A Lotus Grows in the Mud

A Lotus Grows in the Mud

by Goldie Hawn, Wendy Holden


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Goldie Hawn's life is an ongoing tableau of stories, and she has a born knack for telling them. In this candid and insightful book, Goldie invites us to join her in a look back at the people, places, and events that have touched her. It is the spiritual journey of a heart in search of enlightenment.

With her trademark effervescent humor, Goldie tells us about the lessons she's learned and the wisdom she feels she's been given in the hope of giving something back. Not a Hollywood "tell-all," A Lotus Grows in the Mud is a very personal look at moments private and powerful: her delight in her father's spirited spontaneity; the confidence instilled in her by her mother; the unexpected gifts of comfort from strangers many miles from home; and the joy of being a daughter, a sister, a lover, and a parent. This memoir is Goldie's chance to talk about everything from anger and fear to love, compassion, integrity, and friendship, to the importance of family and the challenges of show business.

Goldie writes about her younger self -- the little girl who felt like an ugly duckling -- and growing up in suburbia dreaming of becoming a ballerina. She takes us on a tour of her go-go dancing years in New York in the sixties, her phenomenal success on TV's Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, and then on to the world of Hollywood stardom and such memorable films as the Oscar-winning Cactus Flower, Swing Shift, and Private Benjamin.

A Lotus Grows in the Mud speaks of her relationship with her family -- her partner, Kurt Russell; her children, Kate Hudson, Oliver Hudson, Wyatt Russell, and her stepson, Boston Russell -- her growing faith, her curiosity for that which she doesn't yet know, and her unquenchable thirst for knowledge and understanding. Most of all, it is a trip back through a life well lived by a woman well loved.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780399152856
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Publication date: 05/02/2005
Pages: 464
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.37(d)
Age Range: 14 Years

About the Author

Goldie Hawn is the founder of the Hawn Foundation as well as an international children’s advocate and enthusiastic campaigner for the mindful celebration of life. An Academy Award–winning actress, producer, and director, she is also a mother and grandmother. Her bestselling autobiography, A Lotus Grows in the Mud, was published in 2005.

Read an Excerpt

I waddle through the back lot of Paramount Studios, six months pregnant with my second child, Miss Katie. She kicks and rolls as I wend my way in the dark to the restaurant where I am meeting two young writers to discuss a possible new film project.

It is the winter of 1979. The air is cold and damp. I am tired. I gather my coat around my big belly as I approach this landmark eatery where the old ghosts of Hollywood hover and the new players meet, share ideas and gossip unceremoniously about one another.

I'm at the end of a long week spent on a dark looping stage, re-creating every word I spoke in my last film, Trip with Anita. I am sick of looking at myself day after day trying to make the words fit in my mouth as each scene moves along silently with just a click track in my headphones. Thank heavens it's almost over and I can just concentrate on having my second baby and returning to my so-called normal life for a while.

Maybe it's not too late to make my marriage work, I think to myself. Maybe if I spend less time working, doing films back-to-back, and more time at home with Daddy Bill and little Oliver, we'll be okay. If my new production company takes off, giving me a little more control over the movies I star in and can make for other people, then I can rein back a little.

I open the door to the restaurant and see Nancy Meyers and Charles Shyer sitting in a booth near the window. They are animated, energetic, inspired and full of youth. I like them immediately.

"Hey, thanks for coming all the way into Hollywood to meet with me," I say as I peel off my coat and slump heavily into the seat opposite them. "I've been looping all day on this film I did in Italy last year. They don't use sound over there. Go figure."

We laugh about the archaic way that that particular Italian director makes movies. The menu comes, and I order my weekly dose of liver while my companions jump right in explaining what they're up to.

"We've been working on this idea for a script and want to talk to you about it...to see if you and your company might be interested in helping us get it made. We'd like you to play the lead role."

I settle into my seat, ready and eager to hear.

"Okay, guys, shoot."

"It's a story of a spoiled Jewish girl named Judy Benjamin who joins the Army on an impulse after her husband drops dead on their wedding night," Nancy says.

"While making love," Charles chips in.

I laugh out loud. "Oh my God, that's funny. Really funny. Then what?"

"Well, of course, she's a fish out of water in the Army," Nancy continues. "She can't believe what she's done or how she's living. She can't wait to get out and go back to her comfortable life. But, guess what?"

"What?" I'm on the edge of my seat.

"When the chance finally comes, she decides to stay."

I laugh and laugh as they tell me the whole story. I can't believe what I'm hearing. The concept is so fresh, so brave and original. The female lead carries the whole movie, almost by herself. She embarks on a personal journey and becomes empowered and independent and strong. It couldn't be more different from my last movie.

