Born in Washington, D.C. as the daughter of a band musician father and dance-school owner mother, Goldie is a direct descendant of Edward Rutledge, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. She was raised in Takoma Park, Maryland and became a dancer at a young age and was running a ballet school while still a teen-ager.
She dropped out of American University, where she was studying drama in 1964, to dance in a production of Can-Can at the New York World's Fair.
She appeared as a radio DJ's dumb blonde girlfriend on the short-lived sitcom "Good Morning, World" in 1967-68, before she was hired on "Laugh In."
Legendary filmmaker Billy Wilder saw her on "Laugh In" and convinced the producers of "Catcus Flower" to cast her as Walter Matthau's daffy mistress because he believed that Goldie was going to be a star. That movie was her film debut and she won an Academy Award for Best Suporting Actress.
She proceeded to star in and produce films such as "The Sugarland Express," "Shampoo," "Private Benjamin," and "Wildcats," among others, and was nominated for another Oscar.