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Blythe Danner

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Also Known As: Blythe Katharine Danner Died:
Born: February 3, 1943 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA Profession: actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Genteel actress Blythe Danner earned her reputation as one of the more accomplished performers in film and on stage and television over the course of an exceptional career. Early in her career, Danner became a Broadway sensation with her Tony Award-winning performance in "Butterflies Are Free" (1969). Screen work in smaller films like the off-beat comedy "Hearts of the West" (1975) soon led to the actress earning widespread critical acclaim for performances in such television projects as "Too Far to Go" (NBC, 1979). Although consistently cast in the roles of wives and mothers, Danner deftly made each character her own in films as diverse as the adaptation of Neil Simon's "Brighton Beach Memoirs" (1986) and the Barbara Streisand-helmed drama, "The Prince of Tides" (1991). Some three decades into her career, Danner - now known to young fans as the mother of Oscar-winning daughter Gwyneth Paltrow - scored her biggest movie hit with "Meet the Parents" (2000) and its popular sequels, in which she played Robert De Niro's understanding wife. In 2002, her own life was dealt a devastating blow with the sudden death of producer-director Bruce Paltrow, her husband of more than 30 years. A pillar of strength,...

Genteel actress Blythe Danner earned her reputation as one of the more accomplished performers in film and on stage and television over the course of an exceptional career. Early in her career, Danner became a Broadway sensation with her Tony Award-winning performance in "Butterflies Are Free" (1969). Screen work in smaller films like the off-beat comedy "Hearts of the West" (1975) soon led to the actress earning widespread critical acclaim for performances in such television projects as "Too Far to Go" (NBC, 1979). Although consistently cast in the roles of wives and mothers, Danner deftly made each character her own in films as diverse as the adaptation of Neil Simon's "Brighton Beach Memoirs" (1986) and the Barbara Streisand-helmed drama, "The Prince of Tides" (1991). Some three decades into her career, Danner - now known to young fans as the mother of Oscar-winning daughter Gwyneth Paltrow - scored her biggest movie hit with "Meet the Parents" (2000) and its popular sequels, in which she played Robert De Niro's understanding wife. In 2002, her own life was dealt a devastating blow with the sudden death of producer-director Bruce Paltrow, her husband of more than 30 years. A pillar of strength, Danner carried on, exhibiting impressive comedic skill with her recurring roles on the series "Will & Grace" (NBC, 1998-2006) and "Huff" (Showtime, 2004-06). While never having the marquee name recognition enjoyed by some of her contemporaries, the elegant Danner nonetheless remained one of the most respected working actresses of her generation.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Tumbledown (2014)
2.
3.
 Detachment (2011)
4.
 Paul (2011)
5.
6.
7.
 Little Fockers (2010)
8.
10.
 Stolen (2006)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Sang soprano with a jazz group at Baggy Pants in Stowe, VT
1965:
Professional stage debut as Laura in "The Glass Menagerie"
1965:
Spent one season as a member of the Theatre Company of Boston
1966:
NYC debut in the Off-Broadway play, "The Infantry"
1967:
Acted with Trinity Square Repertory Company (now Trinity Repertory Company) in Providence, RI
1967:
Was cast in first Broadway show, the musical "Mata Hari"; show closed during out-of-town tryout
:
Garnered attention for her performance in the Lincoln Center productions of "Summertree" (1968) and "The Miser" (1969)
1968:
Made TV debut in an episode of "N.Y.P.D." (ABC)
1969:
Had breakthrough stage role as the kooky, sexually liberated teenage divorcee Jill Tanner in "Butterflies Are Free"
1970:
Had a supporting role in the NBC production of the Broadway musical "George M!"
1971:
Played featured role in the ABC TV-movie, "Dr. Cook's Garden"
1972:
Made feature acting debut in "To Kill a Clown," co-starring Alan Alda
1972:
Portrayed Martha Jefferson in the movie version of "1776"
1972:
Played a jilted wife opposite Peter Falk and John Cassavetes on an episode of "Columbo" (NBC)
1973:
Cast as Amanda on the short-lived ABC sitcom "Adam's Rib"
1974:
Played a woman who comes between two friends in "Lovin' Molly"
1974:
Portrayed Zelda to Richard Chamberlain's F. Scott Fitzgerald in "F. Scott Fitzgerald and The Last of the Belles'" (ABC)
1974:
Began on-going association with the Williamstown Theatre Festival
1975:
Teamed with Frank Langella in the Williamstown production of Tennessee Williams' "Eccentricities of a Nightingale"; production filmed and aired on "Theater in America"
1975:
Played the leading lady to Jeff Bridges in "Hearts of the West"
1976:
Re-teamed with Alan Alda for a memorable episode of "M*A*S*H*" (CBS)
1977:
Portrayed Elizabeth Custer in "The Court-Martial of General George Armstrong Custer" (ABC)
1978:
Earned critical praise as Eleanor Gehrig in "A Love Affair: The Eleanor and Lou Gehrig Story" (NBC)
1979:
Delivered a strong turn as the devoted wife of a military officer in "The Great Santini"
1980:
Returned to Broadway appearing alongside Raul Julia and Roy Scheider in Harold Pinter's "Betrayal"; earned a Tony nomination
1980:
Starred in the Lincoln Center revival of "The Philadelphia Story"
1982:
Portrayed the wife of German architect Albert Speer in the ABC miniseries "Inside the Third Reich"
1984:
Made guest appearance on an episode of "St. Elsewhere" (NBC)
1985:
Played the wife of a philandering attorney (Anthony Hopkins) who was plotting to kill her in "Guilty Conscience" (CBS)
1986:
Played the matriarch of a Jewish family in the film version of Neil Simon's "Brighton Beach Memoirs"
1987:
Co-starred with Richard Chamberlain and Judith Ivey in a revival of Noel Coward's "Blithe Spirit"
1988:
Earned a Tony nomination as Blanche Du Bois in a stage revival of "A Streetcar Named Desire"
1988:
Played the co-owner of a NYC restaurant on the short-lived NBC drama, "Tattinger's"; series was retooled as an NBC sitcom called "Nick & Hillary," which lasted only a handful of episodes
1988:
Appeared in Woody Allen's "Another Woman"
1990:
Cast as the mother of a child molested by a priest in the HBO drama "Judgment"
1990:
Co-starred with Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward in "Mr. & Mrs. Bridge"
1990:
Second film with Woody Allen, "Alice"
1991:
Acted alongside daughter Gwyneth Paltrow in the Williamstown production of "Picnic"
1991:
Portrayed Nick Nolte's wife in "The Prince of Tides"
1992:
Re-teamed with daughter Gwyneth Paltrow in the NBC miniseries "Cruel Doubt"
1992:
Played Juliette Lewis' mother in Woody Allen's "Husbands and Wives"
1994:
Portrayed Arkadina in Williamstown production of "The Seagull" with daughter Gwyneth Paltrow as Nina
1995:
Appeared Off-Broadway in A. R. Gurney's "Sylvia"
1997:
Portrayed the matriarch of a troubled family in "The Myth of Fingerprints"
1997:
Voiced Martha Jefferson in Ken Burns' PBS documentary "Thomas Jefferson"
1998:
Hosted "Sophisticated Ladies: Charleston and Savannah With Blythe Danner" (PBS)
1999:
Played Kate Capshaw's mother in "The Love Letter"
1999:
Co-starred with Edward Herrmann in a staged reading of A. R. Gurney's "Ancestral Voices"
2000:
Cast as Robert De Niro's understanding wife in the comedy "Meet the Parents"
2001:
Played the mother of Cameron Diaz and Jordana Brewster in "The Invisible Circus"
2001:
Cast as Phyllis in the all-star Broadway revival of "Follies"; received a Tony nomination
2001:
Regularly appeared on NBC's "Will & Grace" as Will Truman's mother Marilyn; earned an Emmy nomination for Best Guest Actress in 2005 and 2006
2002:
Cast as Dr. Harriet Lanning on the short-lived CBS medical drama "Presidio Med"
2003:
Portrayed Sylvia Plath's mother opposite her real life daughter Gwyneth Paltrow in "Sylvia"
2004:
Starred as Hank Azaria's mother on the Showtime drama "Huff"
2004:
Reprised her role as Dina Byrnes for the comedy sequel, "Meet the Fockers"
2004:
Starred in the TV-movie "Back When We Were Grownups" (CBS); received Golden Globe and Emmy nominations for Best Actress
2006:
Co-starred in "The Last Kiss"; directed by Tony Goldwyn and scripted by Paul Haggis
2010:
Once again reprised the role of Dina Byrnes for the comedy sequel "Little Fockers"
2011:
Cast opposite Anna Faris in the romantic comedy "What's Your Number?"
2012:
Co-starred with Zac Efron in "The Lucky One," based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks
2012:
Cast in romantic comedy "Hello I Must Be Going," starring Melanie Lynskey
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

