of family and states that her main goal in
life has been "to be a good mother." Her 1969 marriage to dancer
Gus Trikonis ended in 1974. Hawn had two children, Oliver (b. 1976) and
Kate (b. 1977), with musician Bill Hudson, whom she married in 1976 and
divorced in 1980. Since 1983 Hawn has lived with actor Kurt Russell, whom
she met on the set of the film Swing Shift. Hawn and Russell's
family includes Kate, Oliver, Boston (b. 1980), Russell's son from a former
marriage) and Wyatt (b. 1986).
Hawn is one of the most successful women in Hollywood.
She has acted in over thirty films; in 1996 she was seen in The First
Wives Club, which quickly made over $100 million at the box office, and
in Woody Allen's musical film Everybody Says I Love You. She
continues to produce, including the 1995 blockbuster Something to Talk
About, and runs Cherry Alley Productions with Teri Schwartz. Hawn has
made eight trips to India since her first in 1980, most recently to film In
the Wild, a 1996 PBS documentary on saving the elephants.
Sources: Paula Hyman and Deborah Dash Moore eds. Jewish
Women in America. NY: Routledge, 1997. Reprinted with permission
of the American Jewish Historical Society