Beginning her acting career on stage, actress Carol Kane gained television attention with the role of Simka Dahblitz-Gravas in the sitcom “Taxi” (1982-1983), wherein she was handed two Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe nomination for her humorous performance. Kane, who previously brought home an Oscar nomination for her fine portrayal as Gitl in the drama Hester Street (1975), also received praise after beautifully carrying out the title role in the Australian-set film Norman Loves Rose (1982, received an Australian Film Institute nomination for her role) and the guest character of Marguerite Birch in the hospital-set drama “Chicago Hope” (1995, earned an Emmy nomination). In 2006, the productive actress will appear on the small screen, playing Mother Nature, in the holiday film The Year Without a Santa Claus.
“I only eat things that you don’t have to kill.” Carol Kane
In 1991, Kane appeared in the music video and sang in the all-star choir for the song “Voices That Care.” The actress, with measurements 32A-24-34 (Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine), is known as a committed vegetarian.
Childhood and Family:
Carol Kane was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on June 18, 1952, but grew up in New York City. Her parents divorced when she was 12. Right after the divorce, she had to undergo psychotherapy for the next 15 years.
A student of New York City’s Professional Children’s School, Carol landed her first acting gig at the tender age of fourteen. Later, after her career took off, she was sometimes billed as Lisa Le Blanc.
In 1966, Carol Kane launched her acting career by taking a role in the play “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie,” which was performed off-Broadway and on tour. She then went to the screen with the supporting turn of Carol in the little-seen horror movie Blood of the Iron Maiden (1970) and Jennifer in Mike Nichols’ comedy drama Carnal Knowledge (1971), starring Jack Nicholson and Candice Bergen.
After performing in her Broadway debut, “Ring ‘round the Bath Tub” (1972), Kane acquired her first starring turn as raped young girl Jeannie Dougall in the drama Wedding in White (1972). She also re-teamed with Jack Nicholson in the comedy The Last Detail (1973).
Two years later, Kane’s fame was boosted with her leading turn as Gitl, the newly arrived immigrant wife, in the drama Hester Street (1975), in which her fine performance brought an Oscar’s Best Actress nomination. Following her appearance as Florence in the crime comedy Harry and Walter Go to New York (1976), the newcomer made an impact as Allison in the romantic comedy Annie Hall (1977), written and directed by Woody Allen.
She next delivered good performances in her TV film debut, the historical drama Out of Our Father’s House (1978, portrayed Eliza Southgate), as well as the horror thriller When a Stranger Calls (1979, costarred as Jill Johnson, opposite Charles Durning). Subsequent to Les Jeux de la Comtesse Dolingen de Gratz (1980, starred as Louise Haines-Pearson), Kane was cast as Frances Loomis in the short stories collection The Girls in Their Summer Dresses and Other Stories by Irwin Shaw (1981, TV).
Kane took on the title role of an unfulfilled wife in the Australian-set comedy Norman Loves Rose (1982) and brought home an Australian Film Institute’s Best Actress nomination. The actress, who in 1980 appeared as Simka Dahblitz-Gravas in an episode of the sitcom “Taxi,” returned to the hit show as a regular (1982-1983). Before long, the character of Simka, an immigrant woman, became her landmark role, and her witty performance was awarded with two Emmys, one for Best Supporting Actress and one for Best Actress. In addition, she received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
Kane kept turning up on screen with several film roles, including guest appearances in “Faerie Tale Theatre” (1983), the sitcom “Cheers” (1984) and the mystery comedy series “Crazy Like a Fox” (1985). The next year, she was a regular in the NBC sitcom “All Is Forgiven” (1986), playing Nicolette Bingham.
Carrying out supporting roles, Kane took part in the adaptation of William Goldman’s book The Princess Bride (1987, played Valerie) and the Bill Murray-starring Scrooged (1988, as the Ghost of Christmas Present). Up next for the prolific actress, she played Lilian Abernathy in the sitcom “American Dreamer” (1990-1991), had the recurring part of Aunt Sylvia in the drama series “Brooklyn Bridge” (1992), portrayed the role of toothless, witchlike Grandma in the comical horror sequel Addams Family Values (1993) and guest starred as Corinne in the acclaimed sitcom “Seinfeld” (1994).
Thanks to her brilliant guest performance in the hospital-set drama “Chicago Hope” (1995, as Marguerite Birch), Kane was nominated for an Emmy for Best Guest Actress. She then costarred as Annie Caraldo in the CBS sitcom “Pearl” (1996-1997). Still on the small screen, the versatile actress acted alongside Bill Pullman and Martin Landau in the holiday TV movie Merry Christmas, George Bailey (1997), played Mrs. Feld in the short drama The First Seven Years (1998) and appeared as Lydia Luddin in the sitcom “Beggars and Choosers” (1999-2001).
Taking part in an animated series, Kane voiced guest characters in Nickelodeon’s “As Told by Ginger” (2000) and Fox’ cartoon “Family Guy” (2001). She next shared the screen with Randy Quaid in the short-lived “The Grubbs” (2002, as Sophie Grubb) and was seen as Missy Flanders in the TV drama Audrey’s Rain (2003), before appearing in the comedy movies Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen (2004, starring teen star Lindsay Lohan) and The Pacifier (2005, starring Vin Diesel).
Also in 2005, Kane resurfaced on stage and performed as Madame Morrible in “Wicked” at the Pantages theatre in Hollywood. The role was recently reprised on Broadway on January 10, 2006.
Kane will resume her TV work in Ron Underwood’s holiday film The Year Without a Santa Claus (2006), which was adapted from Phyllis McGinley’s novel. In the Christmas TV movie, Kane will have the supporting role of Mother Nature.
- Emmy: Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy, Variety or Music Series, “Taxi,” 1983
- Emmy: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, “Taxi,” 1982