Born: February 3, 1943
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Blythe Katherine Danner (born February 3, 1943) is an American actress of film, television and stage.
She is known for her role as Marilyn Truman, mother of Will, on the sitcom Will & Grace, and for co-starring opposite Robert De Niro in the three Meet the Parents franchise films. She is the mother of actress Gwyneth Paltrow and director Jake Paltrow. In 1970 she won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play for her performance in Butterflies Are Free. She won two Primetime Emmy Awards for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama for her role as Izzy Huffstodt on Huff.
Her other film work includes roles in 1776 (1972), The Great Santini (1979), Mr. and Mrs. Bridge (1990), The Prince of Tides (1991), Husbands and Wives (1992), and I'll See You in My Dreams (2015).
Danner was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Katharine (née Kile; 1909-2006) and Harry Earl Danner, a bank executive. She has a brother, opera singer/actor Harry Danner; a sister-in-law, performer-turned-director Dorothy (Dottie) Danner; and a half-brother, violin maker William Moennig. 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. She began her Friends School experience in Kindergarten at Media-Providence Friends School, then known as Media Friends in Media, Pennsylvania.
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 wife whose husband has been unfaithful 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.
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 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 awards 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 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 Oral Cancer Foundation, a national 501(c)3 nonprofit 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. She appeared in commercials for Prolia, a brand of denosumab for injection.
Danner is the widow of producer/director Bruce Paltrow, who died from complications of pneumonia while battling 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 Aurelia Plath, mother to Gwyneth Paltrow's title role as Sylvia Plath.
Regarding meditation practice, Danner said: "I have found transcendental meditation very helpful and comforting. It centers me."
|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||Man, Woman and Child||Sheila Beckwith|
|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|
|2003||The Quality of Light||Mary|
|2003||Three Days of Rain||Woman in Cab|
|2004||Howl's Moving Castle||Madam Suliman|
|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|
|2008||Side by Each||Daisy / Delores / Delilah|
|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|
|2015||I'll See You in My Dreams||Carol Petersen||Nominated—Gotham Award for Best Actress
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture
|TBA||What They Had||Ruth|
|1970||George M!||Agnes Nolan Cohan||Television movie|
|1971||Dr. Cook's Garden||Janey Rausch||Television movie|
|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 movie|
|1974||Sidekicks||Prudy Jenkins||Television movie|
|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 Gehrig||Television movie|
|1976||Great Performances||Alma Winemiller||Episode: "Eccentricites of a Nightingale"|
|1977||The Court-Martial of George Armstrong Custer||Mrs. Custer||Television movie|
|1978||Are You in the House Alone?||Anne Osbourne||Television movie|
|1979||Too Far to Go||Joan Barlow Maple||Television movie|
|1979||You Can't Take It with You||Alice Sycamore||Television movie|
|1982||Inside the Third Reich||Margarete Speer||Television movie|
|1983||In Defense of Kids||Ellen Wilcox||Television movie|
|1984||Guilty Conscience||Louise Jamison||Television movie|
|1984||Helen Keller: The Miracle Continues||Anne Sullivan||Television movie|
|1988-1989||Tattingers||Hillary Tattinger||13 episodes|
|1989||Money, Power, Murder||Jeannie||Television movie|
|1990||Judgment||Emmeline Guitry||Television movie|
|1992||Getting Up and Going Home||Lily||Television movie|
|1992||Cruel Doubt||Bonnie Van Stein||Television movie|
|1992||Tales from the Crypt||Margaret||Episode: "Maniac at Large"|
|1992||Lincoln||Elizabeth Todd Edwards||Television movie|
|1993||Tracey Ullman Takes On New York||Eleanor Levine||Television movie|
|1993||Great Performances||Narrator||Episode: "The Maestros of Philadelphia"|
|1994||Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All||Bianca Honicut||Television movie|
|1994||Leave of Absence||Elisa||Television movie|
|1997||Thomas Jefferson||Martha Jefferson||Television movie|
|1997||A Call to Remember||Paula Tobias||Television movie|
|1998||From the Earth to the Moon||Narrator||Episode: "Le voyage dans la dune"|
|1998||Saint Maybe||Bee Bedloe||Television movie|
|1998||Murder She Purred: A Mrs. Murphy Mystery||Mrs. Murphy||Television movie|
|2001-2006||Will & Grace||Marilyn Truman||11 episodes
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series
|2002||We Were the Mulvaneys||Corinne Mulvaney||Television movie
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 movie
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
|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"|