Goldie Hawn was born on November 21, 1945 in Washington, D.C. Her mother was the daughter of Jewish immigrants and a dance school owner, and her father was a band musician who played at major events in Washington. The family lived in the suburbs of D.C.
Goldie began taking ballet and tap dance lessons at her mother’s studio, at the age of three. At the age of ten, Goldie danced in the corps de ballet of the “Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo” production of The Nutcracker in 1955.
By 1964, Goldie had dropped out of University, where she was studying drama. To earn money she taught ballet at the school. Goldie made her stage acting debut at the age of nineteen, playing Juliet in a Virginia Shakespeare Festival production of “Romeo and Juliet.” She made her professional dancing debut in a production of “Can-Can” at the Texas Pavilion of the New York 1964 World’s Fair and began working as a professional dancer a year later as a go-go dancer in New York City.
Goldie moved to California to dance in a show at a theater across from Disneyland. She began her acting career as a cast member of the short-lived CBS sit-com “Good Morning, World” (1967). The role was that of the girlfriend of a radio disc jockey, with a “dumb blonde” personality-something that would become her trademark.
Goldie’s big break of course came when she was cast as a regular on the sketch comedy show, “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In” (1968–1973). On the show, she would often break out into high-pitched giggles in the middle of a joke, continuing her “dumb blonde” persona. She was on almost every episode with her chipper attitude and her bikini and painted body-this was the 60’s after all. Goldie was seen as something of a 60s “It” girl.
Goldie made her big screen film debut in a small role as a giggling dancer, in the 1968 film “The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band”. Just a year later, she got her first major film role, which was a total opposite of the “dumb blond” persona she had become to be known as. Goldie showed her dramatic side in “Cactus Flower” (1969), where she played opposite Walter Matthau, as his suicidal fiancée. Goldie won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for the role.
After Goldie’s Oscar win, her film career took off. She starred in a string of successful comedy movies starting with “There’s a Girl in My Soup” (1970), and “Butterflies Are Free” (1972). She continued proving herself in dramatic roles as well, with the 1974 dramas “The Girl from Petrovka”, “The Sugarland Express”, and “Shampoo” in 1975, with Warren Beatty.
Goldie got her own TV special “Pure Goldie” in 1971. After the special, Goldie took some time off for family life. She had married an actor/director in 1969 but it ended in divorce in 1976. Later that same year, Goldie married actor/musician Bill Hudson and wanted to start her family. She would have a son, Oliver Hudson and a daughter, Kate Hudson, before divorcing again in 1982.
Goldie’s second TV special was in 1978, “The Goldie Hawn Special” and it was a sort of comeback for her, after she had been out of the spotlight for over two years. On the TV special she performed show tunes and comedy bits alongside comic legend George Burns, teen idol Shaun Cassidy, television star John Ritter and even the Harlem Globetrotters joined her on the show. The special later went on to be nominated for a primetime Emmy Award.
Next week, we’ll look at Goldie maturing in Hollywood as well as her personal life.
Fred Jacobs is a full time resident of Puerto Vallarta and the author of three books.