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Phoebe Cates

Phoebe Cates at 81st Annual Academy Awards, February 22, 2009
Born Phoebe Belle Katz
July 16, 1963 (1963-07-16) (age 46)
New York City, U.S.A.
Years active 1981-2001
Spouse(s) Kevin Kline (1989-present)

Phoebe Cates (born July 16, 1963) is an American film actress and entrepreneur known for her roles in several teen films, most notably Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Gremlins.



Early life

Cates was born in New York City, New York, to a family of TV and Broadway production insiders. Her father Joseph Cates (originally Katz) was a major Broadway producer and a pioneering figure in television, who helped create The $64,000 Question.[1][2] Her uncle Gilbert Cates produced numerous TV specials, often in partnership with Cates' father, and several annual Academy Awards shows.[3] Her maternal grandfather was of Chinese/Filipino descent, and her father as well as her maternal grandmother were of Russian Jewish origin.[4]

Cates attended the Professional Children's School and the Juilliard School.[5] When she was ten, she wanted to become a dancer. She eventually got a scholarship to the School of American Ballet, but after suffering a serious knee injury at age 15, she gave up her dancing career.[6] She was next launched on a career as a professional model, which was shortlived as well.[6]

Acting career

After ending her modeling career, Cates decided to try acting.[6] Although her father was an actor as well, he wasn't enthusiastic about his daughter becoming an actress.[7] Cates' movie debut was in Paradise (released 1982, filmed March to May 1981).[8] At the age of 17 she played a starring role and did several fully nude scenes in the movie, which had a plot very similar to The Blue Lagoon. Cates regretted doing the movie and later said: "What I learned was never to do a movie like that again."[7]

Later in 1982, Cates starred in Fast Times at Ridgemont High which features "the most memorable bikini-drop in cinema history."[9] She was quoted saying that was the movie she had the most fun on filming.[7]

Her later film roles were more modest and largely oriented toward younger audiences, such as the two Gremlins films, and the 1991 film Drop Dead Fred. Her face made the covers of teen magazines such as Seventeen, Tiger Beat, Teen Beat and others. In 1985, Cates appeared Off-Broadway in Rich Relations written by David Henry Hwang at the Second Stage Theatre.[10] In 1994, she starred in the romantic comedy Princess Caraboo.

Personal life

In 1989, Cates married actor Kevin Kline 16 years her senior, whom she had originally met while auditioning for the part that Meg Tilly ultimately won in The Big Chill. Kline and Cates make their home in New York City and have two children, Owen Joseph Kline, born in 1991 (who, in 2005, received rave reviews for his performance in The Squid and the Whale), and Greta Simone Kline, born in 1994. Owen and Greta appeared in Cates' most recent film, The Anniversary Party (2001).

In 2005, Cates opened her own boutique called Blue Tree on New York's Madison Avenue.[11]


Cates and husband Kevin Kline at the Governor's Ball party after the 1989 Academy Awards, March 29, 1989


  1. ^ biography
  2. ^ NY Times article
  3. ^ Gilbert Cates Biography (1934-)
  4. ^ Phoebe Cates - Gossip Rocks!
  5. ^ Yahoo movies
  6. ^ a b c Cohen, D. & S. Young and Famous: Hollywood's Newest Superstars, 1987. p.75. ISBN: 0-671-63493-3
  7. ^ a b c Cohen, D. & S. Young and Famous: Hollywood's Newest Superstars, 1987. p.75. ISBN: 0-671-63493-3
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ Rolling Stone article
  10. ^ New York Times-Stage: 'Rich Relations'
  11. ^ ABC News (June 1, 2006): Perfect Gifts, According to Phoebe Cates: Former Teen Starlet Owns Upper East Side Gift Store

External links

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