I can feel a flutter of excitement in my belly that has nothing to do with my baby. This is a dream role for any actress. My fatigue melts away and my heart races at being asked to play one of the best characters I have ever been offered.

"What's the film called?" I ask Nancy and Charles.

"Private Benjamin," they reply.

Feeling the warmth of my baby resting on the tops of my thighs, I shift in my seat, wondering, praying Judy Benjamin will wait for me.

Finally, I pop the question. "When do you plan on shooting this?"

"We aren't sure yet. We want to write the script on spec first."

"Oh, I see." I nod. "You haven't even written it yet?"

They glance at each other. "No, that will take some time. And, anyway, we wanted to find out if you were available first. When's the baby due?"

"In three months. She'll be born at the end of April, actually." I stroke my belly, happy at the prospect.

Charles and Nancy nod to each other and smile knowingly. "Well, that would work out really well."

"Great!" I exhale, over the moon. "Then count me in."

After dinner, we hug and say our good-byes as we walk in opposite directions to our cars. It's late, but I'm no longer tired. Reaching my car, I turn. "Who do you have in mind to produce, by the way?"

"No one yet," they call back across the parking lot. "We were going to wait until the script is finished."

"Well, you know what?" I yell back in the dark. "Maybe we could do this ourselves. Maybe we don't need another voice in the mix right now."

"That's what we were thinking."

I lower myself into the front seat of my Mercedes and start up the engine. Heading for home, I wonder what on earth I'm letting myself in for.


Warner Brothers bravely agreed to go with our triad as the only producers attached to Private Benjamin. The executives were not only trusting that two women and a man could produce this film, they were also banking on a story about a woman going into the Army bringing a good financial return. The Hollywood film industry at that time was still controlled by men.

But none of us even thought of that as a problem or perceived any glass ceiling at the time. Not at Warner Brothers, anyway. Bob Shapiro, the head of production, loved this movie and what it had to say. He told us from the outset, "If I can't make this film, then I want to be first in line to see it." He was a source of such support during the usual obstacles all films come up against in the long process of production.

It was such an exciting time for all of us. We moved into our offices on the Warner Brothers lot and began to build the dream team that would, we hoped, bring this wonderful script to the silver screen. We needed everything from a director and cast to a cinematographer and set designer. We needed to look at actors and locations, costumes and line producers. All this just six months after I'd given birth to my perfect baby girl.

I drove joyfully to our offices almost every day, packing my tiny Kate in her little car seat, her bottles and cereal in my bag, along with a few rattles and toys and her fold-up playpen. Oliver was in preschool, and his nanny looked after him when I wasn't there. It was so great having Kate gurgling away in the office with us in the midst of the hustle and bustle of pre-production.

We found ourselves a wonderful director, Arthur Hiller, who had directed The In-Laws. For reasons I was never sure of he dropped out He was a good man, and there were no hard feelings. It was difficult, however, to find another director at that stage of pre-production. As fate would have it, we were crossing the streets of the back lot on our way to lunch one day when we ran into a friend of Nancy and Charles's: Howard Zeiff.

"Hey, Howard, what are you doing?" Charles asked.

"Nothing right now."

The three of us looked at each other and smiled. "Nothing? Really? How would you like to direct our new movie?"

So there goes another Hollywood story. Howard Zeiff became our new director.

Happy and fulfilled, my life seemed almost perfect. I only wished there were two of me: the Goldie who could continue to be successful at my work and live the life I loved outside the home, and the Goldie who could be at home cooking and enjoying the domestic side of life that I also cared so deeply about. I battled with myself over these two roles constantly, trying to balance both, but somewhere deep inside I knew that I couldn't win this one. There was never enough time in the day to accomplish my dream of having it all.

Sometimes I'd get home much later than I might have wished and was unable to meet everyone's demands for attention. Some nights I raced home just to bathe my babies and tuck them in bed. I knew that my marriage was suffering as a consequence. The struggle of juggling all this was an enormous burden to bear, and the guilt relentless. The icing on the cake was the slight chance that this film would be a great big fat success. But I also feared that possibility. I knew that if it was a success, my obstacles would only be harder to overcome. The pressures that would put on my already fragile marriage would be almost insurmountable in this business where one party always feels left out of the parade.

But I was on this fantasy ride at Disneyland and I couldn't jump off. For one thing it was way too much fun, and secondly, the train had already left the station.


The film was a bigger, fatter success than I could ever have imagined. Not only was it the great creative collaboration of my life but the most thrilling time in my professional career. The movie opened at the theatres with more acclaim than anyone expected, and the only name above the title was mine. There was no male star to carry the picture, as they say, as was usually the case. If ever I had suspected how life changing this movie would be for me, I could never have guessed how much.

