Born as Carolyn Laurie Kane on June 18, 1952, she is an American actress and comedian. Kane was born in Cleveland, Ohio. She is the daughter of Joy, a jazz singer, teacher, dancer and pianist and her father was Michael Kane. She grew up in a Jewish family and her grandparents had emigrated to United States from Russia. Her parents divorced when Kane was 12-years-old. She had attended the Cherry Lawn School, a progressive boarding school located in Darien, Connecticut, until the year 1965. She studied theatre at HB Studio and also attended the Professional Children’s School in New York City, and she debuted as a professional stage actress in a 1966 production of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, starring Tammy Grimes.
She gained prominence in the 1970s by appearing in films such as Hester Street (for which she also received an Oscar nomination) and Annie Hall. She made an appearance on the TV series Taxi in the early 1980s as Simka Gravas, the wife of Latka, the character that was played by Andy Kaufman. She won two Emmy Awards for her performance. She has also played the character of Madame Morrible in the musical Wicked, in the regional productions as well as on Broadway from the year 2005 to 2014. From 2015 until 2019, she appeared as a main cast member on the Netflix original series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt where she plays the role of Lillian Kaushtupper.
Kane is famous for her portrayal of the evil headmistress Madame Morrible in the Broadway musical Wicked, a role that she has played in a number of productions from 2005 to 2014.