Blythe Katherine Danner
February 3, 1943
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Alma mater||Bard College|
(m. 1969; died 2002)
|Relatives||Harry Danner (brother)|
Katherine Moennig (niece)
Blythe Katherine Danner (born February 3, 1943) is an American actress. Accolades she has received include two Primetime Emmy Awards for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her role as Izzy Huffstodt on Huff (2004–2006), and a Tony Award for Best Actress for her performance in Butterflies Are Free on Broadway (1969–1972). Danner was twice nominated for the Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for portraying Marilyn Truman on Will & Grace (2001–06; 2018–20), and the Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie for her roles in We Were the Mulvaneys (2002) and Back When We Were Grownups (2004). For the latter, she also received a Golden Globe Award nomination.
Danner played Dina Byrnes in Meet the Parents (2000) and its sequels Meet the Fockers (2004) and Little Fockers (2010). She has collaborated on several occasions with Woody Allen, appearing in three of his films: Another Woman (1988), Alice (1990), and Husbands and Wives (1992). Her other notable film credits include 1776 (1972), Hearts of the West (1975), The Great Santini (1979), Mr. and Mrs. Bridge (1990), The Prince of Tides (1991), To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar (1995), The Myth of Fingerprints (1997), The X-Files (1998), Forces of Nature (1999), The Love Letter (1999), The Last Kiss (2006), Paul (2011), Hello I Must Be Going (2012), I'll See You in My Dreams (2015), and What They Had (2018).
Danner is the sister of Harry Danner and the widow of Bruce Paltrow. She is the mother of actress Gwyneth Paltrow and director Jake Paltrow.
Danner was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Katharine (née Kile) and Harry Earl Danner, a bank executive. She has a brother, opera singer and actor Harry Danner; a sister, performer-turned-director Dorothy "Dottie" Danner; and a maternal half-brother, violin maker William Moennig III. Danner has Pennsylvania Dutch (German), and some English and Irish ancestry; her maternal grandmother was a German immigrant, and one of her paternal great-grandmothers was born in Barbados (to a family of European descent).
Danner graduated from George School, a Quaker high school located near Newtown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, in 1960.
A graduate of Bard College, Danner's first roles included the 1967 musical Mata Hari and the 1968 Off-Broadway production of Summertree. Her early Broadway appearances included Cyrano de Bergerac (1968) and her Theatre World Award-winning performance in The Miser (1969). She won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play for portraying a free-spirited divorcée in Butterflies Are Free (1970).
In 1972, Danner portrayed Martha Jefferson in the film version of 1776. That same year, she played the unknowing wife of a husband who committed murder, 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, 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.
Danner appeared opposite Robert De Niro in the 2000 comedy hit Meet the Parents, and its sequels, Meet the Fockers (2004) and Little Fockers (2010).
From 2001 to 2006, she regularly appeared on NBC's sitcom Will & Grace as Will Truman's mother Marilyn. From 2004 to 2006, she starred in the main cast of the comedy-drama series Huff. In 2005, she was nominated for three Primetime Emmy Awards for her work on Will & Grace, Huff, and the television film Back When We Were Grownups, winning for her role in Huff. The following year, 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 by Bryn Mawr College's Katharine Houghton Hepburn Center. In 2015, Danner was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame.
Danner has been involved in environmental issues such as recycling and conservation for over 30 years. She has been active with INFORM, Inc., is on the Board of Environmental Advocates of New York and the board of directors of the Environmental Media Association, and won the 2002 EMA Board of Directors Ongoing Commitment Award. In 2011, Danner joined Moms Clean Air Force, to help call on parents to join in the fight against toxic air pollution.
After the death of her husband Bruce Paltrow from oral cancer, she became involved with the nonprofit Oral Cancer Foundation. In 2005, she filmed a public service announcement to raise public awareness of the disease and the need for early detection. She has since appeared on morning talk shows and given interviews in such magazines as People. The Bruce Paltrow Oral Cancer Fund, administered by the Oral Cancer Foundation, raises funding for oral cancer research and treatment, with a particular focus on those communities in which healthcare disparities exist.
She has also appeared in commercials for Prolia, a brand of denosumab used in the treatment of osteoporosis.
Danner was married to producer and director Bruce Paltrow, who died of oral cancer in 2002. She and Paltrow had two children together, actress Gwyneth Paltrow and director Jake Paltrow.
Danner's niece is the actress Katherine Moennig, the daughter of her maternal half-brother William.
Danner co-starred with her daughter in the 1992 television film Cruel Doubt and again in the 2003 film Sylvia, in which she portrayed Aurelia Plath, mother to Gwyneth's title role of Sylvia Plath.
