Life & Culture

Q&A: Carol Kane

In a career spanning five decades, Carol Kane has become one of the most recognizable faces on stage and screen. From her film roles in Annie Hall or The Princess Bride to beloved 80s TV series Taxi, she continues to dominate both big and small screens, featuring in Netflix series The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt while currently appearing in both The Dead Don’t Die with Bill Murray and Ghost Light with Cary Elwes.  On the eve of her 67th birthday, this fascinating New Yorker tells Senior Planet how she has never been more in demand:

Senior Planet:  Ghost Light is a fun romp about a drama troupe who lands in trouble after an actor unwittingly unleashes the curse surrounding Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Have you ever performed in Macbeth on stage? 

CAROL: Yes, with Christopher Walken and Joe Papp at The Lincoln Center a long time ago.  I was one of the witches.  

Senior Planet: Did anyone say word “Macbeth” out loud?

CAROL: No, we were all extremely superstitious. I’m not sure if young theatre people are still but, in those days, it was a very powerful superstition and there were all kinds of things you could do to take the curse away if you accidentally said it. 

Senior Planet: Do you have any superstitions of your own?

CAROL: When I was younger I had many but I’ve tried to shed most of them otherwise it can become a prison if you start letting your superstitions rule you. But I still wouldn’t say the name of the Scottish play. 

Senior Planet: Ghost Light reunites you with your Princess Bride alum Cary Elwes?

CAROL: Yes, Cary is a real doll so it was a treat to play with him again.  Oddly enough, we’ve all stayed in touch throughout the years. 

Senior Planet: Have you stayed in touch with many other co-stars?

CAROL: Definitely. Diane Keaton and I met before Annie Hall when we did a movie with our friend Kathryn Grody called Harry and Walter Go to New York [1976]. It was not a success but it’s where the three of us became friends and then later we did The Lemon Sisters together.

Senior Planet: Did you enjoy reuniting with your Scrooged co-star Bill Murray in Jim Jarmusch’s zombie flick, The Dead Don’t Die?

CAROL: Yes. It was a huge treat and Jim is one of the kindest, creative people around. I love that Jim rounds up ‘the players’. I’ve always wished to be one of them and now I am. I’d also worked with Adam [Driver] on Girls. Its nice to work with old friends.

Senior Planet: Are you still in touch with the original cast from Taxi?

CAROL: Those of us who are still alive, we see each other all the time. We are deeply connected and love each other. Even now Chris Lloyd and his wife have a place in my building and Danny [DeVito] has a place in an old apartment that I had. And Tony [Danza] has a place not far from me and we see Marilu [Henner] when she comes to new York. And Judd [Hirsch] I haven’t seen as much but I might get to work with him soon. I feel like I could have continued to do Taxi for the rest of my life. And of course we miss  Andy [Kaufman] so much.

Senior Planet: You all live near each other! What is the long-time draw of New York’s Upper West Side for you?

CAROL: I grew up here and really enjoy the spirit of New York. New Yorkers are real troupers and will trudge through the rain, snow and heat. I enjoy living in a mixed-race community;  being able to walk out my front door and be among an exciting landscape of people and art.

Senior Planet: You must get a thrill out of how busy you find your career today.

CAROL: There’s an upside and a downside to sticking around for such a long time. It wonderful that life keeps throwing you new challenges but there’s also the fact that you continuously have to confront your age. It’s a challenge to grow old anywhere and for everyone. But it’s tough to grow old in the public eye so, psychologically, I wrestle with that. I prefer growing old to the alternative.

Senior Planet: Conventional wisdom used to be that an actress’ career was over at 40?

CAROL: Yes, and I was one of those people whose career dried up at 40. I had real trouble getting work around that age but, as I’ve gotten older, and am now considered a character actress, there are more and more things that people want me to play now. I can’t figure it out but I’m grateful.

Senior Planet: Do you consider retirement?

CAROL: Oh, I consider it every four minutes! Not because I don’t want to work but because I still find it very stressful and put a lot of pressure on myself so, on any given day, I think: What am I doing?! Why don’t I just drift away? But I’m not going to do that because I love the community I work in. 

Senior Planet: What is the secret to aging with attitude?

CAROL: I don’t know if I have any secret. You get up, you get dressed and you show up!

Curious about Carol Kane’s newest film? Here’s a taste:

GHOST LIGHT TRAILER from John Stimpson on Vimeo.

Giant Pictures will release Ghost Light, a supernatural comedy, on June 18, 2019 on all digital platforms including iTunes, Amazon, Movies on Demand through local cable providers, plus DVD nationwide. The film will be presented in 4k HDR where available. Pre-orders are available on iTunes at:

PHOTO CREDIT: Terrence Hayes
PHOTO COURTESY of: Giant Pictures
Copyright; H9 Films 2019





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