Blythe Danner

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Blythe Danner
Blythe Danner - 1980.jpg
Danner in 1980
BornBlythe Katherine Danner
(1943-02-03) February 3, 1943 (age 70)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
OccupationActress
Years active1965–present
Spouse(s)Bruce Paltrow
(m. 1969–2002; his death)
ChildrenGwyneth Paltrow
Jake Paltrow
Emmy Awards
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
2005 Huff
2006 Huff
Tony Awards
Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play
1970 Butterflies Are Free
 
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Blythe Danner
Blythe Danner - 1980.jpg
Danner in 1980
BornBlythe Katherine Danner
(1943-02-03) February 3, 1943 (age 70)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
OccupationActress
Years active1965–present
Spouse(s)Bruce Paltrow
(m. 1969–2002; his death)
ChildrenGwyneth Paltrow
Jake Paltrow
Emmy Awards
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
2005 Huff
2006 Huff
Tony Awards
Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play
1970 Butterflies Are Free

Blythe Katherine Danner (born February 3, 1943) is an American actress. She is well-known to today's audiences for her portrayal as Will Truman's mother, Marilyn, on Will & Grace. She is the mother of actress Gwyneth Paltrow and director Jake Paltrow.

Early life[edit]

Danner was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Katharine (née Kile) and Harry Earl Danner, a bank executive.[1][2] She has a brother, opera singer/actor Harry Danner, a sister, performer-turned-director Dorothy (Dottie) Danner, and a half-brother, violin maker William Moennig. Danner is of part Pennsylvania Dutch ancestry, and one of her great-grandmothers was born in Barbados (a White Barbadian).[3][4]

Career[edit]

A graduate of Bard College, Danner's first roles included the 1967 musical Mata Hari (closed out of town), and the 1968 off-Broadway production, Summertree. Her early Broadway appearances included roles in Cyrano de Bergerac (1968) and The Miser (1969). She won a Best Supporting Actress Tony playing a free-spirited divorcee in Butterflies Are Free (1969).

In 1972, Danner portrayed Martha Jefferson opposite Ken Howard's Thomas Jefferson in the movie version of 1776. Also that same year, she played a cuckolded wife opposite Peter Falk and John Cassavetes in the Columbo episode "Etude in Black".

Her earliest starring film role was opposite Alan Alda in To Kill a Clown (1972). Danner appeared in the episode of M*A*S*H entitled "The More I See You", playing the love interest of Alda's character Hawkeye. She was lawyer Amanda Bonner in television's "Adam's Rib," also opposite Ken Howard as Adam Bonner. She played the role of Zelda Fitzgerald in The Last of the Belles (1974).[citation needed] She was the eponymous heroine in the film Lovin' Molly (1974) (directed by Sidney Lumet). She appeared in Futureworld, playing Tracy Ballard with co-star Peter Fonda (1976). In the 1982 TV movie Inside the Third Reich, she played the wife of Albert Speer. In the film version of Neil Simon's semi-autobiographical play Brighton Beach Memoirs (1986), she portrayed a middle-aged Jewish mother. She has appeared in two films based on the novels of Pat Conroy, The Great Santini (1979) and The Prince of Tides (1991), as well as two television movies adapted from books by Anne Tyler, Saint Maybe and Back When We Were Grownups, both for the Hallmark Hall of Fame.

Danner at the Metropolitan Opera opening, September 22, 2008

Danner appeared opposite Robert De Niro in the 2000 comedy hit Meet the Parents, and its sequels, Meet the Fockers and Little Fockers.

From 2001 to 2006, she regularly appeared on Will & Grace as Will Truman's mother Marilyn. From 2004 to 2006, she starred in the TV series Huff. In 2005, she was nominated for three Emmy Awards: for her work on Will & Grace, Huff and Back When We Were Grownups. Emmy host Ellen DeGeneres poked fun at Blythe Danner during the award ceremony, saying that Danner should not be nervous because she was almost certain to win at least one Emmy, which she did, for Huff. In July 2006, she won a second consecutive Emmy award for Huff. For 25 years, she has been a regular performer at the Williamstown Summer Theater Festival, where she also serves on the Board of Directors.[5]

In 2006, Danner was awarded an inaugural Katharine Hepburn Medal by Bryn Mawr College's Katharine Houghton Hepburn Center.[6]

Environmental activism[edit]

Danner has been involved in environmental issues such as recycling and conservation for over 30 years.[7] She has been active with INFORM, Inc., is on the Board of Environmental Advocates of New York and the Board of Directors of the Environmental Media Association,[8] and won the 2002 EMA Board of Directors Ongoing Commitment Award.[9] In 2011, Danner joined Moms Clean Air Force,[10] to help call on parents to join in the fight against toxic air pollution.

