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Blythe Danner

Danner at the Metropolitan Opera opening, September 22, 2008
Born Blythe Katharine Danner
February 3, 1943 (1943-02-03) (age 67)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Occupation Actress
Years active 1965–present
Spouse(s) Bruce Paltrow (1969-2002)

Blythe Katharine Danner (born February 3, 1943) is an American actress. She is the mother of actress Gwyneth Paltrow and director Jake Paltrow.

Contents

Early life

Danner was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Katharine and Harry Earl Danner, a bank executive.[1] She has two brothers: opera singer/actor Harry Danner and violin maker William Moennig (half-brother). Danner, of part Pennsylvania Dutch ancestry, attended George School, a private Quaker secondary school in Newtown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and Bard College, where she graduated in 1965.[citation needed]

Career

Danner first appeared on stage with the Theater Company of Boston and the Trinity Square Repertory Company (now Trinity Repertory Company) in Providence, Rhode Island. She first gained national attention at age 25 by winning the Theatre World Award for her performance in the Lincoln Center Rep's production of The Miser. In 1970, she appeared in her first film role, in a television production of Dr. Cook's Garden. She was the toast of Broadway when she created the adorable ingenue in Butterflies are Free for which she won a Tony Award in 1970 (a role Goldie Hawn played in the film).

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

In the film version of Neil Simon's semi-autobiographical play Brighton Beach Memoirs (1986) she portrayed a middle-aged Jewish mother, and in the 1982 TV movie Inside the Third Reich, she played the wife of Albert Speer. Her earliest starring film roles were opposite Alan Alda in To Kill a Clown (1972). Danner also 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 the eponymous heroine in the film Lovin' Molly (1974) (directed by Sidney Lumet). 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 is more recently known for her roles opposite Robert De Niro in the 2000 comedy hit Meet the Parents and its 2004 sequel, Meet the Fockers (with Barbra Streisand and Dustin Hoffman). From 2004 to 2006, she starred in the TV series Huff.

From 2001 to 2006, she regularly appeared on Will & Grace as Will Truman's mother Marilyn. 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.

In 2006, Danner was awarded an inaugural Katharine Hepburn Medal, alongside fellow honoree Lauren Bacall, which recognizes "women whose lives, work and contributions embody the intelligence, drive and independence of the four-time-Oscar-winning actress," by Bryn Mawr College's Katharine Houghton Hepburn Center.[2]

Environmental activism

In addition to her acting work, Blythe Danner has been involved in environmental issues such as recycling and conservation for over 30 years. She has been active with INFORM, Inc., is on the Board of Environmental Activists and the Board of Directors of the Environmental Media Association, and won the 2002 EMA Board of Directors Ongoing Commitment Award. She was instrumental in implementing curbside recycling in Santa Monica and in retaining the New York City recycling program despite threatened budget cuts in 1991, has driven an electric car since the first General Motors EV1 was available, and has installed solar panels at her house. In 2002 Danner, her husband Bruce Paltrow, and her daughter Gwyneth Paltrow worked together on a series of public service announcements encouraging use of alternative energy sources and alternative fuel vehicles.

Health care activism

After the passing of her husband Bruce Paltrow to oral cancer, she became involved with the Oral Cancer Foundation,[3] a national 501(c)3 non profit charity. 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.

Personal life

Danner is the widow of producer Bruce Paltrow, who died from complications of pneumonia while losing his battle with oral cancer in 2002, 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 mother to Gwyneth Paltrow's titular character.

She is also the aunt of actresses Hillary Danner and Katherine Moennig and is sister-in-law (through brother Harry) of opera director Dorothy Danner.

Additionally, she is mother-in-law to Coldplay frontman Chris Martin who married Gwyneth in 2003 and is grandmother to their two children; Apple Blythe Alison Martin and Moses Bruce Anthony Martin.

Although she has worked frequently on TV and on stage, Danner put her film career on hold for a number of years to raise her children. Danner often said the proudest night of her life was when Gwyneth won an Academy Award for Best Actress (for Shakespeare in Love) and Danner was the first person her daughter thanked, tearfully, followed by her father and grandfather.

Awards

Emmy Awards
Tony Awards

Filmography

Television work

Theater work

References

External links

Interviews








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