Sunday, November 28, 2010

Madeline Kahn

Today's AWU WOD is Madeline Kahn (1942–99), actress and singer. The bold, offbeat comedienne had dozens of different voices, all of them funny. She was born in Boston and educated at Hofstra University to teach speech therapy while she also prepared for an opera career. Her finest years came in Paper Moon (1973) with Ryan O'Neal, which was followed the next year by Mel Brooks's outrageous Blazing Saddles (1974) as Lili Von Shtupp, a cabaret singer who was obviously based on Marlene Dietrich's performance in Destry Rides Again (1939). She was so delightful in both that Madeline was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in both movies. She often appeared in 'Mel Brooks'' films. Tragically, on December 3, 1999, Madeline died of ovarian cancer in New York, a disease from which she suffered for about a year while she was a cast member of "Cosby" (1996). The accomplished stage and screen actress was just 57.

There is nothing better than laughter to get through difficult times, my dad taught me that. He exposed me to so many wonderful comedians and he was pretty funny himself, but he had a soft spot for Madeline. She was a comic genius and I never get tired of watching her! She died 6 months after my dad. I hope they are both laughing in Heaven celebrating his birthday. <3