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Saturday, 4 December, 1999, 01:30 GMT
Actress loses cancer battle
Madeline Kahn The actress had been battling the disease for more than a year

Madeline Kahn, an Oscar-nominated actress and comedian best known for her work in the films Paper Moon and Blazing Saddles, has died of ovarian cancer.

Ms Kahn, 57, first acknowledged her illness publicly last month, saying she was undergoing "aggressive treatment".

She is one of the most talented people that ever lived
Mel Brooks
Her husband John Hansbury said: "Madeline was a performer of brilliance and a loyal and trusted friend to everyone she encountered.

"While we mourn her passing, we celebrate a full and wonderful life."

Ms Kahn made her film debut in Kiss Me Kate in 1965.

She was nominated for best supporting actress Academy Awards two years in a row: for her portrayal of a floozy named Trixie Delight in the 1973 film Paper Moon and for her role as a saloon singer in Blazing Saddles, in 1974.

She won a Tony Award for best actress in 1993 with her role as ditsy Jewish matron Gorgeous Teitelbaum in The Sisters Rosensweig.

She was nominated for a Tony three other times: for In the Boom Boom Room in 1973; On the 20th Century in 1978; and Born Yesterday in 1989.

In addition to Blazing Saddles, Ms Kahn also appeared in Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein and High Anxiety.

She had most recently taken on the part of Pauline, a neighbour on the TV show Cosby.

She was born in Boston, and graduated from Hofstra University on Long Island on a drama scholarship.

She was also trained as an opera singer.

'Fighting spirit'

In Blazing Saddles, Ms Kahn used her classically trained voice in her amusing portrayal of a singer in the Wild West who helps Gene Wilder foil Brooks' evil plan to do away with the new sheriff in town.

"She is one of the most talented people that ever lived," Brooks once said.

"I mean, either in stand-up comedy, or acting, or whatever you want, you can't beat Madeline Kahn."

When announcing her battle with ovarian cancer, Ms. Kahn said she wanted her to inform others about the illness.

"It is my hope that I might raise awareness of this awful disease and hasten the day that an effective test can be discovered to give women a fighting chance to catch this cancer in its earliest stage," she said.
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See also:
04 Nov 99 |  Health
Cancer allergies 'possible'
27 May 99 |  Health
Scientists hail ovarian cancer breakthrough
09 Apr 99 |  Health
Ovarian screening 'could cut deaths'
24 Nov 98 |  Health
Ovarian cancer link to infertility probed

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