Everybody suddenly wanted to interview me. I made the cover of Newsweek. I was touted as the Hollywood actress who broke the rules, broke box office expectations and trailblazed a new path for women, especially for actresses who wanted to produce films for themselves and for others.

I was happy but at the same time worried at this superinflated image the media seemed to have created of me. I wasn't the only producer on the film. Nancy and Charles did more, than I did. But because the media decided it would be so, I became the face of female power in Hollywood, even though Nancy is the one who has gone on to write, produce and direct huge box office hits like What Women Want and Something's Gotta Give, and Charles Shyer has directed many films since.

My marriage finally cracked under the pressure, and the double-edged sword of my supposed new power in Hollywood stuck in my side. I'd only feared what success could do to destabilize my home life, I hadn't considered the reaction within the industry. It was increasingly more difficult for me to be simply an actress for hire. I kept hearing things like, "But Goldie does her own films." Even though I met many wonderful, strong directors with great roles to offer, none of them hired me. I began getting a complex thinking that they didn't want to work with me, when, in truth, they just didn't want the baggage of "Goldie Hawn." This realization was so crushing to me.

There were several fallow periods that followed, and many times I looked back and felt the bittersweet sting of Private Benjamin. Of the films I have made since then, some I have produced and some I have not. I've worked alongside some very good directors and some not so good. I have been fearless in arguing points with studio heads I have felt strongly about. I have made some friends and I've made some enemies trying to help make my films be as good as they can be. Sometimes I was right to share my vision and sometimes I was wrong. My only hope was that a great collaboration would be sparked, and that ego and fear would be left outside the door.

But my passion and commitment to work was no longer tempered by the fear of not being liked. My tenacity and determination to be true to the person I had become was sacrosanct. I guess I came to know this about myself: for better or worse, I don't give up.

—from A Lotus Grows In the Mud by Goldie Hawn, Copyright © 2005 Goldie Hawn, published by G.P. Putnam's Sons, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., all rights reserved, reprinted with permission from the publisher.

Table of Contents


Be Careful What You Wish For
Growing Pains
First Steps
First Love
Life's Purpose
Trusting Men
Altered States
Life's Rewards
Fathers and Daughters
Embracing Strangers
Left-Handed Turns
Keeping the Flame
Removing Obstacles
Going Back
Empty Nest
Mothers and Daughters

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"In her surprising new memoir, Goldie Hawn talks about growing up geeky, stardom, raising kids, and loving Kurt." —People

"Genuinely interesting…startlingly frank." —Sunday Times (London)

"Down-to-earth charm... Hawn can be winsomely self-deprecating." —Washington Post Book World

"Compelling and easy to read... What comes through most strongly is kindness, generosity, her fondness for fellow performers and all those with whom she worked and devotion to family. The inherent goodness of Goldie glows incandescently." —Variety

"Goldie Hawn's personal look at an unusual journey to stardom…Fans will enjoy getting to know [Goldie] in this frank, reflective memoir." —BookPage

