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Blythe Danner

  • American actress
  • Born February 3, 1943

Blythe Katherine Danner (born February 3, 1943) is an American actress. She is the recipient of several accolades, including 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), 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).


My family was very musical. My brother is an opera singer; my parents both sang.




I've been very lucky. I wanted to be an actress, but I didn't really have the drive to sell myself. Fortunately I had a terrific agent in New York who kept me going from job to job.




Actors are very generous.




I've kept my sanity in this business by trying out for a role and then going home and trying to forget about it.




I loved doing Shakespeare. My two favorite roles, in fact, have been Viola in Twelfth Night and Helena in A Midsummer Night's Dream.




I travel so much when I work, I've really been happy to do 'Nice Work' because I feel like a true New Yorker again. I have my little regimen during the day, and I can take advantage of the museums and the things that I love. And people watching!




Being a grandmother is probably the most important thing to me. I have two really rambunctious little ones, and I love spending time with them.




Maybe subconsciously I've kept activism separate from acting because it's important to me in a more profound way.




My earliest memories of Gwyneth first singing is in bed when we would make up songs. The most I could do was harmonize, like, a third above, and at two years old, she'd be doing sixths. I said, 'Where in the world did that come from?' She'd just make up songs.




I really do like being independent, and I don't want to have to rely on anyone else to cart me around if I break a bone.




I feel that its our children who do give us hope because they are the ones who are going to save the world.




When I was beginning, a young actor could go from repertory company to repertory company. I did that and loved it. I was also lucky.




I loved the first Christmas I had in England.




Acting is really only part of my life. I'm addicted to it.




Just look at my face. Its an extraordinary experience. All of my friends who are grandparents have been saying, just wait, a bit cynically, but its just extraordinary. You feel like a child again yourself. Just walking on air.




I try to avoid a specific image. I seek to play as many different women as I can to avoid having a label put on me.




I am always happiest in an ensemble.




Whatever comes my way I'm basically interested in.




For a woman who's a widow and pretty much a loner, I can walk out, and I'm surrounded by NYU kids. The energy jumps off the sidewalks, and I never feel sad or bored.




I feel a little guilty only being an actor.




My theory in anything you do is to keep exploring, keep digging deeper to find new stuff.




Mostly, I spend my time being a mother to my two children, working in my organic garden, raising masses of sweet peas, being passionately involved in conservation, recycling and solar energy.




That's what's so wonderful about being in this business because you're constantly surprised. You have to be up for anything.




Whether you're on TV or on the stage, you have to work hard to stay fresh, real, and full of energy. You can't settle back. You always have to stay on your toes.




I got to Broadway a year after I came to New York. I starred in 'Butterflies Are Free' and got a Tony for it. Right out of the gate. Maybe that's why I wasn't very gracious about it. I wasn't driven. And right after 'Butterflies Are Free', I got married and then started a family. I always wanted that.




I live in New York, and when you're older and widowed, it's a perfect place because you just don't feel lonely there, and, luckily, I like my own company, too.




I think I have a lot of crazy layers.




I really pulled back on my career when the kids were young and my husband and I made a pact never to work while the other one was.




I was raised in a time where children were still seen and not heard basically, so I think a lot of us in my generation went the other way and just tried to be as much more liberal and open and we're still paying for it.




I've always just adored music. It's my first love, really. I admire and respect people in the music business. You really have to work hard and diligently. Sometimes actors can be lazy and get away with it, but you can't do that if you're a musician.




My husband was very special and very funny and outspoken, and he would have a black and blue every so often because under the table, I'd say, 'Don't say that!'




You cannot be the perfect wife, the perfect mother, and the perfect actor all at the same time.




I don't give my advice unless it's asked for.




Singing and dancing will never grow old for me - I'd like to do that until I'm... actually, I think I'd like to drop dead onstage. I think that'd be just great.




I've always had a middling kind of a career, not great highs and great lows.




Onstage or in films, you do affect peoples' lives, and sometimes that's very gratifying. But still, there's this little voice that says you should be doing something that matters.



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