Lainie Kazan was born Lainie Levine in Brooklyn, New York, to Carole (Kazan) and Ben Levine. She graduated from Hofstra University, in Hempstead, New York. Her film career began in Daytons Devils (1968), starring alongside Leslie Nielsen. Later, Lainie was nominated a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Supporting Role - Motion Picture for her performance in My Favorite Year (1982). Over the years, she made appearances as boisterous mother types. Notably in Beaches (1988), 29th Street (1991), and My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002).