Everyone is familiar with Carol Kane. But from where or from what do they remember her best? The actress has stolen scenes in so many films that you could have a room of twenty people and each person might choose a different title she's most memorable in. She's played so many types -- quiet and loud; cute and sexy and plain and creepy; young and very, very old -- it is amazing that she can sustain such easy recognition. Perhaps it is her tired, Bette Davis eyes. In a non-physical way, it is her distinct voice, of course, which people recall.
She held her own in early, small parts opposite Al Pacino, Woody Allen and Jack Nicholson before landing one of her few leading roles in the original When a Stranger Calls, where her ageless face allowed her to play her character as a teenager and an adult. She spent a season on the TV-show Taxi, though her presence was so huge it feels like she appeared throughout its five years. In My Blue Heaven, she had little to do, but she still left a mark with her swooning reception of one of the greatest pick up lines ever. She beat up Bill Murray with a toaster in Scrooged, called Billy Crystal a LIAR!!!! in The Princess Bride and most recently went AWOL on Vin Diesel in The Pacifier, leaving him alone to care for the film's children and deliver its comedy (he succeeds only in the former).
One film, a guilty pleasure of mine, for which Kane is not usually remembered, is License to Drive. Personally I think of her most fondly in that film, playing Corey Haim's pregnant mother. In fact, take out all those scenes with Corey and Corey, and you've got a great little maternity short starring her and Richard Masur. The role has a beautiful build-up, and it displays nearly all of Kane's traits and trademarks, allowing her to start out simple and finish with a tremendous bang.