Written by Hazel Davis

Arts

Why I ❤️ Goldie Hawn

Tomorrow is Goldie Hawn’s 70th birthday. Hazel Davis basically bit our arm off to write about the acting powerhouse. WARNING: Hazel’s pretty angry not everyone sees how ace Hawn is.

Private Benjamin posterIt started as a childhood crush. It was probably, almost certainly, Private Benjamin. Private Benjamin was the Legally Blonde of the 1980s but with rifles. In it, beautiful blonde gold-digger Judy Benjamin marries a man she doesn’t love to get the life she craves.

He dies and in her desperation to be looked after, she falls prey to an army recruitment dude who tells her army life is all James Bond and diamonds. What follows is Goldie Hawn at her absolute best.

But, really, I can almost guarantee that if she’s in the film, I will enjoy it.

There are two types of people in the world: those who see the words ‘Goldie Hawn’ and think, “This film is going to be about a beautiful blonde airhead”, and those who’ve watched her films and know exactly that it’s often (though not always) beautiful blonde powerhouses who confound expectations, often their own.

In Private Benjamin (WHICH SHE TOTALLY PRODUCED, BY THE WAY), she turns out to be brilliant at her job and in the end she ditches the dick to go back to it.

In Wildcats (“Her dream was to coach high school football. Her nightmare was Central High” but “football had it coming”) she leads an inner-city football team to the city championships while also battling for custody of her children. And rapping at the end.

In Protocol she goes from ditzy waitress to Congress with very little trouble. You get the idea… I can literally never get enough of it.

Overboard (one of my toppest tennest films of all time) is a controversial one. ON THE SURFACE it looks like she plays a rich, spoilt woman with memory loss who gets kidnapped by a burly hunk and made to do household chores.

Hmmm. OK, it’s a little bit more than on the surface; that is basically the plot, but, hey it’s Kurt Russell and, frankly, her character totally had it coming. Once again though, she reveals herself to be more than a pretty face, using her Great Intellect to help Russell’s character Dean build a miniature golf course based on the seven wonders of the world.

Goldie_Hawn_-_1970CactusFlowerPublicDomainWhen she’s not, she’s wiping the floor with her colleagues with precision comic timing, even with a severed head (Death Becomes Her, one of the best female comedy double-act performances ever).

And that’s another thing. Goldie does female collaborations with generosity and glee, whether she’s the bad girl to Susan Sarandon’s reinvented Good Wife And Mother in The Banger Sisters, chaotic drunken foil to Diane Keaton and Bette Midler in The First Wives Club or a casual acting equal to Meryl Streep in Death Becomes Her. Oh yeah, and she totally won an Oscar for Cactus Flower in 1969, WHICH NOBODY EVER MENTIONS.

The thing you need to know about Goldie is that she totes calls the shots. She was one of the most powerful producers in Hollywood in the 1980s. She’s a bestselling author, director (1997’s Hope (shhhhh)) and she’s even head of her own foundation, The Hawn Foundation, which promotes mindfulness for children and provides learning programmes aimed at reducing stress in kids.

In recent years my love for her has gone from cine-screen girl-crush to mum-crush. IRL she seems just as cool. Obviously I don’t know this for certain but one day she will invite me to Skiathos with her and Kurt (I don’t know where they go on holiday. Beach house in Malibu? I don’t know. What? Shut up) and I will be able to find out for myself.

She and Kurt, by the way, appear to have a rocksteady partnership. She describes them as “two pillars, holding up the roof of the family”. She is almost constantly papped by dickhead papers out on a jog WITHOUT MAKEUP (how dare she?) and doesn’t seem to give a shit. She birthed Kate Hudson, on whom I have an almost equally passionate but slightly awkward girl/sister/actual-love crush, and her children and grandchildren (OH MY GOD SOMEONE HAS GOLDIE HAWN AS THEIR GRANDMOTHER), whom she appears to always have in tow, clearly adore her.

Goldie Hawn at TED in 2008.

Goldie Hawn at TED in 2008.

And that smile. That dazzling, joyful smile. Yeah, that smile’s real. That zeal is real. And, yeah, when you listen to her on Desert Island Discs (me? All the time, mate) or when you read her autobiography A Lotus Grows In The Mud (it’s right next to my toilet in times of need), she comes off as ludicrously chirpy and schmaltzy (“It is the simplest things in life that hold the most wonder; the colour of the sea, the sand between your toes, the laughter of a child.”).

She’s got platitudes for every occasion. Don’t care. I love her and you can’t stop me. And you’re not my real mum anyway. She is. (PS: True fact – we called our youngest child Gilda because her dad wouldn’t let me call her Golda and thus shorten it to Goldie).

@hazedavis

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Written by Hazel Davis

Hazel Davis is a freelance writer from West Yorkshire. She has two tiny children but the majority of her hours are taken up with thinking about Alec Baldwin singing sea shanties and the time someone once called her "moreishly interesting".