Hollywood’s Mighty Mother-Daughter Duos

Kris and KimHow heartwarming to see Kris Jenner all dolled up in a red lace dress just like the one daughter Kim Kardashian wore awhile back.  In fact, apparently it was the very same dress seen on mama Jenner at the E! channel’s upfronts presentation.  Wearing her daughter’s Valentino dress – how is that for mom and daughter togetherness?

The show business scene is full of famous mom and daughter duos, some who have close, loving relationships and some not.  With Mother’s Day around the corner, it’s only fitting to have a look at some of them.

Though Kate Hudson’s career is booming, there was a time when her mother, Goldie Hawn, did everything she could to keep her from becoming an actress.  After years of begging, Hawn finally allowed Hudson to act and got her an audition for a lead role in a never-produced television show with Howie Mandel. Much to Goldie’s surprise, Hudson won the part but Goldie didn’t tell her, turned it down, and kept the secret until she admitted it a year later.  Kate was eventually allowed to take acting classes and though her family hoped she would attend New YorkUniversity after high school, she opted to get her feet wet in the professional acting world first.  She would go on to wow audiences, and garner an Oscar nomination at age 22, with her performance in Cameron Crowe’s “Almost Famous.”

With her Tony award-winning mother, Blythe Danner, having maintained a successful acting career for decades, it’s no surprise that her daughter Gwyneth Paltrow chose to follow in her footsteps.  Blythe was more receptive to the idea than Goldie was.  In fact, she confided with shining eyes, back when Gwyneth was a young teen, that she knew her daughter had a remarkable gift.  However, both she and her late husband, director Bruce Paltrow, were adamant that Gwyneth would refrain from turning professional until she was an adult.  Gwyneth did get early acting training from her parents, made her stage debut in the Williamstown Theatre play “Picnic” with her mother, and acted in school and community productions – but they said no when Hollywood agents and producers started to call, to young Gwyneth’s frustration.  Her closeness to her parents didn’t keep Gwyneth from staying out of trouble, either, as she admits to having constantly tested them when it came to breaking curfew.

A very famous mom and daughter story had a grown-up woman dealing with her mother’s controlling ways, her diva moments and cringe-worthy actions like showing too much leg.  It resonated with mothers and daughters (and fathers and sons) around the world.  Along with the laughter, it elicited tears, especially when that aggravating mom showed her vulnerability, tenderness and deep, deep love for the woman who would always be her little girl.

If you guessed Carrie Fisher’s “Postcards From the Edge” – both the book and the movie starring Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine – you’re correct.   Fisher unabashedly told us a lot about her real-life relationship with mom Debbie Reynolds.  Beneath the glamour, excess, and outsized behavior of two high-flying Hollywood stars was – and is — a genuine indestructible mother-daughter bond with all its emotional complexities.

Jamie Lee Curtis had a very close relationship with her mother, the late screen legend Janet Leigh.  They worked together (“Halloween H2O”) as Hollywood’s only mom-daughter pair of scream queens – Janet having been immortalized in that shower sequence in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho.”  Jamie Lee has been candid about her past years of substance abuse, even to admitting that she’d snorted cocaine with her late movie star dad, Tony Curtis.  Janet, however, brought out her best.  “I never said no to my mother. I was the ultimate good girl with a toe in the water of bad girl-ness,” as she put it.  Jamie Lee describes a scenario in which the child – herself – was actually more worldly-wise than the parent, and protective of the parent.  Her mother started out as a simple girl from Merced, California from two very young and poor parents, and for her to become a huge movie star was extraordinary.  “She was green as you can be. I’m about as black as you can be. I’m jaded and time tested and all the things that my mother wasn’t,” Jamie Lee has said.  “She was a wonderful person.”

Judy Garland was one of the most cherished movie stars of all time, gracing the screen as the beloved Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz.”  However, behind the beautiful face and voice lurked a dark addiction to amphetamines to keep her weight down and barbiturates to help her sleep.  In 1969, Garland overdosed and died.  Though she discouraged her children from entering show business, pointing out her financial and health problems resulting from the nature of the business, daughters Liza Minnelli and Lorna Luft became entertainers.  Liza would go on to become an icon herself with show-stopping performances in “New York, New   York” and “Cabaret.”  Despite inheriting her mother’s talents, she unfortunately also shared in her weakness for drugs and alcohol.

Another actress to grow up in the shadow of her famous mother was Melanie Griffith.  Her mother, Tippi Hedren, shot to stardom after starring in Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds.”  Griffith’s life was anything but normal growing up.  For her sixth birthday,  Hitchcock famously gave her a toy coffin with a replica of her mother in it.

The rags to riches saga of Naomi, Wynonna and Ashley Judd still serves as inspiration to mother-daughter troubadors.  Mamas and the Papas singer-actress Michelle Phillips is real-life mama to Wilson Phillips’ Chynna.  There are Meryl Streep and Mamie Gummer, Sharon and Kelly Osbourne, Joan and Melissa Rivers.  The list of mother-daughter celebrities goes on and on, proving that following in mom’s footsteps can be a very good thing, even in show business.