LAINIE KAZAN is a multi-award winner in film, television and on stage. Kazan began her career as Barbra Streisand’s understudy in the Broadway production of “Funny Girl.” She soon became the “chanteuse” of her native New York, appearing in nightclubs and as a guest on virtually every top variety and talk show on television. She appeared on “The Dean Martin Show” an unequalled 26 times, hosted her own variety special on NBC and partnered with Hugh Hefner to open the popular “Lainie’s Room” and “Lainie’s Room East” at the Los Angeles and New York Playboy Clubs.
Appearing at San Francisco’s Fairmont Hotel, Lainie attracted the attention of Francis Ford Coppola who offered her a role in “One from the Heart.” The following year, Kazan was nominated for a Golden Globe Award as “Best Supporting Actress” in Richard Benjamin’s “My Favorite Year” with Peter O’Toole. Her other films include “Lust in the Dust” “Delta Force”, “Beaches,” “The Cemetery Club,” “29th St.,” “The Associate,” “Love Is All There Is,” “The Big Hit,” “The Crew,” “What’s Cooking?,” “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” and “Don’t Mess With The Zohan.”
In 2015, Lainie appeared in the Adam Sandler film “Pixels” and she reprised her character of Maria Portokalos in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2” in March 2016.
She was nominated for an Emmy Award for “St. Elsewhere” and received a CableACE Award nomination for “The Paper Chase.” Kazan guest starred on “Will & Grace,” recurred on “The Nanny” and “Desperate Housewives” and she played Arthur’s main squeeze on “King of Queens.” She has appeared on “Modern Family” and on the Disney Channel series “Jessie.” Most recently she guest starred on “The Kominsky Method” and “Fuller House.”
Kazan received a Tony nomination for her role in the musical version of “My Favorite Year” at the Lincoln Center. She produced and starred on Broadway with Bette Midler, Madeline Kahn, Patti LuPone, Elaine Stritch and Andrea Martin in “Doin’ What Comes Natur’lly,” an all star tribute to Ethel Merman. As for her music career, Kazan has sung with the Boston Pops, the Cleveland Pops and performed to sold-out houses throughout Europe, Asia, Australia and the United States. She has performed in Las Vegas for over 25 years and at such venues as The Greek Theatre, Carnegie Hall and the hallowed stages of New York’s Rainbow and Stars. She is a frequent headliner at Feinstein’s in New York City and The Catalina Jazz Club in Los Angeles. A recording artist, her CDs include her jazz collections, “Lainie Kazan – In The Groove” and “Body and Soul.” She has recorded 5 albums under the MGM label and was awarded Best New Artist award in 1968.
Since 2012, she has been serving as an Adjunct Professor in the School of Theater, Film and Television at UCLA, teaching “Acting for the Singer” using the Great American Songbook.