Actress Blythe Danner on Love and Loss


Actress Blythe Danner discusses love lost and her own personal growth.

Joan Didion wrote a wonderful book, The Year of Magical Thinking, talking about the meaninglessness of life. That rang very, very true for me. Life really is meaningless. When you get this news … All of my effort went into putting one foot in front of the other and carrying on. I was married for almost thirty-three years, and he was the center of the whole family's world, really. It wasn't until the grandchildren came along that I felt hopeful again. And Bruce would not want us to wallow in our grief, and I always hear him … His voice is always there saying, "Get on with it." There was a saying that I loved, and that he loved, by Robert Frost: "In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on."

You and your husband worked in the same industry. What part did work play in your marriage?

We shared a love of what we did. He was a wonderful writer-director … and he was incredibly generous. He always said to me, "I'll do the commerce, you do the art." He allowed me to go off and do plays and things, and I think a lot of men wouldn't have been amenable to that.

Do you think your children have seen your relationship with Bruce as a model?
I hope so! My daughter's in a wonderful relationship and now has two children, and we're a very close-knit family. All these family celebrations are now very bittersweet because he's not with us …

Did you weigh in on the names (Apple and Moses) when Gwyneth and Chris were choosing them?

No, I didn't, and I'm glad I didn't, because they're absolute perfection! I get so annoyed with Americans always picking on these names. We're just not with it over here! I mean, there are Plums and Pears and Marigolds and all kinds of wonderful floral and vegetarian names in England, but we're very judgmental in this country.

Where did you come up with the name Gwyneth?
Gwyneth was a friend of mine in first grade and she was English and she had this wonderful accent and I was just fascinated with it. And I have an unusual name too, so we're just perpetuating that tradition.

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