Goldie Hawn's vibrant energy and aptitude for playing hapless characters made her a natural for the kind of breathless comedy in which she originally made her name. Though she has built a lucrative career with her screen persona of a vivacious, giggly, and befuddled naif, Hawn's onscreen antics conceal her real-life level-headedness: Beneath the wide expanse of her blue eyes lies a shrewd, intelligent, and multi-talented woman.
Born November 21st, 1945, Hawn was the daughter of a musician in Washington, D.C., though she grew up in a Jewish neighborhood in suburban Maryland. At the age of three, she took her first dance lesson, and by the age of 17, she was managing a dance studio while studying drama at American University. In 1964, she danced professionally at the Texas Pavilion of the New York World's Fair, and then began appearing in chorus lines in such musicals as Kiss Me Kate, Guys and Dolls, and The Boyfriend. She eventually moved to California, where her first break came when an agent saw her dancing on the Andy Griffith Show and cast her in Good Morning World, a short-lived comedy series. From there she was cast as a dancer in an innovative comedy-variety show hosted by comedians Dan Rowan and Dick Martin. It was on Laugh-In (1968-1970) that Hawn became popular. Originally a dancer on the show, her bikini-clad body painted with funny slogans and designs, she was given a few lines and proved herself a talented performer in a winning, air-headed way.
Hawn made her first foray into feature films as a dancer in The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band (1968). Her acting debut came a year later playing Walter Matthau's ditzy, bohemian mistress in Cactus Flower (1969); she won an Oscar for her role, making it an inarguably auspicious debut. Later that year she appeared opposite Peter Sellers in There's a Girl in My Soup. These first two films and the subsequent Dollars (1971) utilized Hawn's "blonde" persona, but in 1972, she hinted that she concealed more than a talent for perkiness and comedy when she played a young woman who helps her blind lover deal with his past in Butterflies Are Free. Hawn showed even more depth as a wife who springs her husband from jail in hopes of keeping her child in Sugarland Express, Steven Spielberg's 1973 feature-film directorial debut. Two years later, she starred as Warren Beatty's girlfriend in Shampoo, further exhibiting her capacity as both a comedic and dramatic actress.
Subsequently, Hawn continued to work steadily throughout the '80s and '90s, appearing in films of widely varying quality. Some highlights include the successful Private Benjamin (1980), for which Hawn earned her second Best Actress Oscar nomination, Seems Like Old Times (1982), and The First Wives Club (1996), in which she co-starred with Diane Keaton and Bette Midler. Hawn has two children by her second husband, comedian Bill Hudson, and one by her companion since 1986, actor Kurt Russell. She and Russell met on the set of Swing Shift (1984) and have since starred together in such films as Overboard (1987). Following daughter Kate Hudson's success in the wake of Almost Famous (2000), Hawn hit the big screen again in the notorious box-office bomb Town and Country (2001). Though that film did little to re-ignite her appeal as a box office draw, her turn as a free spirited former groupie in the following year's The Banger Sisters drew favorable reviews from critics and audiences and proved a solid indicator that the talented comic actress still had what it takes to bring in the laughs. After several years away from the screen, she returned as Amy Schumer's mother in the kidnapping comedy Snatched.