Like a Bird on a Wire – The Majestic Life of Goldie Hawn

Goldie Jeanne Hawn was born on November 21, 1945, in Washington and was named after her mother’s aunt. She has a sister named Patti Hawn, who works as an entertainment publicist. Her mother, Laura, was a dancer and owned a dance club and a jewelry shop. Their father, Edward, was a famous musician who participated in several important events in Washington.

Kate Hudson and Goldie Hawn / Diane Keaton, Goldie Hawn, and Bette Midler / Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell / Goldie Hawn

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Hawn grew up in Takoma Park, Maryland, and went to Montgomery Blair High School in the same city. After high school, she attended American University, majoring in drama before suddenly dropping out to pursue her career in dancing.

Talented From an Early Age

Inspired by her mother, Hawn began taking tap dancing lessons at the age of three and later also enrolled in ballet classes. From then on, she continued to dance all the way up until her acting career picked up in the 1960s.

A young Goldie Hawn is dressed as a ballerina.

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At the age of ten, Hawn danced in the Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo production of The Nutcracker. After making her debut on stage as Juliet in the Virginia Shakespeare Company’s production of Romeo and Juliet, her parents realized that her career would lead to show business.

She Had a Scary Experience at Age 19

At age 19, Hawn was in a car accident, which almost led to the star’s death. Interestingly enough, she didn’t even know how close she was to dying until many years later when a psychic in Thailand helped her remember the incident.

Goldie Hawn sits in a restaurant with a hamburger in her hands.

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She then managed to recall having an out-of-body experience and seeing the ambulance arrive while observing everything from above the scene. She also said seeing the paramedics take her away seemed like a dream – but now she understands that it was a reality she was meant to experience.

She Needed Professional Help

The psychic helped her understand that she didn’t die that day because she hadn’t yet fulfilled her purpose in life. Even though learning all this was an experience that shook her to the core, the knowledge of having a purpose helped her through many challenging moments in her life.

Goldie Hawn poses with her hands on her head.

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The psychic apparently didn’t even know who she was, which was why they were given credit for all their claims. The person was also praised highly by Hawn and by her entire family for their help.

Dancing Career and Discovery

By 1964, she was already teaching ballet in her ballet academy. In the same year, she made her debut as a professional dancer at the New York World’s Fair in a production of Can-Can. After that, she worked as a go-go dancer at the Peppermint Box in New Jersey, where sitcom producers from California spotted her.

Goldie Hawn demonstrates a position for her young ballet students.

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In 1966, Hawn moved to California and began dancing at Melodyland Theatre, located across from Disneyland. Here, she participated in the musicals Pal Joey and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

A Start on Good Morning World

In 1967, she was hired as a cast member of the sitcom Good Morning World, in which she played the stereotypical ditzy blond girlfriend of a radio disc jockey. From 1968-1973, Hawn was acted as a giggling go-go dancer on the sketch comedy show Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In.

Goldie Hawn with Dan Rowan on the set of Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In.

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Writing her laugh-in persona into several more film roles, such as the ones she played in There’s a Girl in My Soup, Butterflies Are Free, and Cactus Flower, has paid off big time. Especially considering the Academy Award, she had won for her role in the latter.

Ingrid Bergman had a Huge Role in Launching Hawn’s Career

Cactus Flower was actually Hawn’s first major big-screen production. Apart from participating in such a large project for the first time, she also had the opportunity to work with multiple award-winning actresses, including Ingrid Bergman.

Ingrid Bergman and Goldie Hawn are on the set of Cactus Flower.

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According to close sources, Bergman was so impressed with the young actress that she told Hawn it looked like she had been acting for many years. This compliment, coupled with the Academy Award and the Gloden Globe she received for her role in the film, was a very effective way for the unknown actress to gain the attention of producers and other stars.

Her Favorite Character is Judy Benjamin

Premier Magazine ranked Goldie Hawn’s portrayal of Judy Benjamin from Private Benjamin as one of the 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time. But the audience wasn’t the only ones who loved her character. In fact, Judy Benjamin is Hawn’s all-time favorite character to play, and for multiple reasons.

Goldie Hawn, as Private Judy Benjamin and Mary Kay Place in 'Private Benjamin.'

