These days she's best known as Gwyneth Paltrow's mother and Apple's grandma — but Blythe Danner certainly isn't neglecting her acting career. The 61-year-old stars in Showtime's new series Huff, the TV-movie Back When We Were Grownups (Nov. 21 on CBS) and Meet the Fockers, the sequel to the 2000 comedy Meet the Parents (opens Dec. 22). "I'm always surprised that I'm working so much," she says, "because so many of my [peers] aren't. TV is a blessing — especially cable, because it just multiplies the roles for us"
TV Guide Online: In Huff you play a mean mother-in-law, and on Back When We Were Grownups, you're a widow with four daughters. Do you get tired of being "the mother"?
Blythe Danner: Don't forget grandmothers! But I'll take whatever out there is good. When my husband [the late St. Elsewhere producer Bruce Paltrow] was a struggling writer, I'd do a TV-movie for a couch!
Danner: No. Too saggy, I'm afraid. [They're] brave ladies. I guess the more talented you are, the more you're willing to take off. TVGO: You and Bruce had a rare long show-business marriage.
Danner: And they all said that we wouldn't last a year. He was Jewish and I was Christian, and in 1969, it wasn't all that common. [Our] wedding highlighted our family differences. We looked at each other and said, "What have we done?" TVGO: So your real marriage was a lot like the marriage in Meet the Parents and its sequel?
Danner: Well, my wedding day wasn't as funny as that wedding in the movie. At least as I remember. TVGO: If we ask Gwyneth's husband, Coldplay's Chris Martin, what kind of mother-in-law you are, what would he say?
Danner: Oh, golly, all I do is sing to my granddaughter so far. I think he would just say that I am a pretty much hands-off mother-in-law who adores him. And I do. TVGO: I have to ask — were you consulted on naming Apple?
Danner: No. I believe that was Chris's choice. I think it's wonderful. She's actually [called] Apple Blythe Allison after both grandmothers. And I said to Gwyneth, "Well, you have an unusual name and I have an unusual name, so why not?" TVGO: You're starting a bit of a showbiz dynasty. Besides Gwyneth, your son, Jake, is a director and your niece Katherine Moennig is creating a stir on The L Word.
Danner: And my brother Harry is an actor, as is my niece Hillary Danner. We'll see what Apple decides to do. She's certainly musical already.