Madeline Kahn

American actress, singer (1942-1999)

Madeline Gail Kahn (September 29, 1942December 3, 1999) was an Academy Award-nominated Jewish American actress of movie, television and theater distinguished by an unusual gift for comedy.

Madeline Kahn in 1983


  • Me, as myself, I don't think I'm particularly funny. But I've noticed that people in my life always have found me amusing. Which, when I was little, really bothered me.
  • Mel is sensual with me. He treats me like an uncle - a dirty uncle. He's an earthy man and very moral underneath. He has traditional values.
    • Paul D. Zimmerman, (February 17, 1975) "The Mad Mad Mel Brooks", Newsweek


  • How can I believably be a dumb blonde. I'm the furthest thing from it. I am intelligent. I don't mean I have a great IQ. I just mean there's always an intelligence present in what I do.
    • Reported in Terry Byrne, (December 7, 1999) "Appreciation - Comedy was no laughing matter to Kahn", Boston Herald
  • What's wrong with musicals now is all the gifted men who've died of AIDS—who would otherwise be here today creating great theater.
    • Reported in Boze Hadleigh, (2007) Broadway Babylon: Glamour, Glitz, and Gossip on the Great White Way, Back Stage Books, ISBN 0823088308, p. 95.
  • Laughter is a strange response. I mean, what is it? It's a spasm of some kind! Is that always joy? It's very often discomfort. It's some sort of explosive reaction. It's very complex.


  • She is one of the most talented people that ever lived. I mean, either in stand-up comedy, or acting, or whatever you want, you can't beat Madeline Kahn.
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