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Montgomery County Women's History Archive:

40 Women of Historical Significance in Montgomery County

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Goldie Hawn


Goldie Hawn
(1945 - )

World renowned actress



Goldie Jeanne Hawn was born in Washington D.C. in 1945, to Laura (Stienhoff) Hawn, a dance school owner and jewelry wholesaler, and Edward Rutledge Hawn, a professional musician. The youngest of two daughters, she grew up in Takoma Park, Maryland, and attended Montgomery Blair High School. She was instructed in ballet and tap dancing from the age of three, and danced in the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo's Nutcracker chorus at age ten. At the age of 16, she made her theatrical stage debut in the lead role in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

After graduating from high school, Hawn enrolled at Washington D.C.’s American University as a drama major while running her own ballet school. Two years later, she moved to New York City to pursue acting and dance seriously. To support herself, she danced in the Texas Pavilion at the 1964 World's Fair, at numerous clubs, and in the chorus of touring Broadway musicals, like Kiss Me Kate, Guys and Dolls, and The Boyfriend. Later, Ms. Hawn moved to California, where her first break came when producers from Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In spotted her dancing on an Andy Griffith television special in 1967 and hired her as a regular. Her appearance on Laugh-In Show earned her two consecutive Emmy nominations (1969 and 1970) as well as a legion of fans.

Her role in major films started with Cactus Flower (1969) costarring Walter Matthau and Ingrid Berman, for which she earned an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for best supporting actress. This success led her to take other roles in several films, including her critically acclaimed dramatic role in Steven Spielberg's first film, Sugarland Express (1973). Hawn also took roles in Butterflies Are Free (1972), Shampoo (1975), The Duchess and the Dirtwater Fox (1976), Foul Play (1978), Private Benjamin (1980), and Best Friends (1982). During all these years, Hawn earned a total of six Golden Globe nominations in the category of Best Motion Picture Actress in a Musical or Comedy. In addition, she received an Oscar nomination in 1981 for Best Actress in Private Benjamin, a comedy in which she starred and also produced. The same year, Hawn received a People’s Choice Award for Favorite Motion Picture Actress.

In her new role as executive producer, Hawn faced challenges common to women filmmakers in the traditionally male-dominated industry. "Women's power in Hollywood is not an easy thing to come by," she admitted. "A woman is constantly tempering her own point of view, her own passion." Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Hawn produced many of the films in which she starred, among them Protocol (1984), Wildcats (1986), and Overboard (1987). She also has costarred comedies featuring other prominent Hollywood actors, like Bird on a Wire (1990) with Mel Gibson; HouseSitter (1992) with Steve Martin; and Death Becomes Her (1992), with Meryl Streep and Bruce Willis. Hawn owns Hawn’s Comic Entertainment production company.

From 1992-94, Hawn removed herself from acting to care for her sick mother, who died in 1994. In 1996, she returned to Hollywood to co-star in the successful comedy The First Wives Club, in which she played a woman who, along with her friends (Bette Midler and Diane Keaton), gets even with the ex-husbands who left them for younger women. Since then, she also has starred in Woody Allen’s Everyone Says I Love You (1996), The Out-of-Towners (1999), and Town and Country (2001). Currently, Hawn is planning to produce a television movie about the victims of United Airlines Flight 93 on September 11, 2001. 

Hawn is considered one of the most successful women in Hollywood. She has acted in over thirty films, producing many of them, and has won many different awards during her career. In 1997, Hawn became the first female actor and producer to be honored by the American Museum of the Moving Image. In 1999, she received the Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year Award from Harvard University.

A self-described "Jewish Buddist," Hawn has credited her youthful and carefree persona to a daily practice of meditation and yoga. She has publicly valued her independence, although she believes that life "is hard for any woman. Women run households, they raise children, they have to be very, very tough. I always saw my mother working, so I never grew up thinking that a man would take care of me, ever." She also stresses the importance of family and states that her main goal in life has been "to be a good mother." Her 1969 marriage to dancer Gus Trikonis ended in divorce in 1974. Hawn has three children; Oliver and Kate, with musician Bill Hudson, whom she married in 1976 and divorced in 1980, and Wyatt, with actor Kurt Russell, with whom Hawn has resided since 1983.