Phoebe Cates

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Phoebe Cates
Phoebe Cates at 81st Academy Awards.jpg
Phoebe Cates at 81st Annual Academy Awards, February 22, 2009
Born Phoebe Belle Cates
(1963-07-16) July 16, 1963 (age 51)
New York City
Occupation Model (1977–1981)
Actress (1982–1994, 2001)
Entrepreneur (2005–present)
Spouse(s) Kevin Kline (m. 1989)
Children

Phoebe Cates Kline (born Phoebe Belle Cates; July 16, 1963), better known as Phoebe Cates, is an American film actress, model, and entrepreneur. She is known for her roles in several teen films, most notably Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Gremlins.

Early life[edit]

Cates was born Phoebe Belle Cates, in New York City, to a family of television and Broadway production insiders. Her parents are Lily and Joseph Cates (originally "Joseph Katz"[1]), who was a major Broadway producer and a pioneering figure in television, who helped create The $64,000 Question.[2][3] Her late uncle, Gilbert Cates, produced numerous television specials, often in partnership with Cates' father, and several annual Academy Awards shows. Her paternal grandparents and maternal grandmother were Russian Jews, and her maternal grandfather was Chinese Filipino.[4][5][6]

Cates attended the Professional Children's School and the Juilliard School.[7] When she was ten, she wanted to become a dancer. She eventually got a scholarship to the School of American Ballet, but after suffering a serious knee injury at age 15, she gave up her dancing career.[8] She next began a career as a professional model, which was short-lived, although successful.[8] Cates, however, did not like the industry: "It was just the same thing, over and over. After a while I did it solely for the money."[9]

Acting career[edit]

After ending her modeling career, Cates decided to begin acting.[8] Although her father was an actor as well, he was not enthusiastic about his daughter's new acting career.[8] Cates's acting debut was in Paradise (filmed March 22, 1981 - May 6, 1981 and released May 1982[10]), a role she won after replying to a casting call in New York.[11] At age 17 she played the role of Sarah and did several full nude scenes in the movie, which had a plot very similar to The Blue Lagoon. In a 1982 interview, she recalled having trouble with the change of career, because as a model she had to be conscious of the camera, whereas in front of the movie camera, she could not.[9] Cates later regretted being in the movie and said: "What I learned was never to do a movie like that again."[8] According to her co-star Willie Aames, "she will have nothing to do with the film. She's really upset about it. She won't do any promotion with me."[12]

Later in 1982, Cates starred in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, which features "the most memorable bikini-drop in cinema history".[13] She was quoted as saying that she had the most fun in filming that movie.[8] The following year, she was in the sex comedy Private School (which co-starred Matthew Modine and Betsy Russell), for which she sang on two songs of the film's soundtrack.

Her later film roles were more modest and largely oriented toward younger audiences, such as the two Gremlins films and the 1991 film Drop Dead Fred. Her face graced the covers of teen magazines such as Seventeen, Tiger Beat, Teen Beat, and others. In 1984, she starred in the TV mini-series Lace. She played the role of Lili "to get away from a sameness in her movie portrayals".[14] During her audition, she so impressed the writer, that he wanted to hire her there and then.[14] Cates struggled with the portrayal of a bitter movie star because, despite her character's vicious persona, she intended for the audience to sympathize with her.[15] She did not read the novel on which the movie was based because she did not want to have a "fixed image".[15] Her line in the film, "Which one of you bitches is my mother?", was named the greatest line in television history by TV Guide in 1993.[16]

In 1985, Cates appeared Off-Broadway in Rich Relations, written by David Henry Hwang of the Second Stage Theatre.[17] In 1994, she starred in the romantic comedy Princess Caraboo.

Cates retired from acting in 1994 in order to raise her children. She returned to acting in 2001 for one film, The Anniversary Party, as a favor to the director, her best friend, Jennifer Jason Leigh.

Music career[edit]

Cates sang the title song (of the same name) for the film Paradise.[18] She also sang the songs "Just One Touch" and "How Do I Let You Know" for the Private School soundtrack.

Personal life[edit]

In the early 1980s, Cates shared an apartment in Greenwich Village with her then boyfriend Stavros Merjos. She had first met him in 1979, when she went out to her first night in Studio 54 with family friend Andy Warhol.[9]

In 1983, during her audition for a role (that eventually went to Meg Tilly) in The Big Chill, Cates met actor Kevin Kline for the first time, and became romantically involved with him. In 1989 they married, and she changed her name to Phoebe Cates Kline.[19] The Klines thereupon moved to Phoebe's native New York City with their two children, son Owen Joseph Kline and daughter Greta Simone Kline. Both Owen and Greta appeared, along with their parents, in the 2001 movie The Anniversary Party. Owen also appeared in the 2005 film The Squid and the Whale, whereas Greta pursued a musical career using the stage name Frankie Cosmos.[20]