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For one, she enjoyed creating the comic scenes on the set, which was unique in every regard. She also loved to work with Eileen Brennan, despite the seemingly tense atmosphere surrounding their on-screen characters.

They Became Best Friends

The actress playing the strict Capitan Lewis and Hawn has become the best of friends in real life. They discovered a strong connection between them due to their similar comedic styles, which helped them build a lifelong friendship.

Goldie Hawn and Eileen Brennan in a still from Private Benjamin.

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When Brennan passed away after a long battle with cancer, Hawn had a hard time dealing with the loss of her friend. She even expressed her sorrow through social media, saying that no one has ever made her laugh more than Brennan did on the set – which made her pain worse.

She Received Multiple Awards and Nominations

During her long-standing career, Goldie Hawn revived 21 awards and 33 nominations for her various illustrious roles. Cactus Flower earned her an Oscar and a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress in 1971, alongside a nomination for the BAFTA Film Award.

Goldie Hawn on stage at the Acadamy Awards.

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In 1980, she was nominated for four Emmy Awards – alongside Liza Minelli for their special production Goldie and Liza Together. Between 1987 and 1997, Hawn was nominated four times for the American Comedy Award, all for her lead roles in romantic comedies.

Further Awards Followed Her

In 1997, Hawn received the Women in Film Crystal Awards – the award established twenty years before to honor an outstanding woman in the entertainment industry. She won this acknowledgment alongside her co-stars from The First Wives Club, Bette Midler, and Diane Keaton.

Diane Keaton, Goldie Hawn, and Bette Midler pose together.

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All the recipients of the Crystal Awards have helped to expand the role of women within the industry. Even though she never felt the burden of paving the path to other women, she certainly did just that.

Her Career Had Its Ups and Downs

Despite having numerous successful roles in the past and even getting into producing herself, Hawn didn’t always have the best of luck with her movie choices. When she was reunited with former co-stars Diane Keaton and Warren Beatty in the comedy Town & Country in 2011, none of the stars could anticipate the disastrous outcome.

Diane Keaton and Goldie Hawn sit on a park bench in a still from Town & Country.

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The release date of the movie had been delayed a total of 13 times. When the film finally came out, it received very little notice, and it lasted less than four weeks in the cinemas.

A Career to Be Proud Of

Her most notable works include Seems Like Old Times from 1982, Best Friends 1982, Bird on a Wire 1990, and Housesitter 1992. Most of these were comedies, but she had also starred in the thriller, Deceived in 1991 and the 1992 drama, CrissCross.

Goldie Hawn and Mel Gibson sit on a motorcycle in a still from Bird on a Wire.

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Hawn recently returned to the big screen for the 2017 comedy, Snatched, co-starring Amy Schumer. The film had an overall successful reception. She also had a cameo in The Christmas Chronicles in 2018, starring her long-time partner Kurt Russell.

She Has Many Other Talents

Goldie Hawn is also a talented singer, born as a dancer, and having fantastic acting skills. In 1972, she recorded a country LP titled Goldie for Warner Brothers, with the lead single Pitta Patta.

Goldie Hawn looks over sheet music at the piano with her father.

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Country icons Dolly Parton and Buck Owens helped her prepare the album and preased her voice greatly. This so inspired Hawn that she even considered leaving the acting scene behind and pursuing a career as a country singer in Nashville for a short period.

With Talent Also Comes Beauty

In 1995, Hawn made it to Empire Magazine’s list of the 100 Sexiest Stars in Film History. But this wasn’t the only recognition her stunning looks got. After all, she wasn’t regarded as one of the sexiest women alive during the 80s and 90s for no reason, nor was her three-decade-long bankable star status only due to her acting talents. In 1985, Hugh Hefner had her pose on the cover of Playboy as well. Hawn was 39 years old at a time.

Goldie Hawn’s Playboy cover.

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She Struggled With Self-Acceptance

Similar to many young girls, Hawn struggled with accepting her looks growing up. Hawn considered herself too thin and found her eyes and ears too big and her nose and face too small. One of the reasons she believed she couldn’t make it as an actor was her looks.

Goldie Hawn, in a pink dress, leans on a studio light.

