03/02/1943 (78 years old) Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Although to some she's best known as the mother of Oscar winner Gwyneth Paltrow, this husky-voiced actress has enjoyed her own illustrious, award-winning career on stage and screen. Initially a theater player, she earned a Tony for her Broadway debut as a free spirit in the drama Butterflies Are Free, yet she wasn't considered enough of a name to reprise the role in the 1972 film adaptation. In a way, that summed up Hollywood's attitude toward her for the next three decades. Although she worked steadily on both the big and small screens---except for a self-imposed hiatus to raise her children with TV-producer husband Bruce Paltrow in the '80s---she was never regarded as a star. All that changed in the 2000s when a series of high-profile maternal roles brought the sexagenarian more awards---and more fame---than ever. She was charming as Robert De Niro's wife in the 2000 hit comedy Meet the Parents, and a recurring role as Will's blueblood mom on Will & Grace earned her a pair of Emmy nods. Her part on Huff as the title character's eccentric mother finally won her industry recognition in the form of two consecutive Emmys. Unfortunately her career resurrection was bittersweet as it coincided with the death of her husband in 2002. Because Paltrow died as a result of complications from throat cancer, Danner became involved with the Oral Cancer Foundation to help raise awareness of the disease. She is also active in environmental issues.
In 1974, during her first of many summers at the Williamstown Festival, played Nina in The Seagull; 20 years later, appeared as Arkadina in the same play, while Nina was played by daughter Gwyneth Paltrow.
Has played Paltrow's mother on screen in the miniseries Cruel Doubt (1992) and the feature film Sylvia (2003).
Played mother to Charlie Sheen and Jon Cryer in the pilot of the sitcom Two and a Half Men; claimed that she didn't have a feel for the role and was replaced by Holland Taylor.