Lainie Kazan Birthday: May 15, 1940 Birth Place: New York, New York, USA Height: 5' 1"
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Hofstra-educated singer/actress Lainie Kazan became a celebrity by indirection. In 1964, Kazan was engaged to understudy Barbra Streisand in the Broadway production of Funny Girl; the disappointed boos and catcalls that often greeted Kazan when she subbed for Streisand were generally dissipated by the standing ovations she'd receive at performance's end. In 1966, Kazan was hired for her first weekly-TV stint on The Dean Martin Summer Show, exhibiting a keen sense of comic timing in the presence of such funsters as Dom DeLuise and Rowan & Martin. A firmly established nightclub star by 1980, Kazan made her official screen bow in 1980's One From the Heart (her actual screen debut in an obscure 1968 film was passed over in the studio publicity). In 1982, she essayed her most memorable screen role, as the brash, blunt Brooklynite Bella Carroca in My Favorite Year; she would repeat this role many years later in the Broadway musical version of that film. The high points in Kazan's subsequent film work (Beaches et. al.) would far outweigh such doomed-from-the-start endeavors as Lust in the Dust (1985). Kazan's series-TV assignments of the 1980s included the role of Rita in the 1986 Robby Benson detective series Tough Cookies, the "best friend" part of Claire Steiner in the Fox Network Patty Duke sitcom Karen's Song, and recurring appearances in the hospital drama St. Elsewhere. Few of these appearances, however were of the zany calibre of Kazan's outrageous portrayal of an Italian-accented fairy godmother in Shelley Duvall's Faerie Tale Theatre's version of "Pinocchio." Still a top attraction on the supper-club circuit, Lainie Kazan has opened two cabarets bearing her name in New York and Los Angeles.
Understudied Barbra Streisand in the original Broadway production of the musical "Funny Girl."
received a Tony nomination for reprising her original role in the musical 'My Favorite Year'.
She is of Spanish and Russian-Jewish heritage.
Hit #123 on the Billboard 'Bubbling Under' singles chart in 1967 with "Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye" (MGM 13657)
Was named as "Queen of Brooklyn" at the Welcome Back to Brooklyn Festival in 1997
In 1993, received a Tony nomination as Best Actress (Featured Role - Musical) for "My Favorite Year," reprising her original role from the earlier film version of the same title, My Favorite Year (1982).
Was the visual inspiration for the comic book character Big Barda.