Photo by Joseph Klipple/Getty Images

Fortunately, her three-decade-long success proved her wrong and helped turn her mindset around and accept her body. Nowadays, one can hardly tell that she is already 75 years old – all because of her stunning looks, which she passed down to her daughter as well.

She Needed To Seek a Psychologist

When she began to receive an acknowledgment as an actress, she was faced with a different kind of insecurity. Due to her multiple roles as a funny and spontaneous girl, people started to perceive her as the same person in real life.

Goldie Hawn poses against a yellow background.

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So, she was forced to seek a psychologist who helped her understand the difference between the true self and others’ perception of her personality. Only by understanding what was happening to her could she embrace her fans and continue her work.

She Worked With Many Famous Stars

Even though Hawn had a chance of working with many famous stars, for her, it was no different than working with anyone else. While at the beginning of her career, she found this very exciting, but she also learned that she still had to be open and have compassion toward the other actors.

Goldie Hawn and William Atherton in a scene from

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Hawn had fun times collaborating with talented and receptive people, but they were some that weren’t so empathetic. However, even if another co-actor hadn’t reacted the way she would have expected them to do, she still tried to get the most out of the situation.

She Even Went to School with Some of Them

Goldie Hawn attended Montgomery Blair High School in Maryland, and she isn’t the only one from Hollywood who went there. Hawn had some very famous classmates there. Some of them included Ben Stein, Carl Bernstein, and the action movie star Sylvester Stallone.

Goldie Hawn’s yearbook photo.

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However, this should be no surprise to anyone as Montgomery Blair is a highly regarded high school. It promises to provide students with the knowledge they can build a successful career on. So naturally, parents are keen to enroll their already talented children in a school like this.

She Has Inspired Many Young Actresses

While Kate Hudson often talks about how inspiring it was for her to have her mother as a role model in her acting carrier, she isn’t the only one. Reese Witherspoon has also described Hawn as one of her all-time idols due to her funny yet uniquely intelligent persona.

Reese Witherspoon and Goldie Hawn at the Glamour Women Of The Year Awards.

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Hawn’s portrayal of Private Benjamin inspired Witherspoon to take on the role of Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, which brought the younger actress’ international fame. Reese Witherspoon even said that the veteran actress opened up many possibilities for women in the film industry.

Goldie Hawn’s Marriages and Children

Goldie Hawn was married twice. Her first husband, Gus Trikonis, was also a dancer. The couple has married in 1969 and divorced in 1976. Immediately after her divorce, Hawn married a musician named Bill Hudson, a member of The Hudson Brothers.

Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, Oliver Hudson, Erinn Bartlett, Meredith Hagner, Wyatt Russell, Rio Hudson, Bodhi Hawn Hudson, and Wilder Brooks Hudson attend a premiere.

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They had two children together, Kate and Oliver Hudson, both of whom have become successful actors. Hawn divorced Hudson in 1982 and hasn’t remarried ever since. She has, however, been in a relationship with fellow actor Kurt Russell since 1983 and has been a stepmother to his son Boston as well.

Children with Plenty of Talent

Hawn and Russel also had a son named Wyatt together – who, after playing professional hockey for a short period, also decided to become an actor. Russel has also raised Hawn`s older children, and they view him as their father.

Kate Hudson and Goldie Hawn pose together backstage.

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All of Hawn’s children had achievements in their acting careers. Although Kate Hudson is the most successful one, Kate is also the most well-known of her children because of her uncanny resemblance to her mother and their close relationship.

Her Relationship with Kurt Russell

Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell are living proof that relationships in Hollywood can indeed last. The pair had first met in 1966 while filming a Disney Movie called The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band. She had already found him to be cute at that time, but he was only 16 years old.

Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell embrace on set.

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The next time fate brought them together was on the set of Swing Shift in 1983. By then, Hawn was divorced twice and was a mother of two, and Russell also had a son named Boston.

An Instant Attraction between Them

The pair were instantly attracted to each other, both in looks and personality-wise. And despite both declaring they would never go out with actors again, they have started dating and slowly managed to blend their families. After welcoming their son Wyatt, they returned to starring together in the film, Overboard in 1987.

Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell are honored with a double star ceremony on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

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Thirty years later, they received a dual star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which honors their careers and relationship. They have celebrated many milestones together, including the birth of their grandchildren, Hawn`s 75th birthday, and most recently, Russells 70th.

A Love Based on Mutual Respect

When asked about the secret of their happiness, they have both expressed that it takes a lot of effort to make it work. At the same time, they say that their relationship is no different than any other one. After all, it’s all based on the love and mutual respect they have for each other.

Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn embrace each other backstage.

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The pair also declared that they don’t spend all their waking hours in each other’s company. This way, the time they do spend together becomes all the more precious.

Goldie Hawn’s Religion and Spirituality

Hawn was raised in a family with a solid Jewish background, and until this day, she considers that to be her religion. However, after discovering the healing effects of meditation, she began to gain interest in Buddhism. In 2004, she had the honor of meeting the Dalai Lama.

Goldie Hawn greets the Dalai Lama.

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She even had the chance to introduce him to the audience at the Tribute to the Dali Lama concert at the Orpheum Theatre in Vancouver. Despite this honor, for her, practicing one particular religion isn’t as important as developing a generally healing spirituality.

Hawn’s Journey to Buddhism

Hawn was initiated at a Transcendental Meditation center and was given her secret mantra. She found learning to train her brain to quiet down a life-changing experience. According to her, it stabilized her mind, and she was able to rediscover herself through it.

Hawn and another woman meditate on the waterfront.

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Ever since, Hawn began to follow Buddhism by practicing meditation, which the star does a couple of times a day. She was able to maintain her cheery disposition throughout her life due to the teachings of Buddhism. Hawn decided to combine the meditation she learned with her family’s long-standing traditional beliefs.

She Loves Simplicity and Being Close to Nature

Ever since spending a summer with her then small children, Oliver and Kate, on the island of Ibiza in 1982, Hawn learned to appreciate simplicity. Despite staying in a small house without electricity and hot water, the three enjoyed staying in the shabby establishment.

Hawn and her family pose together, looking at the sunset.

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Living in simplicity has brought them together in a more significant way and made them appreciate each other even more. It also brought Hawn closer to nature which she expressed through her love of animals many times since then.

She’s an Animal Lover

Her favorite animals are elephants. Once visiting a game preserve in India, she met a bling elephant named Belly Button. She then returned to India seven years later to make a documentary on Asian Elephants.

Goldie Hawn attends The Elephant Parade auction.

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The first thing she did when arriving was looking for Belly Button again. Although she wasn’t even sure if the elephant was still alive, she managed to track her down. She immediately recognized the animal due to her distinctive coloring around the eye. Hawn even learned that Belly Button has also become a mother, which filled her with immense joy.

Goldie Hawn’s Family and Traditions

Go-go was not only the dance style that eventually brought her fame. GoGo was also her aunt’s nickname for her. Nowadays, her grandchildren use the same nickname for her. They also call her partner and their grandfather, Kurt Russell, GoGee.

Oliver Hudson, Kurt Russell, Goldie Hawn, Wyatt Russell, and Kate Hudson

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Her unique name, Goldie Jeanne, also originates from her family, as do some of her children and grandchildren’s names. With this, it becomes more than evident that her family has some long-standing naming traditions.

An Open and Loving Family

Their traditions don’t stop at namings either. Inspired by her parents’ support for her own dreams, Hawn and her partner taught their children that they can achieve everything they want to. They also instilled strong family values in their four children, including the importance of supporting each other.

Wyatt Russell, Ryder Robinson, Kate Hudson, Goldie Hawn, and Kurt Russell attend an event.

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Even today, they often express that their children can come to them with any issue they have, and they will encounter a helping hand. Considering Kate lives just a couple of minutes away from them, she is obviously happy to visit them as often as possible.

She Has an Autobiography

In 2008, Hawn released an autobiography called A Lotus Grows in The Mud. In it, she describes all the events that inspired her to become the person she is today. She talks about what she learned from her relationship with her parents, sibling, partner, and children.

Goldie Hawn with her book

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Hawn also introduces her life as a dancer, from her ballet years, through her stint as a go-go dancer. This part of her recollection lasted until she decided to replace her childhood dream of becoming a professional dancer with an actress.

