Stars of Stage, Screen and TV
Kevin Kline is no slacker himself. Dubbed "the American Olivier," he had already claimed two Tony awards by the time he made his film debut in 1982 as Meryl Streep's lover in Sophie's Choice. The following year he met his actress wife, Phoebe Cates, while auditioning for The Big Chill. She's been at his side for everything since: a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for A Fish Called Wanda; Golden Globe and Emmy nominations; a son and daughter, 22 and 19. Kline shakes his head while reciting their ages. "Sometimes I'll think, 'Wasn't it just two seconds ago I was that young?' Then I'll go, 'Nah! Not even close.' "
Raised in Chicago and the Mississippi Delta, Morgan Freeman turned to acting after a stint in the U.S. Air Force. But superstardom didn't hit until after age 50, with a remarkable string of films including Glory, Driving Miss Daisy, The Shawshank Redemption, Million Dollar Baby (his Oscar winner) and Invictus. When a car he was driving flipped several times on the way home from a party in 2008, Freeman, dad to four grown children, lost nearly all function in his left hand — a great hardship for a lefty. He's wearing a compression glove today to keep blood from pooling. "I've tried everything, even leech therapy," he says. "Only time the pain doesn't bother me is when I'm working."
Michael Douglas still comes off as the showbiz royal of the group. He radiantly glides, straight from vacation, in a tailored sports jacket and crisp white shirt, stretching out his arms at the sight of his "boys." By his mid-30s, Kirk's oldest son was a household name himself, with hits like The Streets of San Francisco and The China Syndrome — and later, Wall Street, Fatal Attraction and Basic Instinct. The actor says the stage 4 throat cancer he battled in 2010 is behind him: "You're generally out of the woods after two years." Douglas and his wife, actress Catherine Zeta-Jones, who have two school-age children, recently confirmed they're taking some time apart. Douglas has an older son, Cameron, 34, from his previous marriage, who is serving a 10-year sentence on charges related to a 2010 drug conviction.
What more is there to say about Robert De Niro? The man who made "You talkin' to me?" from Taxi Driver, the go-to line for every would-be (probably-shouldn't-be) thespian — he largely improvised that scene, by the way — deserves lasting acclaim for any one of his memorable roles: young Vito Corleone in The Godfather Part II, Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull, the ex-CIA crank who makes Ben Stiller's life hell in Meet the Parents. He is also an entrepreneur, having cofounded Tribeca Productions film studio, the Tribeca Film Festival, and hotels and restaurants including New York's Greenwich Hotel.
In person, De Niro, a father of six and grandfather of four, can appear surprisingly avuncular at first. He arrives wearing rumpled jeans and a fisherman's cap with a New York Times tucked under his arm. Waiting for wardrobe, he proudly shows off pictures on his phone of his adorable daughter Helen Grace, who's nearly 2. But just like in the movies, he can shift from cuddly to intimidating simply by letting his mouth move from an upturned to a downturned U.
Fortunately, everything's looking up at the moment, and it's best if it stays so.
"Hey, AARP, keep the martinis coming!" De Niro says as the photo shoot hits full tilt on the cocktail lounge set. Right away, Mr. D, right away.