Over the span of many decades, actress, producer, author, and philanthropist Goldie Hawn has brought her bright energy to moviegoers with her wide array of hilariously lovable characters. Today, Hawn, 76, strives to continue to leave a lasting impression on the people around her, especially our future generations of children, through her dedicated efforts de ella with MindUP For Life and The Goldie Hawn Foundation.
Founded in 2003, MindUP’s mission is to help children around the world develop the mental fitness necessary to thrive in school and throughout their lives. Hawn says that she initially began her foundation around the wish of creating MindUP. So, what inspired Hawn to ultimately create this not-for-profit organization?
“It was really looked at what the state of mind of our children was after 9/11, feeling the world had changed forever. I knew we were up for some brand new ways of dealing with our psychique and our children were the beginning of the next generation. After 9/11, I decided at this moment in time, we needed to create preventive mental health programs in the classroom and in doing so, I started looking at all the statistics and our children literally started to suffer then. Twenty years ago, we had a rise in suicide for our children ages 10 to 15 and that was the third-leading cause of death. Now it’s more. If they are given tools when they’re young, they’ll be able to manage around some of the emotional ups-and-downs that we have during the day and in life.”
Hawn goes on to reveal to me that she had not pursued an acting career years ago, she would have been a psychologist because she is fascinated with behavior. Beyond the traumatic effects that 9/11 had on the minds of many, I also brought up with Hawn the ongoing effects of this lingering Covid-19 pandemic and the many months that children had to learn in front of a computer screen from home, instead of within the traditional social environment of a classroom.
“MindUP For Life is a program that is set for teachers, not just children. It’s for teachers, our educators, our parents. Ways and means to wake the hell up and say What are we doing? Because at some point, life becomes difficult. Period. And if we can’t deal with it, then it will get us. The one thing to remember is that people create the world. People make things happen. Reality comes from thought and actions – it doesn’t come from the beautiful Earth itself. Thoughts don’t come up the Earth, action doesn’t come from the Earth, war doesn’t come from the Earth, depression doesn’t come from the Earth. We are the ones that need to evolve into something that will honor not just the Earth but each other.”
Hawn says she is currently lobbying for preventative MindUP programs in schools right now. She also mentions that she is talking with the New York school system about getting MindUP in classrooms there, emphasizing that we need to create solutions and implement them fearlessly. Even when Hawn speaks of young children today struggling with anxiety and them lacking the tools to productively deal with their emotions, Hawn says, “If I had the biggest arms in the world, all I’d want to do is hug them, hold them , tell them it’s all going to be okay.”
Hawn is no stranger to getting a rise out of people. Born in Washington DC and raised in Maryland, she began to turn heads at a very young age as a professional dancer, which then paved the way to her feature film debut de ella with a small part as a giggling dancer in 1968’s The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band. A year later, she landed her first big role in cacti flowera performance that won her an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1970.
For many, Hawn became an early household name through her quick-witted sketches on the televised comedy hour laugh-in during the late 1960s and early 1970s. As years went on, Hawn would star in memorable 1980s films including Private Benjamin, Protocol, Wildcatsand Overboardin which she co-starred alongside her boyfriend at the time and now longtime partner Kurt Russell.
Looking back on her early Hollywood career, I wondered if there is one past project that continues to standout in Hawn’s mind today.
“What I remember most is my producing because the movies that I produced, similarly to what I’m doing now, had some gravitas, believe it or not. Private Benjamin, it really is about women/men relationships, confusion, and ability to actually be alone and be okay. It was of the time, right? But it was really where women were coming out of their Jeeps and cars and whatever when I was driving saying Thank you for the movie. That’s the stuff that if we can make a movie that makes you laugh and makes you think and that was my goal.”
Hawn’s films in the 1990s arguably became some of her most iconic and definitely the most lucrative, when it came to the box office. Her de ella beloved 1992 dark comedy Death Becomes Her co-starring Meryl Streep and Bruce Willis was made on a $55 million dollar budget and raked in an impressive $149 million at the worldwide box office. Four years later, Hawn co-starred alongside Bette Midler and Diane Keaton in female-empowering The First Wives Clubwhich reportedly took around $30 million to make and successfully grossed $181 million at the worldwide box office.
I surprised Hawn when informing her that 2022 marks the 30th anniversary of Death Becomes Her and I wondered what she recalls most from that filming experience.
“It was great. I mean, I know Meryl and Bruce and it was really great. I loved working with Bob Zemeckis. He was the director I wanted to work with. The joy was working with a great filmmaker and he was also a friend. It was way ahead of its time and the characters were such caricatures, right? It was definitely indelible and also deeply funny.”
Following a 15-year hiatus from acting to focus on her MindUP commitments and to write a couple of books on her mission & journey, Hawn returned to the big screen in 2017 alongside Amy Schumer in the comedy snatched. A year later, Hawn suited up as Mrs. Claus alongside Russell in Netflix’s The Christmas Chronicles and again in 2020 for its sequel. Hawn tells me that she cannot imagine playing a more iconic role than Mrs. Claus and hopes that they will be able to make one more The Christmas Chronicles film soon.
Continuing to discuss Hawn’s future in Hollywood, I wondered what her thought process toward acting is like today and where she stands on having a desire to create new projects.
“That’s a really good question. The answer is this: I read a lot. I haven’t said I don’t want to work, you know? I read a lot but if I read something that is funny and outrageous and hilarious – or on another point, something completely different, something that’s an extreme. The roles that are set up for people like me in our age group, I’ve found that a lot older women, and I know this sounds crazy, but I think a lot of these older women are nasty. They always seem to be pointed as grouchy, nasty or tough or whatever and I don’t cut into that. I’m not nasty. I live a happy life. I have all the fruits that I could possibly be grateful for and it’s not what I want to do but to be funny again, to be an extreme character would be just so fun.”
As I wrapped up my conversation with Hawn about her eventful life, devoted to bringing joy and comfort to others, I asked Hawn how she reflects most on her many years of giving and how she hopes to best be remembered.
“I could say that the movies that I’ve done, first of all, it’s the most fun thing ever and working and acting is the gift of a lifetime and if you can do it, don’t complain. Bow down, say I am so lucky – a dream come true. Along with being grateful for having the greatest ability to make people laugh, by the way. Sometimes, I have to be honest, I miss that. I miss that because there’s nothing more fun than making a joke funny. So, I guess when you say how do I look at my career, I look at my career is I brought a little bit of wisdom in certain things – a lot of heart. And if that is my legacy, then that would be the greatest of all.”