When Nick at Nite first started, everything they played was from the very early days of television. They looked askance at episodes of My Three Sons featuring Uncle Charlie instead of Bub. Eventually, though, in search of those sweet, sweet Boomer viewers, they started showing newer shows. By which I mean this was my exposure to Laugh-In. (I think the strongest case Gen X has for how neglected we are as a demographic is that there’s no TV channel just for us.) I think I was vaguely aware of the existence of Goldie Hawn before then, but I am probably one of the youngest people to have first encountered her in any serious way from watching Laugh-In on television.
It’s kind of interesting to me that she isn’t one of those women famous for playing blonde bubbleheads where all the rumours say she’s a secret genius. (I heard them most often about Marilyn Monroe.) Goldie Hawn does not seem to me to be a secret genius, but she does seem to be a reasonably intelligent, mostly down-to-Earth sort. She’s chosen not to marry long-term partner Kurt Russell because her two marriages and her single one worked out badly, and as far as she can tell, marriage is all about money anyway, so why bother? Which is a perfectly sensible attitude to have, even if I don’t entirely agree with it. She also started a charity intended to help underprivileged children improve academically—and hired outside researchers to test if their methods actually do any good.
But mostly people think of her as a blonde bubblehead. She won an Oscar for it for Cactus Flower, a movie I frankly did not like very much. I’m actually much more fond of her lunatic turn as Gwen in HouseSitter, where she plays a compulsive liar who brings lunacy to the life of Steve Martin’s Newton Davis. It’s not necessarily a good movie, but I do think it’s a lot of fun, at least. And I think she’s quite good in it. I also think she holds her own opposite Meryl Streep in Death Becomes Her, a movie that actually features a Bruce Willis performance I don’t dislike.
She has all but retired from acting, though apparently Amy Schumer wouldn’t make Snatched unless Hawn played her mother; whether it turns out to be a good or a bad thing that they made the movie, I leave for people who’ve seen it to determine. Certainly it was her first movie in fifteen years. She did do an episode of Phineas and Ferb in that time, the only TV she’s done since Laugh-In. I don’t know for sure what she’s been doing in that time, but I really hope the reason she hasn’t been working has been that she hasn’t wanted to, not because no one would hire her.
Her first movie credit was as “Giggly Girl” in The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band, one of those titles that makes it perfectly clear that here is a Live-Action Disney Movie From the Sixties. If I remember correctly, she met future partner Kurt Russell while making it but neither made much of an impression on the other—perfectly understandable from her perspective, since she’s six years older than he is, meaning she was probably twenty-two while it was made and he was sixteen! What delights me, however, is that she then married director Gus Trikonis, formerly a dancer who’d played Indio in West Side Story. She appeared as a spectator in one of his movies for her next role—watching a little sport called sidehacking.