All in the family

Here’s a look at the who’s-related-to-who of our TV fare

June 4, 2010 23:24
4 minute read.
Jane Mansfield and her daughter Mariska Hargitay

Mansfield and (daughter) Hargitay 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

Since the days of the Barrymores and the advent of the silver screen, it has been common practice for members of the same family to enter into show business. Shining examples include husband and wife Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward; brother and sister Shirley Maclaine and Warren Beatty; father and son Kirk Douglas and Mike Douglas; mother and daughter Ingrid Bergman and Isabella Rossellini; and Henry Fonda and daughter Jane, son Peter and granddaughter Bridget.

Similarly, many a family member has found a home on the small screen. It’s interesting to take a look and see who’s related to who on our current TV roster.

For me, one of the most dramatic family connections is Mariska Hargitay, star of Law & Order Special Victims Unit (Channel 1 and YES Stars Action). She is the daughter of legendary blonde bombshell Jayne Mansfield and Mr. Universe (1955) and actor Mickey Hargitay. On June 29, 1967, Mansfield was killed in a car accident at age 34. Miraculously, Mariska, age three and a half, and her two brothers were in the back seat of the car and emerged unharmed. Mariska is married to actor Peter Hermann, who plays defense attorney Trevor Langan in the series. The two met on the set of the show.

Another husband and wife team are Patricia Wettig and Ken Olin. Wetting plays Holly in the drama series Brothers and Sisters (HOT 3), while Olin has a recurring role as David Caplan, her former lover and (at long last revealed) father of her TV daughter, Rebecca. Olin is the producer of the show, many of which he directed as well.

A Patricia with even more showbiz family connections is Patricia Arquette, star of the drama series Medium (HOT 3). She is the daughter of character actor Lewis Arquette and granddaughter of Cliff Arquette, who created the persona of the venerable old Charley Weaver. She is the sister of actress Rosanna Arquette, transgender actress Alexis Arquette and actor David Arquette. David is married to Courteney Cox, who plays Monica in the sitcom Friends (Channel 2) and debuts this week in the comedy series Cougar Town (HOT 3). Cox says she is well suited for the role of a cougar, as she is seven years older than her husband. Back to Patricia. For six years she was married to actor Nicolas Cage (who is the nephew of director Francis Ford Coppola) and is now married to actor Thomas Jane. She is in good company in the ex-wives’ club, as Cage was also married to Elvis Presley’s daughter, Lisa Marie. 

And speaking of ex-spouses and Friends and, in fact, Monica, the role of her father, Jack Geller, is played by Elliott Gould, who was married to Barbra Streisand. Streisand’s present husband, James Brolin, appears on our screens in the military drama Pensacola (HOT Zone). Brolin is the father of actor Josh Brolin, who is married to actress Diane Lane.

When it comes to TV ex-spouses, the actress who plays Julia, the former wife of Matt McNamara on Nip/Tuck (Channel 2), comes from what could be deemed showbiz royalty. Joely Richardson is the daughter of actress Vanessa Redgrave and film director Tony Richardson; granddaughter of actor Sir Michael Redgrave; and niece of actress Lynn Redgrave. She was the sister of actress Natasha Richardson, who died in a skiing accident in 2009. Natasha was married to Liam Neeson, who played Oskar Schindler in Schindler’s List. Still an ex-wife, Joely was married to film producer Tim Bevan.

With two ex-wives and a few fiancees in his wake, bad boy Charlie Sheen can be seen as Charlie Harper in the sitcom Two and a Half Men (YES Star Comedy). He is the son of actor Martin Sheen and brother of actors Emilio and Ramon and actress Renee Estevez.

Beau Bridges is another brother from a well-known showbiz family. Appearing as network mogul Dan Falco in the comedy series Beggars and Choosers (Hot Family), he is the brother of this year’s Best Actor Oscar winner Jeff Bridges and son of the late and great TV and film actor Lloyd Bridges.  

And, of course, part of the iconic clan of actors is Alec Baldwin, one of the famous Baldwin brothers. Nailing the role of programming executive Jack Donaghy in the sitcom 30 Rock (YES Stars Comedy), he is the brother of actors Steven, William and Daniel Baldwin and ex-husband of actress Kim Basinger.

One more pair of brothers to add to the mix are Anthony and Jonathan LaPaglia. Anthony stars as supervisor Jack Malone in the crime drama Without a Trace (HOT Zone), while younger brother Jonathan plays assistant DA Curtis Bell in the crime drama Cold Case (HOT Zone). Jonathan also starred as Lt. Frank Parker in the sci-fi series Seven Days, which I really enjoyed. But like many of the shows that I have grown to love, it has disappeared from my screen – without a trace.

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