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July 13 , 2006


Blythe Danner to Appear at Hepburn Gala
Actress to Accept Hepburn Medal Alongside Bacall

photo of Blythe Danner

The distinguished Tony- and Emmy Award-winning actress and environmental advocate Blythe Danner will accept one of two Katharine Hepburn Medals at a gala celebration of the launch of Bryn Mawr's Katharine Houghton Hepburn Center, the Center's planning committee has announced. The award honors "women whose lives, work and contributions embody the intelligence, drive and independence of Katharine Hepburn." The medals will be presented to Danner and screen legend Lauren Bacall at Philadelphia's Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday, Sept. 9. The gala, which will feature a video tribute to Katharine Houghton Hepburn '28, will be hosted by ABC News' Cynthia McFadden, who was a friend and confidante of Hepburn. It is one of several events marking the launch of the Center (for more information, see the Center's Web site at

Danner, who was born in Philadelphia and grew up in Rosemont, Pa., just down the street from Bryn Mawr, has been compared to Hepburn by critics and has reprised Hepburn roles: she played Amanda Bonner in the ABC television comedy series Adam's Rib, based on the Hepburn-Spencer Tracy classic film, and Tracy Lord in a revival of The Philadelphia Story at Lincoln Center, as well as Linda Seton in the Williamstown Theater Festival's production of Holiday.

Lauded by critics for the intelligence and depth of her performances, Danner is known for her arresting voice. A New York Times review that credits her with "the highest standard of American Shakespeare performance" notes that Danner "keeps her voice at its trademark cracking point, that throaty juncture where intelligence and sensuality meet." Another critic praises her "remarkable ability to create ravishing women without presenting herself as flawless. While she conveys intelligence, sensitivity and glamour, she also insists on injecting notes of silliness, insecurity and even pig-headedness. The resulting characterizations are all the more irresistible for being fully rounded."

Danner won a Tony for her Broadway debut in Butterflies Are Free. She has since earned three more Tony nominations, for her performance in the Broadway production of Harold Pinter's Betrayal, her Blanche DuBois in a 1988 revival of A Streetcar Named Desire, and her role in Stephen Sondheim's Follies in 2001. She has won praise for her performances in films such as the musical 1776, Lovin' Molly, The Great Santini, The Prince of Tides, Another Woman, and Husbands and Wives. More recent work includes Sylvia, in which she co-starred with her daughter, Gwyneth Paltrow and the comedies Meet the Parents and Meet the Fockers, as well as many television appearances.

Danner has been nominated for six Emmys. One nomination came in 2002 for the Lifetime movie We Were the Mulvaneys. 2005 brought her three nominations: one for her recurring role in the comedy series Will & Grace, one for the miniseries Back When We Were Grownups, and one for her supporting role in the Showtime series Huff, for which she took home the trophy. She has received two 2006 Emmy nominations.

Danner has been active as an environmentalist since the beginning of her career. She has worked with INFORM, an independent research organization that examines the effects of business practices on the environment and on human health, and she serves on several environmental advisory boards.

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