She’s Open and Honest

She writes about the changes that becoming a famous actress brought into her life and the fear and anger that were also part of her reality. She also describes how this taught her compassion and integrity. In her autobiography, she also opens up about her life with Kurt Russell and their children.

Goldie Hawn attends the Oscars.

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For many, Hawn’s book represents the story of a woman who had her ups and downs in life but was always well-loved. This not only helped her through all but was inspiring for many struggling entrepreneurs as well.

She Followed up With Mindfulness

Her autobiography was only Hawn’s first step into the publishing world. She followed it up with 10 Mindful Minutes in 2011. This book dives into the importance of practicing meditation and mindfulness in this modern world intertwined with technology.

Goldie Hawn signs copies of her new book, '10 Mindful Minutes'.

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In it, Hawn discusses how beneficial keeping journals can be for self-discovery. She encourages everyone to take the time and quiet their minds. According to her, it’s a very engaging exercise that helps change negative thoughts into positive ones.

…And for a Good Reason

Hawn believes people become addicted to technology, sometimes at unhealthy levels. Due to this, she isn’t a big fan of spending too much time with smartphones, nor does she enjoy spending time in front of all the other digital screens.

Goldie Hawn as she leans against a tree and hugs her dog.

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She finds it devastating to see people who just sit beside each other and are texting instead of talking to each other. Hawn thinks it damages human values and depletes every situation of any intimacy. It goes against everything she believes in, and she tries to avoid this as much as possible.

She Started the Hawn Foundation

In 2003, Goldie Hawn founded the Hawn Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides different types of youth education programs. According to Hawn, the purpose of this organization is to improve academic performance by allowing students to employ life-enhancing strategies that promote overall well-being.

Host Goldie Hawn speaks at Goldie Hawn's inaugural

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She established the foundation based on external researches that evaluated the effectiveness of the different educational programs for children. The extensive educational program provided by this organization is called MindUP. Hawn`s daughter Kate is a huge supporter of The Hawn Foundation and has even collaborated with her mother for various events.

Life as an Education Meditator

To understand the psychology of learning, Hawn even studied brain plasticity. She has worked as an education meditator since 1972 – but after realizing that children nowadays have different needs, she aimed to create a new education platform. When establishing MindUP, she wanted to make this a secure, all-inclusive world.

Hawn sits and meditates with school children.

Source: MindUp

The program also helps children understand their own neurological makeup, improves their mental stability, and, most importantly, reduces stress. Even though she was initially discouraged from this unique approach, MindUP has now grown into an international organization with over 400,000 participants.

She Has Some Unconventional Values

One of Hawn`s reasons for founding The Hawn Foundation was her own bad experience with traditional educational methods. Her daughter Kate also opted for pursuing her acting career instead of an undergraduate degree.

Goldie Hawn and her daughter, Kate Hudson, attend an event.

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This further enticed Hawn to create unconventional educational programs. The mother-daughter duo actively advocates the importance of having a healthy mindset for pursuing professional and personal goals. They also place a lot of value on how having a healthy relationship with one’s body can help one become a better human being.

An Unconventional View on Marriage

Hawn`s unique values didn’t only translate to her endeavors for educational work but also led to her somewhat unconventional view on the institution of marriage. Despite being in a relationship for over 35 years and raising three children together, neither Hawn nor Russell ever thought about getting married.

Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn attend

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Based on her previously failed marriages, Hawn stated that in her experience, conventional beliefs surrounding marriage could ruin a relationship. Instead of getting married, she and Russell choose to fortify their relationship by supporting each other professionally and personally.

How Goldie Hawn’s Spends Her Recent Days

Despite having left acting and producing behind for 15 years ago, Hawn’s days are once again full of activities that require some serious multitasking skills. When she isn’t on her way to a conference to speak about MindUP, Hawn is looking into some other endeavor she can potentially make herself useful with.

Goldie Hawn attends Glamour's 25th Anniversary Women Of The Year Awards.

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She also follows her children’s careers very closely and tries to be present in their lives as much as possible. Hawn spends holidays and any free time she can with her partner and their seven grandchildren. She is known for posting funny dancing videos of herself enjoying her life.