Blythe Danner

Blythe Danner

Infobox actor

imagesize =
caption =
birthdate = birth date and age|1943|2|3
birthplace = Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
birthname = Blythe Katharine Danner
spouse = Bruce Paltrow (1969-2002)
emmyawards = Supporting Actress - Drama Series
2005, 2006 "Huff"
tonyawards = Best Featured Actress in a Play
1970 "Butterflies Are Free"
awards = Saturn Award for Best Actress (film)
1977 "Futureworld"

Blythe Katharine Danner (born February 3, 1943) is an American Emmy- and Tony Award-winning actress. She is the mother of actress Gwyneth Paltrow.


Early life

Danner was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Katharine and Harry Earl Danner, a bank executive. [ [ Blythe Danner Biography (1944?-) ] ] 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. [ [ Library ] ]


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". Danner was a close friend of actor Christopher Reeve and appeared with him in several plays.

With her WASPy appearance and husky voice, Danner has most frequently been cast as a middle class or upper class wife, or more lately, matriarch; although in 1986 in "Brighton Beach Memoirs", she portrayed a middle-aged Jewish woman, 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.] and in the title role of "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'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. [ [ Bryn Mawr College - Katharine Houghton Hepburn Center ] ]

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, having seen firsthand the contrast between her rural youth and her later residence in Los Angeles and New York. 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, [ [ Oral Cancer Foundation 2007 ] ] 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.

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 Paltrow thanked, tearfully, followed by her father and grandfather.


;Emmy Awards
*Supporting Actress - Drama Series
2005 "Huff"
2006 "Huff"

;Tony Awards
*Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play
1970 "Butterflies Are Free"



* "1776" (1972)
* "To Kill a Clown" (1972)
* "Lovin' Molly" (1974)
* "Hearts of the West" (1975)
* "Futureworld" (1976)
* "The Great Santini" (1979)
* "Man, Woman and Child" (1983)
* "The Miracle Continues" (1984) as Anne Sullivan
* "Brighton Beach Memoirs" (1986)
* "Another Woman" (1988)
* "Judgement HBO" (1990)
* "Alice" (1990)
* "Mr. and Mrs. Bridge" (1990)
* "The Prince of Tides" (1991)
* "Husbands and Wives" (1992)
* "To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar" (1995)
* "Homage" (1995)
* "The Myth of Fingerprints" (1997)
* "Mad City" (1997)
* "The Farmhouse" (1998)
* "The Proposition" (1998)
* "No Looking Back" (1998)
* "The X-Files" (1998)
* "Forces of Nature" (1999)
* "The Love Letter" (1999)
* "Meet the Parents" (2000)
* "The Invisible Circus" (2001)
* "3 Days of Rain" (2002)
* "The Quality of Light" (2003)
* "Sylvia" (2003)
* "Meet the Fockers" (2004)
* "Howl's Moving Castle" (2004)
* "The Last Kiss" (2006)
* "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2" (2008)
* "Waiting For Forever" (2009)


* "Dr. Cook's Garden" (1970)
* "Columbo" (1972)
* "Adam's Rib" (1973)
* "F. Scott Fitzgerald and the Last of the Belles" (1974)
* "M* A* S* H" episode #94, "The More I See You" (aired 2-10-1976)
* "Saturday Night Live" (March 27, 1982)
* "Inside the Third Reich" (1982)
* "Tattinger's" (1988)
* "Nick and Hillary" (1989)
* "Cruel Doubt" (1992)
* "Huff" (2004-2006)
* "St. Elsewhere"
* "Presidio Med"
* "Will & Grace" (in a recurring role as Will Truman's mother, Marilyn)
* "The Seagull"
* "Candida"
* "A Call to Remember"
* "Saint Maybe"
* "We Were the Mulvaneys"
* "Back When We Were Grownups" (2004)
* "Pretty/Handsome" (2008)


* The Miser (1968)
* Butterflies Are Free (1970)
* Betrayal (1980)
* A Streetcar Named Desire (1988)
* Blythe Spirit (1987)
* Follies (2001)
* Much Ado About Nothing
* Suddenly Last Summer (2006)


External links

* [ Stage biography] from "Playbill" website
* [ 2003 article] from the Environmental Media Association


* Blythe Danner interview: [ Leading Ladies] Working in the Theatre video from American Theatre Wing, December 2006
* [ Working in the Theatre: Performance] video seminar at American Theatre Wing, April 1998
* [ Working in the Theatre: Performance] video seminar at American Theatre Wing, April 1988

NAME= Danner, Blythe
ALTERNATIVE NAMES= Danner, Blythe Katharine
DATE OF BIRTH= 1943-2-3
PLACE OF BIRTH= Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

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