The George School: Bucks County , Pennsylvania -
Bard College: Annandale-on-Hudson , New York - 1965

Notes

Received an honorary DFA degree from Bard Collage in 1981.

"I've never been a very . . . secure actress." --Blythe Danner to Time Out New York, April 9-16. 1998.

On the success of her marriage to writer-producer-director Bruce Paltrow, Danner told Time Out New York (April 9-16, 1998): "Separation! Not the legal kind, of course. We joke about it all the time. The way our careers have gone, we've probably been together for only half of our marriage. Just when you're getting tired of the other person, you've got to go away. And when you come back, you're so thrilled to be together again.

"I don't mean to sound so flip about this, but I don't know if marriage is the most normal of states -- especially with temperamental people."

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Bruce Paltrow. Producer, writer. Married on December 14, 1969; died October 2, 2002 in Rome, Italy.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Harry Earl Danner. Bank executive. Born on March 31, 1907; died on June 10, 1981 at the age of 74.
mother:
Katherine Danner.
half-brother:
William H Moennig. Violin maker. Older.
brother:
Harry B Danner. Opera singer.
daughter:
Gwyneth Paltrow. Actor. Born on September 27, 1972; began acting as a teenager alongside mother at Williamstown Theatre Festival; won Oscar for lead in "Shakespeare in Love".
son:
Jake Paltrow. Director. Born on September 26, 1975.
niece:
Katherine Moennig. Actor. Born on December 19, 1976.
niece:
Hillary Danner. Actor.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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