Danner is a practitioner of transcendental meditation, which she has described as "very helpful and comforting".
|1972||To Kill a Clown||Lily Frischer|
|1974||Lovin' Molly||Molly Taylor|
|1975||Hearts of the West||Miss Trout|
|1976||Futureworld||Tracy Ballard||Saturn Award for Best Actress|
|1979||The Great Santini||Lillian Meechum|
|1983||Inside the Third Reich||Margarete Speer|
|1983||Man, Woman and Child||Sheila Beckwith|
|1985||Guilty Conscience||Louise Jamison|
|1986||Brighton Beach Memoirs||Kate Jerome|
|1990||Mr. and Mrs. Bridge||Grace Barron|
|1991||The Prince of Tides||Sally Wingo|
|1992||Husbands and Wives||Rain's Mother|
|1995||To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar||Beatrice|
|1997||The Myth of Fingerprints||Lena|
|1997||Mad City||Mrs. Banks|
|1998||The Proposition||Syril Danning|
|1998||No Looking Back||Claudia's Mother|
|1998||The X-Files||Jana Cassidy|
|1999||Forces of Nature||Virginia Cahill|
|1999||The Love Letter||Lillian MacFarquhar|
|1999||Things I Forgot to Remember||Mrs. Bradford|
|2000||Meet the Parents||Dina Byrnes||Nominated – Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Supporting Actress in a Comedy|
|2001||The Invisible Circus||Gail O'Connor|
|2003||Three Days of Rain||Woman in Cab|
|2004||Howl's Moving Castle||Madam Suliman||Voice role (English dub)|
|2004||Meet the Fockers||Dina Byrnes|
|2006||Stolen||Isabella Stewart Gardner|
|2006||The Last Kiss||Anna||Nominated – Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture|
|2008||The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2||Greta Randolph|
|2009||Waiting for Forever||Miranda Twist|
|2009||The Lightkeepers||Mrs. Bascom|
|2010||Little Fockers||Dina Byrnes|
|2011||What's Your Number?||Ava Darling|
|2012||The Lucky One||Ellie Green|
|2012||Hello I Must Be Going||Ruth Minsky|
|2014||Murder of a Cat||Edie Moisey|
|2015||I'll See You in My Dreams||Carol Petersen||Nominated – Gotham Award for Best Actress|
Nominated – Satellite Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture
|2018||What They Had||Ruth O’Shea|
|2018||Hearts Beat Loud||Marianne Fisher|
|2018||The Chaperone||Mary O'Dell|
|2019||The Tomorrow Man||Ronnie Meisner|
|2019||Strange but True||Gail Erwin|
|1970||George M!||Agnes Nolan Cohan||Television film|
|1971||Dr. Cook's Garden||Janey Rausch||Television film|
|1972||Columbo||Janice Benedict||Episode: "Etude in Black"|
|1973||Adam's Rib||Amanda Bonner||13 episodes|
|1974||F. Scott Fitzgerald and 'The Last of the Belles'||Zelda Fitzgerald||Television film|
|1974||Sidekicks||Prudy Jenkins||Television film|
|1975||Great Performances||Nina Zarechnaya||Episode: "The Seagull"|
|1976||M*A*S*H||Carlye Breslin Walton||Episode: "The More I See You"|
|1976||A Love Affair: The Eleanor and Lou Gehrig Story||Eleanor Twitchell Gehrig||Television film|
|1976||Great Performances||Alma Winemiller||Episode: "Eccentricites of a Nightingale"|
|1977||The Court-Martial of George Armstrong Custer||Mrs. Custer||Television film|
|1978||Are You in the House Alone?||Anne Osbourne||Television film|
|1979||Too Far to Go||Joan Barlow Maple||Television film|
|1979||You Can't Take It with You||Alice Sycamore||Television film|
|1982||Inside the Third Reich||Margarete Speer||Television film|
|1983||In Defense of Kids||Ellen Wilcox||Television film|
|1984||Guilty Conscience||Louise Jamison||Television film|
|1984||Helen Keller: The Miracle Continues||Anne Sullivan||Television film|
|1988–1989||Tattingers||Hillary Tattinger||13 episodes|
|1989||Money, Power, Murder||Jeannie||Television film|
|1990||Judgment||Emmeline Guitry||Television film|
|1992||Getting Up and Going Home||Lily||Television film|
|1992||Cruel Doubt||Bonnie Van Stein||Television film|
|1992||Tales from the Crypt||Margaret||Episode: "Maniac at Large"|
|1992||Lincoln||Elizabeth Todd Edwards||Television film|
|1993||Tracey Ullman Takes on New York||Eleanor Levine||Television film|
|1993||Great Performances||Narrator||Episode: "The Maestros of Philadelphia"|
|1994||Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All||Bianca Honicut||Television film|
|1994||Leave of Absence||Elisa||Television film|
