02-03 Happy birthday to Blythe Danner, Born: February 3, 1943.
Blythe Katherine Danner is an American actress. She is known for her portrayal as Will Truman’s mother, Marilyn, in the sitcom Will & Grace and for her role in the 2000 comedy hit Meet the Parents, and its sequels, Meet the Fockers and Little Fockers. She is the mother of actress Gwyneth Paltrow and director Jake Paltrow.
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. 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 Pierce. She played lawyer Amanda Bonner in television’s Adam’s Rib, also opposite Ken Howard as Adam Bonner. She played Zelda Fitzgerald in F. Scott Fitzgerald and ‘The Last of the Belles’ (1974). 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.
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 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.
She was also in the movie The X-Files: Fight the Future.
In 2006, Danner was awarded an inaugural Katharine Hepburn Medal by Bryn Mawr College’s Katharine Houghton Hepburn Center.
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