In 2005, Cates opened her own boutique, called Blue Tree, on New York's Madison Avenue.[21]

Filmography[edit]

Film and television[edit]

Cates and Kevin Kline at an after party for the 1989 Academy Awards
Year Film Role Notes
1982 Paradise Sarah
1982 Fast Times at Ridgemont High Linda Barrett
1983 Private School Christine Ramsey
1983 Baby Sister Annie Burroughs TV movie
1984 Gremlins Kate Beringer
1984 Lace Elizabeth 'Lili' Lace Miniseries
1985 Lace II Elizabeth 'Lili' Lace Miniseries
1987 Date with an Angel Patricia "Patty" Winston
1988 Bright Lights, Big City Amanda Conway
1989 Shag Carson McBride
1989 Heart of Dixie Aiken Reed
1990 I Love You to Death Joey's Girl at Disco Uncredited
1990 Gremlins 2: The New Batch Kate Beringer
1991 Drop Dead Fred Elizabeth 'Lizzie' Cronin
1993 Bodies, Rest & Motion Carol
1994 Princess Caraboo Princess Caraboo/Mary Baker
2001 The Anniversary Party Sophia Gold

References[edit]

  1. ^ Thomas, Jr., Robert McGill (1998-10-12). "Joseph Cates, 74, a Producer Of Innovative Specials for TV". Retrieved 2013-05-16. 
  2. ^ Wakin, Daniel J. (2005-06-03). "NY Times article". NY Times article. Retrieved 2010-03-07. 
  3. ^ "American Greed: Fraudster of the Opera | Frozen Assets: The Ice Capers". Cnbc.com. Retrieved 2013-07-16. 
  4. ^ Villasanta, Boy (June 23, 2010). "Pinoys who made it in Hollywood". ABS-CBN. Archived from the original on May 23, 2011. Retrieved May 28, 2011. "Before Lea Salonga and Charice won the hearts of many people around the globe, there were Phoebe Cates, although mix Filipina and American blood, whose descent is Chinese-Filipino on her maternal grandfather, and Tia Carrere, also Fil-Am." 
  5. ^ Slater, Judith J. (2004). Teen life in Asia. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 183. ISBN 978-0-313-31532-9. Retrieved May 28, 2011. "Some Filipino and Filipino American stars have had much commercial success in the United States and may be familiar to American audiences. Included in this group are Phoebe Cates, who starred in the films Anniversary Party, Princess Caraboo, and Gremlins, and Lou Diamond Phillips, who starred in films such as La Bamba and Dark Wind and also on Broadway's The King and I." 
  6. ^ Cohen, Matthew Isaac (2009). "British performances of Java, 1811–1822". South East Asia Research (IP Publishing Ltd) 17 (1): 87–109. doi:10.5367/000000009787586389. Retrieved May 28, 2011. "Few people in those pre-Internet days, however, knew that Cates's estranged mother was of Chinese Filipino descent." 
  7. ^ "Yahoo movies". Movies.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2010-03-07. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f Cohen, D. & S. Young and Famous: Hollywood's Newest Superstars, 1987. p.75. ISBN 0-671-63493-3
  9. ^ a b c Hammer, Josh (1982-06-14). "Paradise Star Phoebe Cates Hangs Her Own Film with a One-Word Review—'rip-Off'". People.com. Retrieved 2012-12-08. 
  10. ^ [1]
  11. ^ [2]
  12. ^ "Hollywood: Nude scenes too much for Aames" by Marilyn Beck, The Orange County Register, March 17, 1982. p. C3
  13. ^ Rolling Stone staff (November 21, 2006). "Escape Your Family: Sneak Upstairs!". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on September 15, 2009. Retrieved January 23, 2014. 
  14. ^ a b "'Lace' miniseries is soap-opera tangle" by Associated Press, Star-News, February 24, 1984. p. 5C
  15. ^ a b "Angela Lansbury leads 'Lace' cast" by Julianne Hastings, Stars and Stripes, March 7, 1984. p. 12.
  16. ^ TV Guide April 17–23, 1993. pg. 96
  17. ^ Rich, Frank (1986-04-22). "New York Times-Stage: 'Rich Relations'". Nytimes.com. Retrieved 2010-03-07. 
  18. ^ Paradise (1982) ending credits
  19. ^ About Blue Tree
  20. ^ Pelly, Jenn. "Frankie Cosmos". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved March 5, 2014. 
  21. ^ "ABC News (June 1, 2006): Perfect Gifts, According to Phoebe Cates: Former Teen Starlet Owns Upper East Side Gift Store". Abcnews.go.com. 2006-06-01. Retrieved 2010-03-07. 

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