From Simka Gravas in “Taxi” to Lillian in the Netflix original series “Unbreakable” Kimmy Schmidt, American actress, and comedian Carol Kane has continued to earn tons of credits as an actress. She appeared on stage as a teenager in the 1960s before switching to the big screen, where she always played interesting characters.
Her most famous works include Hester Street (for which she was nominated for an Academy Award), Annie Hall, The World Greatest Lover, The Princess Bride, and the television series Taxi, for which she received two Emmy Awards for her performance.
Carol Kane – Bio
The comedienne was given the birth name Carolyn Laurie Kane after she was born on June 18, 1952, in Cleveland, Ohio, USA. She came from a Jewish family led by Michael Myron Kane, an architect, and his wife Elaine Joy (née Fetterman), a jazz singer, teacher, dancer, and pianist. Unfortunately, they divorced when Carol was only 12 years old. Her grandparents were Russian immigrants and she also has Polish and Austrian origins.
Carol Kane studied at the Cherry Lawn School in Darien, Connecticut until 1965. She then studied theater at HB Studio and attended the Professional Children’s School in New York City. At the age of 14 in 1966, Kane made her professional acting debut in a theater production of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.
Since her acting debut, Kane has appeared in both films and television programs. She has also recorded other interesting works in the theater, including the off-Broadway play Love, Loss, and What I Wore in February 2010, and the following year she made her West End debut in January. It was in a major revival of Lillian Hellman’s drama The Children’s Hour at the Comedy Theatre in London. Keira Knightley, Elisabeth Moss, and Ellen Burstyn also played the leading roles in the drama.
Kane appeared on Broadway in 2012, where she appeared as Betty Chumlee in a revival of the play Harvey. In 2005 she went on tour and starred in the musical Wicked, starring as the evil principal Madame Morrible. She has resumed the role in several productions, including the Los Angeles production and the San Francisco production from 2005 to 2014.
Movies and TV Shows
While Carol Kane describes Wedding in White (1972) and Hester Street (1975) as her two best films over the years, she has gained a wide range of experience on stage as well as in television and film.
She made her television debut in 1974 with the television film “Wir, die Frau” as Susannah White. She then played a number of other roles in both television films and television shows. These include Visions, Big Appearances, The Greatest Man on Earth, Laverne & Shirley, An Invasion of Privacy, and American Playhouse.
Kane’s breakthrough came in 1981 when she was given one of her most notable television roles. She played the role of Simka Dahblitz-Gravas, the wife of Latka Gravas in the series Taxi until 1983, and her performance earned her two Emmy Awards among other honors and nominations. During her show, she appeared in five films, including The Plays of Countess Dolingen and Strong Medicine, both 1981, Pandaemonium (1982), Norman Loves Rose (1982), for which she was nominated for the AFI Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role. In 1983 she also acted in the comedy Can She Bake a Cherry Pie?
Her first film role was in 1971 as Jennifer in Carnal Knowledge in the 70s. Before the year ended, she had another role in Desperate Characters. In 1972 Carol Kane played the role of raped teenager Jeannie Dougall, who became pregnant and was married to an older man, in the acclaimed Canadian film Wedding in White. The following year she starred in The Last Detail, before playing her Oscar-nominated role of Giti in Hester Street in 1975. She also appeared in Dog Day Afternoon (1975) and Harry and Walter Go to New York (1976).
In 1977 she starred in Woody Allen’s Academy Award-winning film Annie Hall, in which Diane Keaton played the title role. She also starred in Valentino, The World’s Greatest Lover, The Mafu Cage 1978, The Muppet Movie, When a Stranger Calls, and La Sabina, all 1979.
Carol Kane has remained active in the acting scene with more interesting roles. She had regular roles in the NBC series “All Is Forgiven” and “American Dreamer”, a recurring role in Gotham, and a supporting role in the short-lived sitcom “Pearl”. From 2015 to 2019, she portrayed Lillian Kaushtupper, the landlord of the title character in Netflix’s original series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. She also had voice-over roles in animated series such as F stands for Family, Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure, and Star vs. The Forces of Evil, and will appear as Mindy Markowitz in the upcoming drama web TV series The Hunt.
Her other films include My First Mister (2001), The Pacifier (2005) starring Vin Diesel, The Bounty Hunter (2010) starring Jennifer Aniston, the indie movie 2012, Sleepwalk with Me, Ava’s Possession (2015), The Sisters Brothers and the upcoming movie The Dead Don’t Die (2019). Carol Kane starred as Mimi in the music video for Chaka Khan’s song This is My Night (1985).
Carol Kane was never married. Apart from Woody Harrelson, with whom she went out in 1986, she has never been, nor is, connected with another man. However, there was a rumor that she would marry sometime in 2015 after a ring was discovered on her ring finger. She neither confirmed nor denied this speculation, but she managed to keep her private life out of the curious eyes of the media.
She enjoys spending time with her dog Johnny and her mother, whom she describes as wonderful, brilliant, and creative.
Facts You Should Know About The Actress
1. She is 1.58 meters tall
2. Apart from her performances on stage and on screen, Kane is also known for her small rough voice, curly hair, and wide-eyed expression.
3. She speaks fluent French.
4. Tina Fey has personally trained her for her role as Lillian on the unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Furthermore, she was Fey’s first and only choice for this role.
5. Before her fame Carol Kane worked for Backstage magazine. She put envelopes in envelopes, licked them, and stamped them.
6. Five of the films she starred in were selected by the Library of Congress for the National Film Registry. These include Hester Street (1975), Dog Day Afternoon (1975), Annie Hall (1977), The Muppet Movie (1979), and The Princess Bride (1987).