Madeline Gail Kahn, Actress, b. 1942 d. 1999.
Born in Boston, Massachusetts on September 29, 1942, Madeline Kahn was originally slated to become an opera singer, but developed a love for acting in high school. She found herself drawn to the musical comedy style of show, which eventually became the field she was best known for.
Kahn's career would produce a long line of impressively satirical characters. Her first film was a parody of Bergman films entitled The Dove. This eventually led to her discovery by directer Peter Bogdanovich, who cast her in What's Up Doc and Paper Moon alongside Ryan O'Neal.
The roles for which she would become best known for would come in the Mel Brooks' films Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein and High Anxiety. However, her over the top comic performances in those films threatened to burn out her career. She attempted to avoid dangerous typecasting by playing in less maniacally comic films and co-starring on Broadway with Danny Kaye.
Kahn's foray into television resulted in the dismal failure of Oh Madeline which was a weirdly misguided attempt to make Kahn into a 1980s version of Lucille Ball. It was easily the low point of a brilliant career that in 1993 won her a Best Actress Tony Award for The Sisters Rosenswieg. She also made a strong impression with her portrayal of Martha Mitchell in the Oliver Stone film Nixon
Kahn's voice remained her most powerful asset, and was the driving force behind her career, whether in film, on Broadway or performing the works of Stephen Sondheim at Carnegie Hall. Along with the ability to inspire laughter with just a look and a kind of overwhelming sexuality that could not be defined by predictable modern standards, her voice will insure that she lives forever through the magic of film and human memory.
Madeline Kahn died on December 3, 1999 from ovarian cancer at the age of 57.
This means I will never have an opportunity to enjoy a tasty omelette and a bloody mary with her as we watch the sun come up over the Pacific. I had a script I wanted to show her.