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People Top 5
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- May 17, 1976
- Vol. 5
- No. 19
With Motherhood and a New Husband on the Way, Life Is a Laugh-In for Goldie Hawn
Mr. Right is Bill Hudson, the 26-year-old elder of the bubble-gum rocking Hudson Brothers. In fact, it was the trio's fans, not Bill, who accosted Goldie first. Last summer, before starting her nutball new film, The Duchess and the Dirtwater Fox, she found her New York hotel abuzz with teenyboppers. Told who their quarry was, Goldie—whose own musical faves are classical romanticists—replied, "The What Brothers?" She found out the next day on an L.A.-bound flight when she awoke from a nap slung out over three tourist-class seats to find Bill "What" sitting in the aisle. Emboldened by the free first-class wine (he normally doesn't imbibe nor "hit on people like that"), he cajoled her into supping with him. The two, who were Bel Air neighbors anyway, have been flying united ever since.
Bill joyously says, "The whole thing has got me crazy" from the day several months later when Goldie said "she wanted a baby." Hawn is more analytical. "Clearheaded as I am," she reports, "I knew the sooner we started a family, the better. The most important thing about Bill is that he is the most honest person I know. His values are like mine, extremely basic. He is not at all the sophisticated, overanalyzed, cerebral person who can't live what he preaches. Our children are going to grow up with the same values."
Goldie's current clearheadedness comes after the most traumatic period of her life. In 1973, after shooting three stressful films in a year and with her marriage to Gus Trikonis, a dancer who aspired to be a director, disintegrating, she felt "I had drained my bucket. I wanted to go somewhere, like the Indians, and meditate." Instead, she traveled the world with her older sister Patti or friends or at times by herself. Although Goldie felt she could afford a restorative "fill-up period," her longtime agent Art Simon (who was extracting 25 percent of her take) wanted to keep her bucket busy. That led to ugly litigation, followed by still more trouble from Gus. Though she and Trikonis had separated in 1973, Goldie says, "We didn't get divorced because neither of us wanted to remarry." Then came Bill, Goldie finally filed—and Gus, invoking the California community property law, demanded $75,000 from her. "I was hurt," admits Goldie. "He never supported me a day in his life. I don't blame him for being unemployed—having me for a wife, it was very hard for him to build up confidence." But now, she says with uncharacteristic bitterness, "he's doing very well, and I don't believe he deserves it." She has a year to pay up.
Hawn isn't exactly hurting, however—she owns seven percent of the net of Shampoo. "It's like Las Vegas," she laughs, "now and then you hit it." And so far Goldie is the first TV woman to score on the big screen. "I never feared the ding-a-ling image," she says, because "I was not a character in a situation comedy. People felt that what they saw on the TV screen was the real me." That's why she "felt as though I was taking a step backward" when she agreed to regress to her old bubble-head routine with George Segal on the recent Oscar cast. A decade ago, of course, she "had no thought of being a star—I was just happy to be working."
Goldie (it's her real name, stemming from her mother's Jewish forebears) grew up in Takoma Park, Md., where, sentimentally, she and Bill will be wed. Her father, Edward Rutledge Hawn (descendant of a signer of the Declaration of Independence), is a violinist, and her mother was a dance instructor. At 19, Goldie followed them into showbiz, gypsying in chorus lines in New York, Puerto Rico, Vegas and Anaheim. Her career low was playing a go-go joint in Jersey, but finally, in 1968, she was saved by the new—and epochal—Laugh-In. Her giddy break-ups over fluffed lines (which the staff then fomented by holding cue cards upside down) made her the top female banana of the show's first two and a half years. At that point Goldie decided, "There was no growth in the character, and I was growing personally." So she fetched up in the movie version of Cactus Flower as Walter Matthau's naive girlfriend—and won a Supporting Actress Oscar that she now frankly feels came "too soon. I was very pleased, but I couldn't help but feel that performance was a drop in the bucket. Now if I were to get one, I would feel I'd worked hard for it." The Duchess director, Melvin Frank, notes that "Goldie doesn't possess that terrible need to prove she's the greatest—she is much more concerned with having a happy personal life." Yet she has ground out eight films since 1969—including one stunning if largely ignored performance as the simple-minded jailbird in Sugarland Express.
Her men post-Gus included stuntman Ted Grossman and Swedish actor Bruno Wintzell, whom she met in The Girl from Petrovka. As for any similar on-set hanky-panky on Shampoo with the producer-star, the report is no. "I love Warren," she says, though. "Everyone loves Warren, because he loves all women." Goldie considers herself a lifelong "liberated woman—I didn't know the housewife syndrome, the pent-up hostilities women can have." She and Bill are moving from Bel Air, which Goldie considers "not a neighborhood. We want our children [they plan 'one more definitely' and hope to adopt a few] to grow up in a normal atmosphere that is less money- and status-oriented. We want them to be able to ride bikes and be happy kids." They're renovating a house, adding a music room for Bill, a greenhouse for Goldie and a horse corral on a cove, unfashionably north of the Malibu Colony superstar ghetto. "We're not Hollywood people," explains Hawn, and outside of Laugh-In pals like Ruth Buzzi and Bill's brothers Mark and Brett, their crowd is strictly nonshowbiz. Their hobbies are vegetable gardening and old-fashioned Sunday drives rather than celeb tennis. (The Hudsons grew up in Portland, Ore.)
For the time being, Bill will be carrying the mortgage. After a summer tour, he'll be seen Sunday mornings on CBS's Hudson Brothers Razzle Dazzle Show, as well as in three theatrical shorts in which the boys will try to update the Three Stooges. Goldie is considering teaming again with George Segal—they wore well together in Duchess, even if the film didn't—perhaps in a bioflick about George Burns and Gracie Allen. For all her personal offers, though, Goldie is "disheartened" that "there's as much chauvinism in this business as anywhere else—scripts are not being written for us." To solve that problem, she's out to help finance The Last Fling, a statement comedy about two housewives "discovering themselves," to be directed by Lee Grant.
For now, though, Goldie is sticking close to home, except for a short trip to the Continent with Bill later this month. ("This baby is so important to me, if anything happened I would die.") From her living room, she is rehearsing for that visit by asking her French maid, Claudie, for "du thé"—a cup of tea. Claudie returns with du lait—milk. "Oh well," shrugs Goldie, like a sad Tweety Bird, "it must be my guardian angel looking after me. I suppose I should be drinking this." And, with a pat of her tummy, she does.
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