"Positively overflows with spiritual enlightenment." —Publishers Weekly

Customer Reviews

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A Lotus Grows in the Mud 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 47 reviews.
ArkansasgirlPW More than 1 year ago
Loved this book... Glad it was not a tell-all about Hollywood. She is a very good writer. You will not be disappointed in what Goldie has to say about her upbringing or how she feels about starting her career and her joys and mishaps along the way. She is a wonderful person who has given credit to all those around her for where she is today. She is a woman who wanted a career and family life as well, and she achieved it without sacrificing herself or her family.
JennGrrl More than 1 year ago
I have to admit that I didn't go into this with an open mind. I was very skeptical about this book, and wasn't so sure I would enjoy it. Boy, was I wrong. Most of us only know the Goldie Hawn that we see in movies, but this book delves so much deeper without getting too deep. If you're looking for something light, but enlightening and uplifting, this book is great. Goldie goes into the bad times in her life, without making you feel sorry, or pity her. She also describes the events of her life that have strengthened her faith, and made her into the happy go lucky woman we all believe she is. If you at all enjoy Goldie's work, or are just interested in her as a person, this would be a great book. Even if you arent' familiar, or doesn't particularly care for her work, it's still a great, uplifting story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really enjoyed reading this book. There is a light and beauty that I find very inspiring. Goldie's appreciation of peace, being happy, being true to one's self, adventure, optimism and seeing the goodness in life situations is wonderful. Her laughter is contagious. Just loved hanging out with Goldie through this book! Thank you Goldie!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Goldie has such great experiences to share with all her fans! I've always loved watching her on the big screen. I laughed & laughed at some of the stories she shared. And I loved hearing about her elephant experience. And helping little Juan.... what an awesome cause to give to! And there was other parts that made me cry. Goldie has had such awesome life with her family & the world. A lot of the book taught me different things about life and put things into a perspective that I never thought about. I'm so glad she shared it with all of us.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Goldie's story read by Goldie. Audio books don't get better than this. Many of us remember the seemingly irrepressible Goldie Hawn from her early 'Sock it to me'days on Rowan Martin's Laugh-In through her movie roles, Cactus Flower, Shampoo, Private Benjamin, right up until she carried home an Academy Award.. She's a generous, appealing actress - the same adjectives describe her writing. 'Each of us goes through transitions and transformations,' she says. 'The important thing is that we acknowledge them and learn from them. That is the idea behind the book. Not to tell my life story, but to speak openly and from the heart about episodes in my life in the hope of explaining how they changed my perception and how they helped me to look at the world more clearly.' This she does. She speaks of the good times and the bad - her excitement at being a part of a new CBS series and the childhood sexual assault she suffered in her own home by one of her sister's friends. 'Laugh-In' was, of course, an enormous boost to her career, and her relationship with Kurt Russell occupies a large part of her heart. Goldie, the pixie-like gamin is a mom, mother to Kate Hudson, Oliver Hudson, and Boston Russell. She speaks of the difficulties and the pleasures in watching Kate grow into her own person. Every mother can relate to the experience of 'letting go.' With appreciation she tells of the kindness shown her by many, and reflects on anger, love, compassion, and her Buddhist beliefs. This is, of course, Goldie's story until now. She says, 'Every day I ask myself, wondering aloud, `What does the future hold for you now, Goldie Hawn?' And the best thing of all is, I just don't know.' If her future is anything like her past, she will learn, experience and see a great deal more. Let's hope she shares it with us. - Gail Cooke
Guest More than 1 year ago
I ordered this book before publication, received it and read it in less than 2 days. Goldie is such a great person, so intelligent, so interesting and responsible and generous with her celebrity. I couldn't put her book down. Goldie has allowed us to relive her special life moments with people that touched her life and influenced her. This book is not a tell all, it is about some special people in her life and how they affected her, including everyday people who brought meaning her to life. I respect Goldie's ability to write a book that allows the reader insight into her incredible life while simultaneously respecting the privacy of her family and loved ones. Brilliantly written, parts made me laugh and cry. This is an outstanding accomplishment for any author. Goldie is multi talented as any reader will discover.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A lovely, uplifting read. Truly enjoyable and thought-provoking.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This memoir is an enjoyable journey through Goldie’s early childhood and adult life. Honest without being cruel or gossiping Goldie describes her viewpoint and struggles. A little preachy at times, overall a nice read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book about how she handles life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Truly unexpected & wonderful! I highly recommend reading it slowly, taking it all in carefully! Thank you, Goldie!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A wonderful read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A bit dull
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Too preachy for me. I rolled my eyes a lot during this book. Not sure why celebs think they have anything important to say. Wish I didn't waste my money.
Rena14 More than 1 year ago
I randomly picked up this book not knowing much about Goldie Hawn but heard good reviews. I was shocked; this book was so inspirational and amazing. The way it's written makes you feel like you know Goldie Hawn personally. She is very down to earth and her inspirational stories and adventures make for a very consuming read. I have kept this book in my library and continue to read it over and over again.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What a fantastic book! Goldie writes from the heart.I especially found the beautifully detailed trips, especially to India so inspiring. The Operation Smile charter was so touching. I enjoyed reading about her childhood and family. This book was one of the best that I have read in a long time. I highly recommend this wonderful book to everyone. It will make you stop and think about life, family,and friends. Goldie will touch your heart and make you laugh at the same time. Like Goldie this book is truly delightful!
BoundTogetherForGood on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Starting today, my Amazon Associates widget is no longer working. When I start a new post, it doesn't automatically seed with the top selling items. If I highlight a name or title, it doesn't automatically transfer the information to the search box. I gave up and cut and pasted a photo of a book into my post. Thanks all.
gypsyhomebody on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
4 stars! Great auto-biography. I love her as an actress and as a Mom.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Goldie Hawn is one smart woman. I have enjoyed reading about her family growing up. She has had a lot of life experience. She is spiritual and thoughtful. Good stuff!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Some parts were a bit boring.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed her book. Gave us a look at the beauty behind that smile.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
arg71 More than 1 year ago
Really enjoyed this book.