Blythe Katherine Danner (born February 3, 1943) is a prolific two time Emmy-winning United States actor who has appeared in numerous theater, television, and film roles. She is perhaps best known for her roles as Marilyn Truman, mother of Will Truman in Will & Grace and as Dina Byrnes in Meet the Parents and Meet the Fockers. In the Hollywood celebrity scene, she may be best known as the mother of Gwyneth Paltrow.
Danner was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to a family of part Pennsylvania Dutch ancestry, the daughter of a bank executive. She has two brothers — opera singer/actor Harry Danner, and violin maker William Moennig (half-brother). She attended George School, a private Quaker secondary school in Newtown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and Bard College, where she graduated in 1965. She holds three honorary doctorates of fine arts from Bard_College, Williams College, and Hobart and William Smith Colleges.
Danner first appeared on stage with the Theater Company of Boston and the Trinity Square Repertory Company (now Trinity Repertory Company) in Providence, RI. 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. She went on to win a Tony Award in 1970 for her Broadway theatre debut in Butterflies Are Free, playing the role later portrayed by Goldie Hawn in the film adaptation. The same year she appeared in her first film role, in a television production of Dr. Cook's Garden. She also received Tony nominations in 1980 for the original Broadway production of Harold Pinter's Betrayal, in 1988 for a revival of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama A Streetcar Named Desire, and again in 2001 for a revival of Stephen Sondheim's Follies. Danner was a close friend of actor Christopher Reeve and appeared with him in several plays.
Due to Danner's WASPy appearance and husky voice, she most frequently is 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 1982 in the 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 in film) and in the title role of Lovin' Molly (1974 in film), directed by Sidney Lumet. She has appeared in two films based on the novels of Pat Conroy, The Great Santini (1979 in film) and The Prince of Tides (1991 in film), 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 role opposite Robert De Niro in the comedy hit Meet the Parents (2000 in film) and its 2004 in film sequel, Meet the Fockers (with Barbra Streisand and Dustin Hoffman). From 2004 to 2006 she starred in the TV series Huff (TV series). In July 2006, she received a second consecutive Emmy nomination for her work in the series and took home her second Emmy statuette for her portrayal of Izzie Huffstodt at the ceremony on August 27, 2006.
From 2001 to 2006, she regularly guest starred on Will & Grace as Will Truman mother Supporting characters on Will & Grace#Will's Family. 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 even poked fun at her during the ceremony, saying that Danner shouldn't be nervous because she's almost certain to win at least one Emmy. And indeed she did: Danner won Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (for Huff, and it was her first Emmy win) and thanked her daughter and late husband, among others. She said New Orleans (which had recently been devastated by Hurricane Katrina) was her husband's favorite city, and ended by paying tribute to "our sons and daughters in Iraq," followed by, "let's get the heck outta there!"
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 the Katharine Hepburn Medal, 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.
She is the mother of actress Gwyneth Paltrow and director Jake Paltrow, and is the widow of late producer Bruce Paltrow, who died from complications of pneunmonia while losing his battle with throat cancer in 2002. Danner first co-starred with her daughter in 1992 in the TV movie Cruel Doubt, then again in the 2003 in film Sylvia (2003 film), playing the mother of the title character, played by her daughter.
She is also the aunt of actresses Hillary Danner and Katherine Moennig, and 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 Awards for Best Actress (for Shakespeare in Love), and Danner was the first person Paltrow thanked, tearfully, followed by her father and grandfather, who were both ill with cancer and subsequently died.
In addition to her acting work, Blythe Danner has been involved in environmental issues such as recycling and conservation ethic for over 30 years, having seen firsthand the contrast between her rural youth and her later residence in Los Angeles, California and New York. She has been active with INFORM, 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, California and in retaining the New York, New York recycling program despite threatened budget cuts in 1991, has driven an electric car since the first General Motors Corporation 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. Blythe Danner recently announced that she plans to take up skydiving.
1776 (musical) (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) 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 film) (2003) Meet the Fockers (2004) The Last Kiss (2006) Walk Two Moons (2007)
Dr. Cook's Garden (1970) Columbo (1972) Adam's Rib (1973) F. Scott Fitzgerald and the Last of the Belles (1974) Inside the Third Reich (1982) Tattinger's (1988) Nick and Hillary (1989) Cruel Doubt (1992) Huff (2004) 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 M*A*S*H Columbo (1972)
The Miser (1968) Butterflies Are Free (1970) Betrayal (1980) A Streetcar Named Desire (1988) Blythe Spirit (1987) Follies (2001) Much Ado About Nothing
Courtesy of: http://www.wikipedia.org/