When I first saw the trailer for Snatched, I was thoroughly delighted to see Goldie Hawn back on the screen. It had been a hot, hot minute since I’d seen her last — in 2002’s The Banger Sisters opposite Susan Sarandon. According to Hawn’s IMDb acting résumé, she has had one (yes, one) acting gig between The Banger Sisters and Snatched, a one-episode appearance on Disney Channel’s Phineas & Ferb in 2013. Where has Hawn been for the last decade? Why did she seemingly disappear from the public eye?
For those who don’t know, Hawn’s a legend in Hollywood, primarily because of her early comedic work. Coming of age in the 1960s, Hawn’s big break came on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In. She got to be wild, carefree, saucy, and in the process, American audiences got to know and love her. That predilection for carefree living through comedic circumstances would color her film career. With lead roles in Butterflies Are Free, The Sugarland Express and Foul Play, there was something about Hawn that just captivated us. She subverted stereotypes around “dumb blonde” characters.
She has played sexually progressive women (Shampoo), women with depth and quirk (Death Becomes Her), independent women (Wildcats) and mature yet messy types (The First Wives Club). Her coterie of characters created this image of Hawn as the palatable version and prototype of a manic pixie dream girl, one that was eminently watchable. Sure, Hawn hasn’t had the prolific acting output that other actors have had, but she has left an indelible mark on film, especially in the comedy arena. Where did she go?
While Hawn hasn’t publicly commented on why she’s swerved the acting arena for the better part of a decade, she hasn’t exactly been a hermit. I suppose the easiest and most likely answer for her long absence is that she wanted a break, damn it! And most likely, she wasn’t going to return to acting unless a good role came across her desk (which says something about Snatched, TBH). Perhaps the most logical answer for Hawn’s absence is that she’s getting older (she’s in her early 70s now). She has a big family, a thriving foundation, and her own private life that she wants to indulge in. This is all valid. This is all wonderful. This is absolutely what Hawn should and could be doing with her life. Hells bells, she can do what she wants, OK?
Hawn’s daughter, Kate Hudson, joked about her mother’s Instagramming habits back in 2016. In an interview with Jimmy Kimmel, Hudson could only sigh at the pure-hearted weirdness of the little videos and offbeat photos Hawn was posting. Is this aging comedian losing her knack for making a good joke just because she’s not doing it in a film? Apparently, the answer is “Hell no.” Hawn’s recent entry into the social media platform has been another way for us to stay connected to this woman who we’ve come to love over the years. She’s just as vibrant and goofy as we remember her, but it’s clear that she is enjoying life as a mother, grandmother and friend to the fullest extent these days.
Hawn also mentioned somewhat off-handedly in a press interview for Snatched that she’s been dedicating a lot of time recently to her foundation, The Hawn Foundation, and their MindUp initiative. On their website, The Hawn Foundation’s mission is outlined as “bring[ing] a solution to our children who were suffering from high levels of stress and who were completely lacking the skills to navigate in a complex world.” As a result of this mission, built on Hawn’s own desire to build a better world for children who are constantly facing a variety of seemingly insurmountable obstacles, the MindUp initiative is The Hawn Foundation’s signature program. MindUp teaches children mindfulness and awareness of a variety of psychological and social issues. According to the website, “[t]he skills and the mindfulness practices that we are teaching have helped our children improve learning and academic performance and learn valuable social and emotional skills that build personal resilience for a lifetime.”
Here’s what makes Hawn special and what makes her return to the public spotlight so special: She is truly unlike any actor of her generation or an actor working today. The great thing about her is that it’s easy to write her off, but that would be a mistake. She may appear to be a bubbly Hollywood blonde who moves breezily through the world, but if there’s one thing Hawn has taught us through her acting career, it’s that she lives boldly, chooses unexpectedly and finds the beauty in everything. She can’t be contained, guys! It’s been a long, long while since she’s been in a film, but she’s been living her best life for the last decade. She’s earned it, but it’s definitely good to have her back.