Virtual Conversation: Lainie Kazan

By Lambs Club 6/18/20

LAINIE KAZAN is a multi-award winner in film, television and on stage. Kazan began her career as Barbra Streisand’s understudy in the Broadway production of Funny Girl. She soon became the “chanteuse” of her native New York, appearing in nightclubs and as a guest on virtually every top variety and talk show on television. She appeared on The Dean Martin Show an unequalled 26 times, hosted her own variety special on NBC and partnered with Hugh Hefner to open the popular “Lainie’s Room” and “Lainie’s Room East” at the Los Angeles and New York Playboy Clubs. Hats off to Lamb Magda Katz for approaching Lainie on behalf of The Lambs

Appearing at San Francisco’s Fairmont Hotel, Lainie attracted the attention of Francis Ford Coppola who offered her a role in One from the Heart. The following year, Kazan was nominated for a Golden Globe Award as Best Supporting Actress in Richard Benjamin’s My Favorite Year with Peter O’Toole. Her other films include Lust in the Dust, Delta Force, Beaches, The Cemetery Club, 29th St., The Associate, Love Is All There Is, The Big Hit, The Crew, What’s Cooking?, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Don’t Mess With The Zohan, Pixels and My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2. She was nominated for an Emmy Award for St. Elsewhere and received a CableACE Award nomination for The Paper Chase. Kazan guest starred on Will & Grace, recurred on The Nanny and Desperate Housewives and she played Arthur’s main squeeze on King of Queens. She has appeared on Modern Family and on the Disney Channel series Jessie. Most recently she guest starred on The Kominsky Method.

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Kazan received a Tony nomination for her role in the musical version of My Favorite Year at the Lincoln Center. She produced and starred on Broadway with Bette Midler, Madeline Kahn, Patti LuPone, Elaine Stritch and Andrea Martin in Doin’ What Comes Natur’lly, an all-star tribute to Ethel Merman. As for her music career, Kazan has sung with the Boston Pops, the Cleveland Pops and performed to sold-out houses throughout Europe, Asia, Australia, and the United States. She has performed in Las Vegas for over 25 years and at such venues as The Greek Theatre, Carnegie Hall and the hallowed stages of New York’s Rainbow and Stars. Recently she performed to sold out houses at Feinstein’s at Vitello’s in Los Angeles, Feinstein’s/54 Below in New York, and The Purple Room in Palm Springs. A recording artist, her CDs include her jazz collections, “Lainie Kazan – In the Groove” and “Body and Soul.” She has recorded 5 albums under the MGM label and was awarded Best New Artist award in 1968. Since 2012, she has been serving as an Adjunct Professor in the School of Theater, Film and Television at UCLA, teaching “Acting for the Singer” using the Great American Songbook.