|1997||Thomas Jefferson||Martha Jefferson||Television film|
|1997||A Call to Remember||Paula Tobias||Television film|
|1998||From the Earth to the Moon||Narrator||Episode: "Le voyage dans la lune"|
|1998||Saint Maybe||Bee Bedloe||Television film|
|1998||Murder She Purred: A Mrs. Murphy Mystery||Mrs. Murphy||Television film|
|Will & Grace||Marilyn Truman||14 episodes|
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series (2005–2006)
|2002||We Were the Mulvaneys||Corinne Mulvaney||Television film|
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
|2002||Presidio Med||Dr. Harriet Lanning||3 episodes|
|2003||Two and a Half Men||Evelyn Harper||Episode: "Most Chicks Won't Eat Veal"|
|2004||Back When We Were Grownups||Rebecca Holmes Davitch||Television film|
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
|2004–2006||Huff||Isabelle Huffstodt||25 episodes|
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (2005–2006)
|2009||Medium||Louise Leaming||Episode: "A Taste of Her Own Medicine"|
|2009||Nurse Jackie||Maureen Cooper||Episode: "Tiny Bubbles"|
|2011–2012||Up All Night||Dr. Angie Chafin||3 episodes|
|2015||The Slap||Virginia Latham||Episode: "Anouk"|
|2016||Madoff||Ruth Madoff||4 episodes|
|2016||Odd Mom Out||Jill's Mom||Episode: "Fasting and Furious"|
|2018||Patrick Melrose||Nancy Valance||Mini-series|
|2021||American Gods||Demeter||2 episodes|
|2021||Ridley Jones||Sylvia Jones||12 episodes|
|1965||The Glass Menagerie||Laura Wingfield||Theater Company of Boston|
|1967||Three Sisters||Irina Prozorova||Trinity Square Playhouse|
|1968||Cyrano de Bergerac||Sister Marthe||Vivian Beaumont Theater|
|1968||Up Eden||Violet Beam||Jan Hus Playhouse Theater|
|1968||Lovers||Margaret Mary Enright||Vivian Beaumont Theater|
|1969||Someone's Comin' Hungry||Connie Odum||Pocket Theatre|
|1969||The Miser||Elise||Vivian Beaumont Theater||Theatre World Award|
|1969–1972||Butterflies Are Free||Jill Tanner||Booth Theatre||Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play|
|1971||Major Barbara||Barbara Undershaft||Mark Taper Forum|
|1972||Twelfth Night||Viola||Vivian Beaumont Theater|
|1974||The Seagull||Nina Zarechnaya||Williamstown Theatre Festival|
|1975||Ring Round the Moon||Isabelle||Williamstown Theatre Festival|
|1977||The New York Idea||Cynthia Karslake||Brooklyn Academy of Music||Nominated – Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play|
|1979||Children of the Sun||Lisa||Williamstown Theatre Festival|
|1980||Betrayal||Emma||Trafalgar Theatre||Nominated – Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play|
Nominated – Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play
|1980–1981||The Philadelphia Story||Tracy Samantha Lord||Vivian Beaumont Theater|
|1987||Blithe Spirit||Elvira Condomine||Neil Simon Theatre|
|1988||Much Ado About Nothing||Beatrice||Delacorte Theater||"most fun she had in a role was playing on stage opposite Kevin Kline in"|
|1988||A Streetcar Named Desire||Blanche DuBois||Circle in the Square Theatre||Nominated – Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play; "thrill ... playing Blanche to Christopher Walken's Stanley"|
|1989||Love Letters||Melissa Gardner||Promenade Theatre|
|1991||Picnic||Rosemary Sydney||Williamstown Theatre Festival|
|1994||The Seagull||Irina Arkadina||Williamstown Theatre Festival|
|1995||Sylvia||Kate||New York City Center|
|1995–1996||Moonlight||Bel||Laura Pels Theatre|
|1998||The Deep Blue Sea||Hester Collyer||Criterion Center Stage Right|
|2000||Tonight at 8.30||Jane Featherways||Williamstown Theatre Festival|
|2001||Follies||Phyllis Rogers Stone||Belasco Theatre||Nominated – Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical|
|2002||Carousel||Mrs. Mullin||Carnegie Hall|
|2003||All About Eve||Karen Richards||Ahmanson Theatre|
|2006||Suddenly Last Summer||Violet Venable||Laura Pels Theatre||Nominated – Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play|
|2012–2013||Nice Work If You Can Get It||Millicent Winter||Imperial Theatre|
|2014||The Country House||Anna Paterson||Samuel J. Friedman Theatre|
I have found transcendental meditation very helpful and comforting. It centers me.