Friday, January 3, 2014
THE LAST DAYS OF MADELINE KAHN
She was born in 1942 and grew up in New York City was a stage mother than got her involved in the business. A role in the Broadway musical Two by Two attracted the attention of a casting director - which led to her feature film debut in Peter Bogdanovich's What's Up, Doc? Madeline was more than happy to leave the Broadway show and her nasty co-star Danny Kaye for work in Hollywood. Years later she was asked to star opposite Danny Kaye in another Broadway show and made no bones about telling producers: "If you hire him, you lose me." She had another bad experience with a huge legend - Lucille Ball. Kahn was supposed to star opposite Ball in the film of Mame in 1974, but Ball disliked her voice and had her removed from the film. Kahn was hurt but it opened her up to star in Blazing Saddles.
Madeline went on to do more film, stage and TV work throughout the 1980s and 90s and became known for her professionalism. ("I have appeared in crap...but I never treat it as such. Never!" ). Her funny but nuanced and endearing portrayal of an affluent Jewish suburban matron in the Broadway play The Sisters Rosensweig earned her a Tony Award in 1993. Her final film role was in the indie film Judy Berlin (1999) where Madeline showed that underneath her amusingly frazzled housewife character was a woman with a core of strength.
For the next two decades, Kahn work steady rotating between film, television, and stage roles. While shooting the NY-based sitcom "Cosby" in fall 1998 with Bill Cosby, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer (the same disease that claimed the life of her friend Gilda Radner). Madeline endured three rounds of chemotherapy, three surgeries and experimental treatments for the—notoriously hard to detect and resistant to treatment—cancer. Her work on Cosby was reduced to only 4 episodes in the final season. Madeline thanked "the entire extended family on Cosby who moved heaven and earth to make me feel as comfortable as possible" these past few months.
Despite being desperately ill (or because of), in October 1999, Madeline married her partner of 10 years John Hansbury. She managed the strength to stand for the ceremony, and her voice, which had been reduced to a whisper in recent weeks, spoke loudly and clearly, "I do."
On Nov. 4th 1999, Madeline made a public statement about her cancer battle. "It is my hope that I might raise awareness of this awful disease and hasten the day that an effective test can be discovered to give women a fighting chance to catch this cancer at its earliest stage." Three weeks later, Kahn entered Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan for her latest dose of chemotherapy - where she stayed and fought until the end.
She died on December 3, 1999 at the age of 57. By her side were her husband and her brother Jeffrey. A comic genius was silenced, but the laughter lives on...
Posted by David Lobosco at 5:42 AM
Labels: actress, comedian, last days, Madeline Kahn
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I always loved Madeline Kahn. Her talent in making me laugh was awesome.ReplyDelete
Bless those who loved you, Ms. Kahn. Your presence in Heaven must be a wonder of joy.
how could anyone not love her,?Delete
She was so beautiful and so talented. She is still missed even today.ReplyDelete
She should have been nominated for an Academy Award, Golden Globe, etc., for her role of Eunice Burns in What's Up Doc; she made that movie, her first major film. Her comic genius is evident in this film.ReplyDelete
She should still be alive fuck you cancerReplyDelete
One of a kind. No one to even compare her to.Delete
Beautiful lady, so sadly missed.Delete
Didn't know she passed until today.i felt such a deep sadness after finding out that she is no longer with us. I loved her in young Frankenstein. Wow! Still can't believe she's gone.Delete
Didn't realized she passed until today. I was searching for movies to record on DVR and came across blazing saddles, when I clicked on her pic and it said died I was shocked actually and sad. Sorry to hear Lucille and Madeline not playing nice together and Danny Kaye as well. That's too badDelete
“Not playing nice”? Madeline was a class act and always professional. They were not.Delete
She was so talented, classy, amazing.ReplyDelete
Makes me sad Lucy and Madeline didn't "click"-I admire both so much-ReplyDelete
So Memorable in Young Frankenstein. A Genius Of a movie. She is only on film mere minutes but is So Gorgeous. She just encapsulates you. Very Sorry to hear she Died So Young. But you can tell, she was a highly evolved Spritual Being. So Focused in her Career Not to be caught up or derailed by anyone. God Just had a Higher Purpose for her. Thank You Madeline for the Beautiful Work.ReplyDelete
Talent beyond comprehension. Her premature death leaves a void which can't be filled. But her genius lives forever. A life well and fully lived.ReplyDelete
A wonderful talent, sadly missed.ReplyDelete
A wonderful, beautiful, funny and talented actress who is still missed today! Hollywood was definitely a much better place having you involved in it!ReplyDelete
I don't think i ever saw anything with Madeline Kahn in it that wasn't at the very worst - really enjoyable.ReplyDelete
Fast forward 20 years after your voice was silenced forever, the world hasn't forgotten you. That's the real genius of having talent & being loved. I wish i had gotten to meet & work with you. My life would be so different, all of ours. Shine a bright star high up as you can for all of us. We miss you.ReplyDelete
It's never easy to understand why some must die this young. For those left behind who loved her, you must have been so blessed to know her.ReplyDelete
As a 38 year old I only experience Ms. Kahn in the show Cosby where she played Pauline. She was so hilarious!! I was saddened by her passing.ReplyDelete
Such a talented and beautiful lady! My children and I love her in the movie “Mixed Nuts”. Watching it is part of our Christmas viewing. Gone too soon, but definitely not forgotten.ReplyDelete
I'm sitting here watching Blazing saddles, one of the films that made me wanna be in show business, she was such a great talent and it was sad that her life was cut short, THANKS for all the laughs Madeline!ReplyDelete
Madeline, the world will continue to mourn your passing, forever.ReplyDelete
She was the greatest.ReplyDelete
You truly were the funniest actress ever and so sooo talentedReplyDelete
My name is Madeline tooReplyDelete
Always loved her work since I saw her as a young kid in " Young Frankenstein ". Very talented & will certainly be remembered as one classy lady comedian.ReplyDelete
I love Madeline Kahn.ReplyDelete
I saw her in a play in NYC. She had a stage presence that was unforgettableReplyDelete
She can be heard on YouTube singing "I'm not getting married". It's a tough song to sing
It's a song long on words without a moment to breathe. It's been years since she died but memories of her are still fresh.
Agree, such a great actress.ReplyDelete
Her performance in Paper Moon as the buxom and bossy Miss Trixie the burlesque dancer was stellar. What a character actor!ReplyDelete
I still remember where I was when I heard she had died. She was something special.ReplyDelete