Valentina Cortese (born January 1, 1925) is an Italian actress.
She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in La Nuit américaine. She also appeared in the Franco Zeffirelli miniseries Jesus of Nazareth (movie).
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She often said the proudest night of her life was when Gwyneth won an Oscar for best actress, and her mother was the first person she thanked. 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. She is also the aunt of actresses Hillary Danner and Katherine Moennig, and sister-in-law (through brother Harry) of opera director Dorothy Danner. Danner first co-starred with her daughter in 1992 in the TV movie Cruel Doubt, then again in the 2003 film Sylvia, playing the mother of the title character, played by her daughter.
She is the mother of actress Gwyneth Paltrow and actor Jake Paltrow, and the widow of producer Bruce Paltrow. For twenty-five years, she has been a regular performer at the Williamstown Summer Theater Festival, where she also serves on the Board of Directors. 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 role opposite Robert De Niro in the comedy hit Meet the Parents (2000) and its (2004) sequel, Meet the Fockers (with Barbra Streisand and Dustin Hoffman), and for her work in 2004 in the cable TV series Huff. Her earliest starring film roles were opposite Alan Alda in To Kill a Clown (1972) and in the title role of Lovin' Molly (1974), directed by Sidney Lumet.
Due to Danner's WASPy apearance 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. Danner was a close friend of actor Christopher Reeve and appeared with him in several plays. 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-winning drama A Streetcar Named Desire, and again in 2001 for a revival of Stephen Sondheim's Follies. Cook's Garden.
The same year she appeared in her first film role, in a television production of Dr. She went on to win a Tony Award in 1970 for her Broadway debut in Butterflies Are Free, playing the role later portrayed by Goldie Hawn in the film adaptation. Danner first appeared on stage with the Theater Company of Boston and the Trinity Square Playhouse of Boston, and 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 holds three honorary doctorates of fine arts from Bard, Williams College, and Hobart.
She attended the private George School, in Newtown, Pennsylvania, and Bard College, from where she graduated in 1965. She has two brothers, opera singer Harry Danner and violin maker William Danner. She was born Blythe Katherine Danner on February 3, 1943 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the daughter of a bank executive. Blythe Danner is a prolific American actress who has appeared in numerous stage, screen, and film roles.
Much Ado About Nothing. Follies (2001). A Streetcar Named Desire (1988). Betrayal (1980).
Butterflies Are Free (1970). The Miser (1968). Back When We Were Grownups. We Were the Mulvaneys.
Saint Maybe. A Call to Remember. Candida. The Seagull.
Will & Grace (in recurring role as Will's mother). Elsewhere. St. Huff (2004).
Cruel Doubt (1992). Nick and Hillary (1989). Tattinger's (1988). Inside the Third Reich (1982).
Scott Fitzgerald and the Last of the Belles (1974). F. Adam's Rib (1973). Cook's Garden (1970).
Dr. Meet the Fockers (2004). Meet the Parents (2000). The Love Letter (1999).
The X-Files (1998). The Myth of Fingerprints (1997). To Wong Foo: Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar (1995). Husbands and Wives (1992).
The Prince of Tides (1991). Bridge (1990). & Mrs. Mr.
Alice (1990). Another Woman (1988). Brighton Beach Memoirs (1986). The Great Santini (1979).
Futureworld (1976). Hearts of the West (1975). Lovin' Molly (1974). To Kill a Clown (1972).