Born as Helen Schroeder, Kane attended St. Anselm’s Parochial School in the Bronx. She was the youngest of three children. Her German immigrant father, Louis Schroeder, was employed intermittently; her Irish immigrant mother, Ellen (Dixon) Schroeder, worked in a laundry. 
Kane's mother reluctantly paid $3 for her daughter's costume as a queen in Kane's first theatrical role at school. By the time she was 15 years, Kane was onstage professionally, touring the Orpheum Circuit with the Marx Brothers.
She spent the early 1920s trouping in vaudeville as a singer and kickline dancer with a theater engagement called the 'All Jazz Revue.' She played the New York Palace for the first time in 1921. Her Broadway days started there as well with the Stars of the Future (1922-24, and a brief revival in early 1927). She also sang onstage in an early singing trio, The Hamilton Sisters and Fordyce.
Kane's roommate was Jessie Fordyce. Though the act might have become the Hamilton Sisters and Schroeder, Pearl Hamilton instead chose Fordyce to tour as a trio act "just to see what happens" at the end of a theatrical season.
The release dates of recordings 1 to 22 are derived from the cover notes of the CD Helen Kane - Great Original Performances - 1928 to 1930 (RPCD 323)These are actually recording dates!
In 1954, MGM records issued the last Helen Kane recordings as a 45-rpm Ep X1164 called "The Boop-Boop-A-Doop Girl!", orchestra directed by Leroy Holmes, and the songs are "When My Sugar Walks Down the Street", "When I Get You Alone Tonight, Do Something" (from Nothing But the Truth)and "That's My Weakness Now".
 Cult Following
As she took on the status of a singing sensation, there were Helen Kane dolls and Helen Kane look-alike contests, appearances on radio and in nightclubs. In late 1928 and early 1929 this cult following had reached its peak.
Kane's height (only 5 feet tall) and slightly plump figure attracted attention and fans. Her round face with big brown eyes was topped by black, curly hair; her voice was a baby squeak with a distinct Bronx dialect.
In mid-1929, Paramount Pictures signed Kane to make a series of musicals at a salary of $8,000 a year.
Her films were:
Nothing But the Truth (1929), a comedy starring Richard Dix
Sweetie (1929), a college musical, which starred Nancy Carroll and Stanley Smith
Pointed Heels (1929)
Paramount on Parade (1930)
Dangerous Nan McGrew (1930)
Heads Up! (1930)
A Lesson in Love (1931)
It should be noted that although Helen was not the "star" of most of her pictures she was so popular that in the case of "Sweetie", her name appeared over the title on the marquee when the movie premiered at the New York Paramount (although Nancy Carroll was the true star). Helen provided all the fun and she and Jack Oakie taught the college kids, "The Prep Step", a big hit along with "He's So Unusual". Another hit from this picture was Nancy Carroll's, "My Sweeter Than Sweet".
In the opening credits of Pointed Heels, Helen's name is equal with William Powell on the same line in large letters just below the title with Fay Wray and the rest in smaller letters underneath. She had equal billing with Buddy Rogers in Heads Up and it is their faces which appeared in all her films.
Fleischer v. Kane
In 1930, Fleischer Studios animator Grim Natwick introduced a caricature of Helen Kane, with droopy dog ears and a squeaky singing voice, in the Talkartoons cartoon Dizzy Dishes. "Betty Boop", as the character was later dubbed, soon became popular and the star of her own cartoons. In 1932, Betty Boop was changed into a human, the long dog ears long ears becoming hoop earrings.
That same year, Kane filed a $250,000 suit against Paramount and Max Fleischer, charging unfair competition and wrongful appropriation in the Betty Boop cartoons. The trial opened in April 1934 with Kane and Betty Boop films being viewed only by the judge. No jury was called. Ann Rotshchild (Little Ann Little), Kate Wright, Bonnie Poe, and most notably Mae Questel were all summoned to testify.
Two years later, the judge ruled against Kane, claiming her testimony did not prove that her singing style was unique and not an imitation itself (a little-known African American singer known as "Baby Esther" had been cited by the defence as "booping" in song).
With the hardships of the Great Depression biting, the flamboyant world of the flapper was over, and Kane's style began to date rapidly. After 1931 she lost the favour of the movie makers, who chose other singers for their films. She appeared in a stage production called Shady Lady in 1933, and made appearances at various nightclubs and theatres during the 1930s.
In 1950, she dubbed Debbie Reynolds, who performed "I Wanna Be Loved By You" in the MGM musical biopic of songwriters Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby: Three Little Words. She did not appear in the film's credits.
She appeared on several TV shows in the 1950s and 1960s, principally Toast of the Town, later known as The Ed Sullivan Show. Kane's final public appearance was on the Sullivan Show on St. Patrick's Day 1965.
In addition, she was given overdue tribute in the early 1950s on This is Your Life with Ralph Edwards. It brought a tearful reunion with Helen's old friend, actress Fifi D'Orsay, and a lifelong fan who once sent her money when she was down on her luck. Renewed interest in Helen brought her a one-record contract with MGM Records and appearances on I've Got a Secret and You Asked for It. She sang on all of these TV shows.
In 1924 Kane married department store buyer Joseph Kane and took his last name professionally. The marriage was ended by divorce in 1928. In 1933 she married an actor, Max Hoffman Jr. They divorced after just two years.
In 1939 she married Dan Healy, whom she had worked with in the Good Boy in 1928. They opened a restaurant in New York City, "Healy's Grill". She remained married to Healy for the rest of her life; however, the marriage was childless.
Helen Kane battled breast cancer for more than a decade. She had surgery in 1956 and eventually received two hundred radiation treatments as an outpatient at Memorial Hospital.
She died on September 26, 1966 at age 62, in her apartment in Jackson Heights, Queens (New York City). Her husband of 27 years was at her bedside. Her remains were buried in the Long Island National Cemetery.