Madeline Gail Kahn (September 29, 1942 December 3, 1999) was an actress and comedienne who is best known for being a proud member of Mel Brooks's Production Posse. She was nominated for several Oscar and Tony awards, but only won one of the latter (for The Sisters Rosensweig). She also did voice work and collaborated repeatedly with Gene Wilder, Cloris Leachman, and The Muppets, among others. She was also a talented singer who appeared in several stage musicals and operas.
She once stated that her favorite actors to work with were Wilder and Steve Martin.
She passed away at age 57 from ovarian cancer.
Has appeared in:
- The Dove (1968)
- What's Up, Doc? (1972)
- Paper Moon (1973)
- Blazing Saddles (1974)
- Young Frankenstein (1974)
- At Long Last Love (1975)
- The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother (1975)
- High Anxiety (1977)
- The Cheap Detective (1978)
- The Muppet Movie (1979)
- Wholly Moses! (1980)
- Happy Birthday, Gemini (1980)
- History of the World Part I (1981)
- Slapstick of Another Kind (1982)
- Yellowbeard (1983)
- Oh Madeline (TV, 19831984), her own sitcom
- City Heat (1984)
- Clue (1985)
- My Little Pony: The Movie (1986)
- An American Tail (1986)
- Betsy's Wedding (1990)
- Mixed Nuts (1994)
- Nixon (1995)
- London Suite (TV, 1996)
- Cosby (TV, 19961999)
- A Bug's Life (1998)
- Judy Berlin (1999)
Tropes associated with her, or that have been seen in her work:
- Butt-Monkey: When she's not playing a Femme Fatale, she's more than likely playing one of these.
- The Cast Showoff: Find a movie she's been in after Young Frankenstein that people actually know about, where she doesn't find an excuse to sing.
- Determinator: She worked on Cosby, the spinoff of The Cosby Show, while undergoing treatment for ovarian cancer.
- Elmuh Fudd Syndwome: Her characters in Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein and An American Tail.
- Femme Fatale: HELL yeah.
- The Ingenue: She once played Cunegonde. Listen for yourself.
- The Immodest Orgasm: Two famous ones: one in Young Frankenstein (where she breaks into song) and one in Blazing Saddles ("It's twue, it's twue!")
- Large Ham: She very rarely played a straight female lead.
- Not What It Looks Like: Mel Brooks made her uncomfortable at her audition for Blazing Saddles when he asked her to lift up her skirt. He actually just wanted to make sure she had the right legs for the part.
- Older Than They Look: She didn't age much considering the thirty or so years she was in the business.
- One-Scene Wonder: In a sense. Her most famous work ironically didn't give her much screen time (in Young Frankenstein, for instance, she only had about fifteen minutes onscreen).
- Playing Against Type: She's partially famous for playing loud and confident characters, but Mel Brooks has stated that she was actually pretty shy in real life.
- Pretty in Mink: When playing a Socialite, she more often than not wore a fur.
- Production Posse: She was part of Mel Brooks's posse.
- Promoted Fanboy: She got to work with her own idol, Lucille Ball, when she was originally cast as Agnes Gooch in the film version of Mame. But something got her fired, or else she quit (no one seems to agree why she left production), which basically subverts this.
- Sanity Slippage Song: She's covered Getting Married Today.
- Throw It In!: As well as her "Flames on the side of my face" monologue, "Ah, Sweet Mystery Of Life" was her choice of song when her character in Young Frankenstein is raped. (Mel Brooks originally wanted her to sing something different, and she didn't warn him about the aforementioned song.)