When Goldie Hawn first appeared on the comedy TV show, "Laugh-In," she was cute and funny, but not much more than that.
Well, she's about to turn 60. And she's still cute and funny. But much more than that. She's savvy, thoughtful, a mother to four fascinating young people, and still in love with Kurt Russell, the man she's been with for the last 22 years.
About a month ago, Hawn, Russell, and their kids, sat down within their New York apartment.
Is Hawn a ditzy, dumb blonde?
"Ditzy dumb blonde? I can be ditzy. I can be," says Hawn. "My kid'll tell you. I mean, well, what did I do last night? I put black eyeliner on my lips without looking. … So, the answer is, yes. I can be ditzy."
But she's not dumb. In fact, she may be the smartest dumb blonde in Hollywood, having made millions playing to type. It's an image that started by accident.
In 1968, producer George Schlatter cast her as a dancer in "Laugh-In," the groundbreaking TV comedy show. One day, he asked her to introduce some segments on the show. It didn't go as planned.
"I was a little nervous when I went on, and I'm a little bit dyslexic, which means I'm not a lot dyslexic. But I do switch words sometimes and numbers sometimes," says Hawn. "So the camera went on, and I got the words mixed up, and I started laughing. And I said to George, 'George, I did it wrong.' And he said, 'No, Goldie, it was just fine.' Hence, the character was created."
A few flubbed lines later, a star was born, and Hawn became an overnight sensation on the No. 1 TV comedy show in America. She took that image to the big screen, and won a best supporting actress Oscar in "Cactus Flower."
Thirty years later, she's was still playing to type as an aging actress struggling to stay young in "First Wives Club."
Wildly successful playing the stereotype, she's anything but that off-screen. Her 22 years with the same man, actor Kurt Russell, is an eternity by Hollywood standards. And together, they have raised four well-adjusted kids. But they've never married. Why?
"It's not as if we didn't talk about it. We talked about it a lot," says Russell. "And the bottom line of it was, neither one us really cared. In that regard, Goldie and I don't have much truck with society. We live outside of society to a large degree."
Adds Russell: "There's a lot about society I just don't give a s--- about, and neither does she. We just don't care."
The secret to their successful relationship is not the norm either. Theirs is an open-door policy.
"For instance, I don't like the idea of somebody closing a door and saying, 'You can't walk out the door.' I don't like that feeling," says Hawn. "Now, if somebody keeps the door open, I could be a bird in that cage forever and never fly out."
"And if you have a girl who says that, then you don't cheat," says Russell. "I mean, if you have a woman who does feel that way, and you meet them, I gotta tell ya, it's pretty exhilarating."
"Open marriage?" asks Wallace.
"Doesn't work," says Hawn. "Open marriage does not work. It's a great concept."
"You've tried it?" asks Wallace.
"Early in the '70s, it was a big deal about having relationships that way. And I can't say we tried it," says Hawn. "But in my first marriage, I think there was sort of -- we discussed it. Ultimately, human nature doesn't let it happen."
Hawn has learned a lot the hard way. As a kid, she was just another awkward Jewish teenager growing up in Tacoma Park, Md.
"I was awkward as a young girl. I just didn't feel very attractive. And boys didn't take me as sort of their -- they didn't-- you know. I wasn't the girl with the big hoo-has," says Hawn.
"And I think that I'm happy about that. Because I like that I got an ugly girl's personality. In other words, a homely girl always has to develop that muscle. And I did. But the good news is that I never considered myself beautiful at all. And I still don't."
Judge for yourself. At 59, she's still a cover girl.
But there's more to this book than the cover. Now, there really is a book – a memoir that's as much her spiritual journey as an autobiography. In it, Hawn writes of being confronted with the ugly side of the opposite sex for much of her early life.
Her show business career began as a go-go dancer, performing in seedy dives from New York to Las Vegas. Reading her words for the audio version of the book was not easy: "It's dawn, and I'm fleeing Las Vegas like a thief. Slamming the door on five shows a night, the vampire hours, and the drooling perverts. Three months of men who only want one thing. I've had enough."