When mom's a movie star, the kids are likely to follow
When mom is a movie star, there's a better-than-average chance the kids may also turn to an entertainment career. If she isn't in showbiz, her acting child can sometimes persuade her to go before the cameras. Here's a sampling of cinematic family teamwork in honor of Mother's Day:
Catherine Scorsese, Mother of Director Martin Scorsese
When she wasn't cooking for the cast and crew on the set of one her son's movies, she was cooking on screen. In Martin Scorsese's Goodfellas (1990), Catherine Scorsese plays Tommy's mother, who feeds her son and the other good fellas pasta after their hard night of murder and mayhem. (Elsewhere in the movie, Scorsese's father plays Vinnie, the prisoner who puts too many onions in the tomato sauce).
Catherine, who died in 1997, appeared in many other Scorsese films, including Cape Fear (1991) and Casino (1995).
She also put in her two cents as part of the movie-viewing public, and criticized aspects of her son's films that might call his upbringing into question. Scorsese's film Mean Streets (1973), which is riddled with tough guys and obscenities, has the f-word running through it like a mantra.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Scorsese recalled that "People came over to my parents' house after the screening. Everyone was saying how much they liked the film. And my mother said, 'I just want you to know, we never use that word in the house!'"
Estelle Reiner, Mother of Actor and Director Rob Reiner
In Rob Reiner's When Harry Met Sally... (1989), Estelle Reiner plays the elderly female who delivers one of film's all-time great one liners—"I'll have what she's having"—after Sally's faked public orgasm.
Frances Bergen, Mother of Actress Candice Bergen
Candice Bergen is often associated with her father, the ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and his dummy side kick, Charlie McCarthy, who was treated as part of the family (sibling rivalry between Candice and the wooden smart aleck was intense).
Less known is the fact that her mother, actress Frances Bergen, was also in showbiz, and appeared together with Candice: in Rich and Famous (1981), the television miniseries Hollywood Wives, (1985) and the sitcom Murphy Brown (1990), in which Candice played the title character. Frances was on the series-ending episode of Murphy Brown in 1998.
- Rachel Kempson, Mother of Actor Corin Redgrave and Actresses Vanessa and Lynn Redgrave
- Vanessa Redgrave, Mother of Actressses Joely and Natasha Richardson
In The Charge of the Light Brigade (1968) there are Redgraves galore—three generations in fact. Rachel Kempson joins her two children, Corin and Vanessa. And Joely Richardson, who is the daughter of Vanessa and the film's director, Tony Richardson, plays an extra.
Vanessa Redgrave and daughter Joely tried it again in Wetherby (1985)—Joely played her mother's character as a young woman. The mother/daughter connections continued in 1998, with Matriarch Rachel Kempson and Vanessa appearing in a performance of Chekhov adaptations in Springfield, Massachusetts.
We may find these connections fascinating (once we diagram a genealogy chart to keep it all straight), but the Redgraves couldn't be more blasé about it. In a 1998 Boston Globe interview, Vanessa groused, "We never think, 'Goodness me, wouldn't it be a great thing if we all acted together.' I don't see why it would be such a great thing... That may sound churlish, but we're not intrigued by it, even though we all admire each other very, very much as artists."
Phyllida Law, Mother of Actresses Emma and Sophie Thompson
Phyllida Law and Emma Thompson obviously like working together: In The Winter Guest (1997) and in the 1994 TV movie The Blue Boy, they played mother and daughter. They were also in Much Ado About Nothing (1993), and Peter's Friends (1992). Sophie Thompson joined mom and big sister, Emma, in Thompson, a 1988 British TV series.
Ingrid Bergman, Mother of Actress Isabella Rossellini
Ingrid Bergman, the legendary actress of Casablanca (1942) and Notorious (1946), is the mother of model and actress Isabella Rossellini. The fact that they are mother and daughter—and both breathtakingly beautiful—has received considerable publicity, but what is not so well known is that they have also acted together—in A Matter of Time (1976).
Diane Ladd, Mother of actress Laura Dern
In Citizen Ruth (1996) Laura Dern took the role of a drug-abusing pregnant woman caught in the middle of a pro-life/pro-choice struggle and Diane Ladd played her mother. Mother and daughter are old hands at working together—they were both in the 1974 movie, Alice Doesn't Live Her Anymore, as well as Rambling Rose (1991) and Wild at Heart (1990).
Blythe Danner, Mother of Actress Gwyneth Paltrow
Although better known for her stage work, Gwyneth Paltrow's mother Blythe Danner has been making movies since the early 1970s and was seen in The X-Files: Fight the Future (1998). Mother and daughter joined forces only once, in the 1992 TV movie Cruel Doubt.
Sharon Costner, Mother of Actor and Director Kevin Costner
Kevin Costner sometimes uses his three children in his movies, so when a scene in Tin Cup called for a grandmother, grandfather, and grandchild, his own mother, Sharon Costner, his father Bill, and his son, Joe, were naturals for the roles.
Jill Clayburgh, Mother of Actress Lily Rabe
Jill Clayburgh received Academy Award nominations for her roles in An Unmarried Woman and Starting Over. In 1979, she married playwright David Rabe. They had one son, Michael Rabe, and one daughter, actress, Lily Rabe. Before her marriage, Clayburgh dated actor Al Pacino for five years. In 2010, Lily Rabe starred opposite Pacino on Broadway in The Merchant of Venice and received glowing reviews. She has also appeared in films such as Letters from the Big Man and All Good Things, as well as the first three seasons of television's American Horror Story. In 2001, she appeared with her mother in the film Never Again. With roles on stage, television, and film, Lily Rabe is making a name for herself.
Meryl Streep, Mother of Actresses Mamie and Grace Gummer
Everyone knows Meryl Streep as one of the most talented actresses in the world and for good reason. She has received a record-breaking 18 Academy Award nominations, winning three. In 2011, she became the youngest actor ever to win the Kennedy Center Honor and, in 2010, President Obama awarded her the National Medal of Arts. However, Meryl Streep is more than a multi-award winning actor. She is also a mother of four children. Two of her children, Mamie Gummer and Grace Gummer are actresses.
Daughter Mamie first appeared on screen with her mother in the film Heartburn. She was just 20 months old at the time and was credited as Natalie Stern to avoid press as Meryl Streep's daughter. Later on in 2007, Mamie starred again with her mother in the film Evening. In that movie, she played her mother as a younger woman. Mamie has appeared on stage and on TV in the HBO mini-series John Adams. She currently has as a reoccurring role on the hit TV show The Good Wife
In 2008, Mamie's younger sister, Grace made her stage debut in The Sexual Neuroses of Our Parents. That same year she starred on the TV TeenNick show, Gigantic and in the film Meskada. Since then she's appeared in the film Larry Crowne with Julia Roberts, the indie movie Frances Ha, and on the TV series Smash.
About the author