Today is the 79th birthday of the brilliant actress Madeline Kahn. She has been a part of some of the smartest comedies of the 20th century. Her very first credited film is one of my all-time favorites: What’s Up Doc? Have you seen it? You must. She has that iconic scene in Clue and she was even in The Muppet Movie. Do yourself a favor and find one of her films to watch, you’ll thank me later. The world is a better place because she was in it and still feels the loss that she has left.
NAME: Madeline Kahn
BIRTH DATE: September 29, 1942
DEATH DATE: December 3, 1999
EDUCATION: Hofstra University
PLACE OF BIRTH: Boston, Massachusetts
PLACE OF DEATH: New York, New York
ORIGINALLY: Madeleine Gail Wolfson
BEST KNOWN FOR: Madeleine Kahn was an actress of stage and screen known for her roles in Mel Brooks’ comedies such as Blazing Saddles and High Anxiety.
Born Madeline Gail Wolfson September 29, 1942 in Boston, Massachusetts. Kahn began acting in high school and starred in several campus productions, eventually earning a drama scholarship to Hofstra University.
After graduating from Hofstra, Kahn performed on stage before landing a supporting role opposite Ryan O’Neal in 1973’s Paper Moon. The critical acclaim continued the following year with her portrayal of saloon singer Lili Von Shtupp in Blazing Saddles. Kahn was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her work in both films.
Primarily a comedic actress, much of Kahn’s finest work was under the direction of Mel Brooks, including 1974’s Young Frankenstein and 1977’s High Anxiety. Toward the end of her career, Kahn returned to the stage, winning a Tony Award for her role in Wendy Wasserstein’s acclaimed play, The Sisters Rosensweig.
In 1998, Kahn lent her voice as Gypsy in the wildly popular animated film, A Bug’s Life. One year later, on December 3, 1999, she died of ovarian cancer in New York. The accomplished stage and screen actress was just 57 and is survived by her husband, John Hansbury.
Cosby Pauline Fox (1996-99)
Mr. President Lois Gullickson (1987-88)
Oh Madeline Madeline Wayne (1983-84)
FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
Judy Berlin (10-Sep-1999)
A Bug’s Life (14-Nov-1998) [VOICE]
Nixon (20-Dec-1995) · Martha Mitchell
Mixed Nuts (21-Dec-1994)
Betsy’s Wedding (22-Jun-1990)
An American Tail (21-Nov-1986) · Gussie Mausheimer [VOICE]
Wanted: The Perfect Guy (1-Oct-1986)
My Little Pony: The Movie (20-Jun-1986) [VOICE]
City Heat (7-Dec-1984)
Slapstick (of Another Kind) (1982)
History of the World: Part I (12-Jun-1981)
First Family (25-Dec-1980)
Wholly Moses! (13-Jun-1980)
Happy Birthday, Gemini (2-May-1980) · Bunny
The Muppet Movie (22-Jun-1979)
The Cheap Detective (23-Jun-1978)
High Anxiety (25-Dec-1977) · Victoria Brisbane
Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood (26-May-1976)
The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother (14-Dec-1975)
At Long Last Love (1-Mar-1975) · Kitty O’Kelly
Young Frankenstein (15-Dec-1974) · Elizabeth
Blazing Saddles (7-Feb-1974) · Lili Von Shtupp
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (27-Sep-1973)
Paper Moon (9-May-1973) · Trixie Delight
What’s Up, Doc? (9-Mar-1972)