Lainie Kazan (born Lainie Levine in 1940 in New York City) is an American actress and singer.
Born to an Ashkenazic Jewish father and a Sephardic Jewish mother, Kazan began her Broadway career as understudy to Barbra Streisand in "Funny Girl", finally getting to go on eighteen months into the run when the star was felled by a serious throat problem. Coincidentally, both had attended the same high school, Erasmus High School in Brooklyn, New York. Kazan's mother alerted the press and, encouraged by rave reviews for her performance, she quit the show and set out to establish herself in a singing career.
She appeared in numerous supper clubs across the country, and guested on Dean Martin's variety series twenty-six times. Other television work includes recurring roles on the sitcom "The Nanny" and on "Veronica's Closet", and guest shots on "St. Elsewhere" (resulting in an Emmy nomination), "The Paper Chase", "Touched by an Angel" (with Della Reese), and "Will & Grace".
Kazan returned to Broadway to recreate her film role for the musical adaptation of "My Favorite Year", earning a Tony Award nomination for her performance. She has also appeared in regional productions of "A Little Night Music", "Man of La Mancha", "Gypsy", "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?", "Hello Dolly!", and "Fiddler on the Roof", among others.
Kazan's feature films include Francis Ford Coppola's "One from the Heart", "My Favorite Year" (both in 1982), "Lust in the Dust" (1985), "Harry and the Hendersons" (1987), "Beaches" (1988), "The Cemetery Club" (1993), "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" (2002), "Gigli" (2003), "Red Riding Hood" (2004), "Whiskey School" (2005).
In recent years, Kazan has kept busy performing on concert stages and in Las Vegas and Atlantic City showrooms. Kazan posed for a spread in Playboy magazine that appeared in the October, 1970, issue, an interesting departure from the magazine's usual norm of ultra-slender women. Kazan's Playboy spread inspired Jack Kirby to create the DC Comics superheroine Big Barda.
Listen to Lainie's big and sunny voice and enjoy!
And here are 3 other examples of Lainie Kazan's great style!
I loves you Porgy / The trolley song
What now my love