Oscar Actors: Kane, Carol–Background, Career, Awards

Research in Progress
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Carolyn Laurie Kane (born June 18, 1952) is an American actress and comedian. She became known in the 1970s and 1980s in films such as Hester Street, for which she received Best Actress Oscar nomination, Annie Hall, and The Princess Bride.

She appeared on the television series Taxi in the early 1980s, as Simka Gravas, the wife of Latka, the character played by Andy Kaufman, winning two Emmy Awards for her work. She has played the character of Madame Morrible in the musical Wicked, both in regional productions and on Broadway from 2005 to 2014.

From 2015 to 2020, she was cast member on the Netflix series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, in which she played Lillian Kaushtupper.

Kane was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the daughter of Joy, a jazz singer, teacher, dancer, and pianist, and Michael Kane.[2] Her family is Jewish, and her grandparents emigrated from Russia, Austria, and Poland.[3][4] Her parents divorced when she was 12 years old.[5] She attended the Cherry Lawn School, a boarding school in Darien, Connecticut, until 1965.[6][7] She studied theatre at HB Studio[8] and also went to the Professional Children’s School, in New York City, and made her professional theatre debut in a 1966 production of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, starring Tammy Grimes.

Kane portrayed Simka Dahblitz-Gravas, wife of Latka Gravas (Andy Kaufman), on the American television series Taxi from 1981 to 1983. She received two Emmy Awards for her work in the series.[10]

In 1984, Kane appeared in episode 12, season 3 of Cheers as Amanda, an acquaintance of Diane Chambers from her time spent in a mental institution.

Kane was a regular on the 1986 series All Is Forgiven, a regular on the 1990–1991 series American Dreamer, guest-starred on a 1994 episode of Seinfeld, a 1996 episode of Ellen and had a supporting role in the short-lived sitcom Pearl.

In 1988, Kane appeared in the Cinemax Comedy Experiment Rap Master Ronnie: A Report Card alongside Jon Cryer and the Smothers Brothers.

In January 2009, she appeared in the television series Two and a Half Men as the mother of Alan Harper’s receptionist.[11] In March 2010, Kane appeared in the television series Ugly Betty as Justin Suarez’s acting teacher. In 2014, she had a recurring role in the TV series Gotham as Gertrude Kapelput, Oswald Cobblepot’s (Penguin’s) mother.[12]

In 2015, she was cast as Lillian Kaushtupper, the landlord to the title character of Netflix’s series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.[13] She reprised the role in the television movie Kimmy vs the Reverend.

In 2020, Kane was part of the ensemble cast of the Amazon show Hunters, which includes Al Pacino and Logan Lerman.

Films

Kane and Gene Wilder in a publicity photo for The World’s Greatest Lover, 1977
Kane appeared in The Last Detail (1973), Hester Street (1975), Dog Day Afternoon (1975), Annie Hall (1977), The World’s Greatest Lover (1977), When a Stranger Calls (1979), Norman Loves Rose (1982), Transylvania 6-5000 (1985), The Princess Bride (1987), Scrooged (1988), in which Variety called her “unquestionably [the] pic’s comic highlight,”[14] and Flashback (1989) with Dennis Hopper.

In 1998, she played Mother Duck on the cartoon movie The First Snow of Winter. In 1999, she made a cameo in the movie Man On The Moon as her character she played on Taxi.

Kane was nominated for the Best Actress Oscar for Hester Street (1975)

Kane also starred in the Addams Family remakes as grandma.

She starred in the off-Broadway play Love, Loss, and What I Wore in February 2010.

Kane made her West End debut in January 2011 in a major revival of Lillian Hellman’s drama The Children’s Hour at London’s Comedy Theatre. She starred alongside Keira Knightley, Elisabeth Moss and Ellen Burstyn.

In May 2012, Kane appeared on Broadway as Betty Chumley in a revival of Harvey.

Kane is also known for her portrayal of the evil headmistress Madame Morrible in the Broadway musical Wicked, whom she played in various productions from 2005 to 2014.

Kane made her Wicked debut on the 1st National Tour, playing the role from March 9 through December 19, 2005. She then reprised the role in the Broadway production from January 10 through November 12, 2006. She again played the role for the Los Angeles production which began performances on February 7, 2007. She left the production on December 30, 2007, and later returned from August 26, 2008, until the production closed on January 11, 2009.