Health care activism[edit]

After the death of her husband Bruce Paltrow from oral cancer, she became involved with the Oral Cancer Foundation, a national 501(c)3 non profit charity.[11] In 2005, she filmed a public service announcement that played on TV stations around the country about the risks associated with oral cancer, and through that shared the personal pain associated with the loss of her husband publicly to further awareness of the disease and the need for early detection. She continues to donate her time to the foundation, and has appeared on morning talk shows, and has done interviews in high profile magazines such as People to further public awareness of the disease and its risk factors. Through The Bruce Paltrow Oral Cancer Fund, administered by the Oral Cancer Foundation, she continues to raise awareness and funding for oral cancer issues, particularly those involving communities in which disparities in health care exist.[12] She is now appearing in commercials for Prolia.

Personal life[edit]

Danner is the widow of producer/director Bruce Paltrow, who died from complications of pneumonia while battling oral cancer in 2002,[13] and the mother of actress Gwyneth Paltrow and director Jake Paltrow. Danner first co-starred with her daughter in 1992 in the TV movie Cruel Doubt and then again in the 2003 film Sylvia playing Aurelia Plath, mother to Gwyneth Paltrow's title role as Sylvia Plath.

Awards[edit]

Emmy Awards
Tony Awards
Other Awards

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

YearTitleRoleNotes
1972To Kill a ClownLily Frischer
19721776Martha Jefferson
1974Lovin' MollyMolly Taylor
1975Hearts of the WestMiss Trout
1976FutureworldTracy BallardSaturn Award for Best Actress
1979The Great SantiniLillian Meechum
1983Man, Woman and ChildSheila Beckwith
1984Guilty ConscienceLouise JamisonTelevision movie
1986Brighton Beach MemoirsKate
1988Another WomanLydia
1990Mr. and Mrs. BridgeGrace Barron
1990AliceDorothy
1991The Prince of TidesSally Wingo
1992Husbands and WivesRain's parent
1995NapoleonMother Dingo
1995HomageKatherine Samuel
1995To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie NewmarBeatrice
1997The Myth of FingerprintsLena
1997Mad CityMrs. Banks
1998The FarmhouseIrma Miller
1998The PropositionSyril Danning
1998No Looking BackClaudia's mom
1998The X-FilesJana Cassidy
1999Forces of NatureVirginia
1999The Love LetterLillian MacFarquhar
1999Things I Forgot to RememberMrs. Bradford
2000Meet the ParentsDina ByrnesNominated—Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Supporting Actress in a Comedy
2003The Quality of LightMary
2003Three Days of RainWoman in Cab
2003SylviaAurelia Plath
2004Howl's Moving CastleMadam Sulliman
2004Meet the FockersDina Byrnes
2006StolenIsabella Stewart Gardner
2006The Last KissAnnaNominated—Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
2008The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2Greta
2008Side by EachDaisy
2009Waiting for ForeverMiranda Twist
2009The LightkeepersMrs. Bascom
2010Little FockersDina Byrnes
2011PaulTara Walton
2011What's Your Number?Ava Darling
2011DetachmentMrs. Perkins
2012The Lucky OneEllie
2012Hello I Must Be GoingRuth

Television[edit]

