Goldie: a lotus grows in the mud
by Goldie Hawn with Wendy Holden
Berkley, February 2006
Published in 2006, Goldie Hawn’s autobiography, Goldie: a lotus grows in the mud, is much different than other autobiographies I’ve read. I wish I’d read it sooner. This isn’t the typical chronological, obstacle-filled/obstacle-overcame Hollywood story. Goldie has written of her own life’s events, how she felt about them and what she learned from each one. No matter how mundane or how big of deal they might seem, she respects them all with equal power to the effect they had on her life. This is a wonderful collection of Goldie’s perspective on different areas of life. It made me think. Especially, It made me think differently about some things.
“That is the idea behind this book. Not to tell my life story, but to speak openly and from the heart about episodes in my life in the hope of explaining how they changed my perception and how they helped me to look at the world more clearly,”–Goldie Hawn
My early movie-going life was consistently filled with Goldie Hawn. I looked up to her. I wanted to be her. I was comfortable in the theater when she was on screen. Within the pages of this book, I’m just as comfortable. Many of the moments she writes about are written in first person, present tense. This is terrific! It makes the reader feel like a genuine part of the story.
Goldie Hawn’s movie career was at a peak at about the same time I was beginning to discover movies. She instantly became one of my favorites then because of the way she portrayed the characters she played. Like I said, I always looked to these characters as women I felt comfortable, or safe, with. This was not something I enjoyed in my own life – I grew up in an oh-so-strict environment ruled by a narcissistic mother who wouldn’t even let me watch such movies. (I had to lie about where I was going to go to the theater to see one). Not only did I feel comfortable with Goldie and her characters, I learned from them that it was okay to be a free spirit, that it was okay to think and dream….and that laughter plays a big part in all of it.
“I mean, it’s important to be liberated from my fears. I don’t think burning bras is going to do that. I think laughing out loud is a great liberator.” — Goldie Hawn
As young as I was, I figured this out without even realizing it, if that makes sense, in those first few Goldie Hawn movies I saw. Thank god. As they say, “Laughter truly is the best medicine.” I don’t know who said that first, but I learned it from Goldie Hawn.
Foul Play (1978) was the movie that introduced me to Goldie Hawn. I was a huge Barry Manilow fan at the time, and his song, Ready To Take a Chance Again, led me to it. I SO loved that song and absolutely had to see Foul Play because that song was a part of the movie – though to this day I do NOT understand why. I mean, it was a kind of a disturbing but funny movie about a librarian and a cop (Chevy Chase) solving a crime that involved creepy characters….not really a place for a mushy love song, even though they ultimately fell in love….
But anyway…. I left that movie in complete adoration of Goldie Hawn. From that point forward I made sure I saw as many of her movies as I could. I could always rely on Goldie’s romantic comedies to make me feel good. There was never any doubt that her presence in a movie would be exactly what I needed. I am positive that her movies are why I have always been drawn to the romantic comedies that exist throughout the history of Hollywood.
Housesitter (1992) with Steve Martin has been my favorite Goldie Hawn movie. Oh how I admired how clever she was in that movie. And that house! I have been known to beg my architect Hubby to design and build me that house. I STILL don’t have the house. But I have the movie and of every movie I own, it’s the one I’ve watched the most. It never gets old. One more time, Goldie plays a free-spirited, clever girl full of kindness that I take a great deal of inspiration from. When I saw Cactus Flower (1969) with Walter Matthau and Ingrid Bergman, (Goldie’s first movie), for the first time last year, that same feeling of comfort washed over me. It’s like that for me with every movie of Goldie’s that I’ve seen.
“It is so important to get a different perspective in life, to see what other people have or don’t have and what they consider to be valuable. Possessions ultimately do not make us happy, nor does the obsession with acquiring more and more material wealth. How much is enough?”
“Children don’t plan. They don’t control. They laugh, they have fun, they go with the flow.” There is a lesson for us all there.” –Goldie Hawn.
It’s a relief just to let myself think that way as I read it! I do love the way she thinks, and this book is filled to the brim with her thoughts and perspectives. They’re enlightening and inspiring. Needless to say, a person could learn a lot here, if they let themselves.
“If we can just let go and trust that things will work out the way they’re supposed to, without trying to control the outcome, then we can begin to enjoy the moment more fully. The joy of the freedom it brings becomes more pleasurable that the experience itself.” –Goldie Hawn
- Goldie is a dancer at heart. I love knowing that Fred Astaire was her childhood hero. He’s mentioned no less than six times here.
- Goldie wasn’t altogether impressed with Walter Matthau when they made Cactus Flower together, but she absolutely loved Ingrid Bergman. This does not move me from my current Walter Matthau obsession, however.
- I have not seen Private Benjamin (1980). Yet. It’s Goldie’s only Oscar (for Best Actress In a Leading Role).