She then transferred with the L.A. company, to play the role once again, in the San Francisco production, January 27, 2009. She ended her limited engagement on March 22, 2009.[18] Kane returned to the Broadway company of Wicked from July 1, 2013, through February 22, 2014 (a period that included the show’s 10th anniversary).

Film

1971 Desperate Characters Young Girl
1971 Carnal Knowledge Jennifer
1972 Wedding in White Jeannie Dougall
1972 …and Hope to Die (a.k.a. La course du lièvre à travers les champs) Her scenes were cut from the finished film.[20]
1973 The Last Detail Young Whore
1975 Hester Street Gitl Nominated —Best Actress Oscar Nomination
1975 Dog Day Afternoon Jenny
1976 Harry and Walter Go to New York Florence
1977 Annie Hall Allison
1977 Valentino Starlet
1977 The World’s Greatest Lover Annie Hickman
1978 The Mafu Cage Cissy
1979 The Muppet Movie Myth
1979 When a Stranger Calls Jill Johnson
1979 La Sabina Daisy
1981 The Games of Countess Dolingen Louise Haines-Pearson
1981 Strong Medicine
1982 Pandemonium Candy
1982 Norman Loves Rose Rose Nominated —AFI Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
1983 Can She Bake a Cherry Pie? Customer at Cafe
1984 Over the Brooklyn Bridge Cheryl
1984 Racing with the Moon Annie the Hooker
1984 The Secret Diary of Sigmund Freud Martha Bernays
1984 Terror in the Aisles Jill Johnson Archival footage
1985 Transylvania 6-5000 Lupi
1986 Jumpin’ Jack Flash Cynthia
1987 Ishtar Carol
1987 The Princess Bride Valerie
1988 Sticky Fingers Kitty
1988 License to Drive Mrs. Anderson
1988 Scrooged Ghost of Christmas Present
1990 The Lemon Sisters Franki D’Angelo
1990 Flashback Maggie
1990 Joe Versus the Volcano Hairdresser Cameo; credited as Lisa LeBlanc
1990 My Blue Heaven Shaldeen
1991 Ted & Venus Colette
1992 In the Soup Barbara
1992 Baby on Board Maria
1992 The Real Story of Here Comes the Bride Margaret Mouse Voice
1993 When a Stranger Calls Back Jill Johnson
1993 Even Cowgirls Get the Blues Carla
1993 Addams Family Values Granny Frump
1994 The Crazysitter Treva Van Arsdale
1995 Theodore Rex Molly Rex Voice; direct-to-video
1996 Big Bully Faith
1996 American Strays Helen
1996 Sunset Park Mona
1996 The Pallbearer Mrs. Thompson
1996 Trees Lounge Connie
1997 Gone Fishin’ Donna Waters
1997 Office Killer Dorine Douglas
1998 The Tic Code Miss Gimpole
1999 Jawbreaker Principal Sherwood
1999 Man on the Moon Herself/Simka Dahblitz
1999 The Wacky Adventures of Ronald McDonald Org’s Mom Voice; video short
2000 The Office Party Linda Short
2001 D.C. Smalls Mom Short
2001 My First Mister Mrs. Benson
2001 The Shrink Is In Dr. Louise Rosenberg
2001 Tomorrow by Midnight Officer Garfield
2002 Love in the Time of Money Joey
2003 Cosmopolitan Mrs. Shaw Released theatrically in 2003
Televised on Independent Lens on PBS in 2004
2004 Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen Miss Baggoli
2005 The Pacifier Helga
2005 The Civilization of Maxwell Bright Temple
2005 The Happy Elf Gilda Voice
2008 Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Furious Five Sheep Voice
2008 Four Christmases Aunt Sarah Uncredited
2010 The Bounty Hunter Dawn
2010 My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend Barbara
2010 Pete Smalls Is Dead Landlady
2011 The Key Man Marsha
2012 Sleepwalk with Me Linda Pandamiglio
2012 Should’ve Been Romeo Ruth
2012 Thanks for Sharing Roberta
2013 Clutter Linda Bradford
2014 Emoticon 😉 Hannah Song
2015 Ava’s Possessions Talia
2018 The Sisters Brothers Mrs. Sisters
2018 Ghost Light Madeline Styne
2019 The Dead Don’t Die Mallory O’Brien