YearTitleRoleNotes
1970George M!Agnes Nolan CohanTelevision movie
1971Dr. Cook's GardenJaney RauschTelevision movie
1972ColumboJanice BendictEpisode: "Etude in Black"
1973Adam's RibAmanda Bonner13 episodes
1974F. Scott Fitzgerald and The Last of the BellesZelda FitzgeraldTelevision movie
1974SidekicksPrudy JenkinsTelevision movie
1975Great PerformancesNinaEpisode: "The Seagull"
1976M*A*S*HCarlye Breslin WaltonEpisode: "The More I See You"
1976A Love Affair: The Eleanor and Lou Gehrig StoryEleanor GehrigTelevision movie
1976Great PerformancesAlma WinemillerEpisode: "Eccentricites of a Nightingale"
1978Are You in the House Alone?Anne OsbourneTelevision movie
1979Too Far to GoJoan Barlow MapleTelevision movie
1979You Can't Take It with YouAlice SycamoreTelevision movie
1982Inside the Third ReichMargarete SpeerTelevision movie
1983In Defense of KidsEllen WilcoxTelevision movie
1984Helen Keller: The Miracle ContinuesAnne SullivanTelevision movie
1988–1989TattingersHillary Tattinger13 episodes
1989Money, Power, MurderJeannieTelevision movie
1990JudgmentEmmeline GuitryTelevision movie
1992Getting Up and Going HomeLilyTelevision movie
1992Cruel DoubtBonnie Van SteinTelevision movie
1992Tales from the CryptMargaretEpisode: "Maniac at Large"
1992LincolnElizabeth Todd EdwardsTelevision movie
1993Tracey Ullman Takes On New YorkEleanor LevineTelevision movie
1993Great PerformancesNarratorEpisode: "The Maestros of Philladelphia"
1994Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells AllBianca HonicutTelevision movie
1994Leave of AbsenceElisaTelevision movie
1997Thomas JeffersonMartha JeffersonTelevision movie
1997A Call to RememberPaula TobiasTelevision movie
1998From the Earth to the MoonNarratorEpisode: "Le voyage dans la dune"
1998Saint MaybeBee BedloeTelevision movie
1998Murder She Purred: A Mrs. Murphy MysteryMrs. MurphyTelevision movie
2001–2006Will & GraceMarilyn Truman11 episodes
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series (2005–06)
2002We Were the MulvaneysCorinne MulvaneyTelevision movie
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
2002Presidio MedDr. Harriet Lanning3 episodes
2003Two and a Half MenEvelyn HarperEpisode: "Most Chicks Won't Eat Veal"
2004Back When We Were GrownupsRebecca Holmes DavitchTelevision movie
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
2004–2006HuffIsabelle Huffstodt25 episodes
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (2005–06)
2009MediumLouise LemingEpisode: "A Taste of Her Own Medicine"
2009Nurse JackieMaureen CooperEpisode: "Tiny Bubbles"
2011–2012Up All NightDr. Angie Chafin3 episodes

Theater work[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Blythe Danner Biography (1944?-)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved 2013-08-17. 
  2. ^ "Dan Gross: Gwynnie had no time for granny" April 28, 2011, Philly.com
  3. ^ Hughes, Mike (2004-11-20). "'Grownups' star finds role is a welcome distraction". Lansing State Journal. Retrieved 2010-12-17. [dead link]
  4. ^ "Hollywood celebrity finds family links in Barbados" March 31, 2011, Barbados Advocate
  5. ^ "Trustees". Williamstown Theatre Festival. Retrieved 2011-12-07. 
  6. ^ Danner wins medal at Bryn Mawr web sitw
  7. ^ "City Council Minutes". City of Santa Monica. 24 June 2003. Retrieved 2011-12-07. 
  8. ^ "Board of Directors". Environmental Media Association. Retrieved 2011-12-07. 
  9. ^ "12th Annual Environmental Media Awards". Environmental Media Association. Retrieved 2011-12-07. 
  10. ^ "Moms Clean Air Force". momscleanairforce.org. Retrieved Feb 28, 2012. 
  11. ^ "The Oral Cancer Foundation". Oral Cancer Fund. 7 December 2011. Retrieved 2011-12-07. 
  12. ^ "Bruce Paltrow Fund". Oral Cancer Fund. 7 December 2011. Retrieved 2011-12-07. 
  13. ^ "Bruce Paltrow Fund". OCF Inc. Retrieved 2012-12-20. 
  14. ^ Lucy Award, past recipients WIF web site Archived 20 August 2011 at WebCite

External links[edit]

Interviews[edit]