A professional actress since age 14, Ohio-born Carol Kane is best known for essaying a staggering variety of characterizations in her career. Most of her early film roles were fleeting but memorable, such as that of the hippie girlfriend of Art Garfunkel in Carnal Knowledge (1971), the "sailor's plaything" in The Last Detail (1973) and the terrified bank teller in Dog Day Afternoon (1973). Kane's first starring appearance was in Hester Street (1975), wherein she was Oscar-nominated for her portrayal of a Jewish newlywed in turn-of-the-century New York. From 1981 through 1983, Kane played Simka, the wife of immigrant mechanic Latka Gavras (Andy Kaufman) on the TV sitcom Taxi. Simka's country of origin was fictitious, but Kane and Kaufman managed between them to "create" a Slavic language peppered with ridiculous, non-sequitur terms of endearment. The actress won an Emmy for her work on Taxi. Other regular TV sitcom assignments for Kane have included 1986's All Is Forgiven and 1990's American Dreamer. Kane has excelled in bizarre character roles, notably the kvetching old peasant wife in The Princess Bride (1986), the abusive "Ghost of Christmas Present" in Scrooged (1988), and the toothless, witchlike Grandmama in the two Addams Family theatrical features. She remained an in-demand character actress appearing in a variety of movies and TV shows including Even Cowgirls Get the blues, Trees Lounge, Office Killer, and appearing as herself in the Andy Kaufman biopic Man on the Moon. She slowed down not a whit in the 21st century playing parts in My First Mister, Love in the Time of Money, The Pacifier, My Girlfriend's Boyfriend, and the 2012 indie Sleepwalk With Me.
Biography by Hal Erickson
- Lived with her family in Paris for a year and learned to speak fluent French.
- Began her theater career in 1966 in the off-Broadway and national touring-company productions of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.
- Debuted on Broadway in a 1972 production of Ring Around the Bath Tub.
- Studied Yiddish in order to land the role of Gitl in Joan Micklin Silver's drama Hester Street (1975).
- Best-known for playing Simka Gravas, the wife of Andy Kaufman's Latka, on Taxi.
- Began a stint as Madame Morrible in the Broadway musical Wicked in early 2006.
- In 2011, appeared alongside Ellen Burstyn in the West End production of Lillian Hellman's The Children's Hour.