Thursday, March 26, 2009

Acting Families (3/1/06)

Acting has been called the world's second oldest profession, so pity the caveman storyteller who was met with, "He's good, but his father was better." The tradition of acting roles and talent being handed down from generation to generation goes back many centuries. Commedia dell'Arte troupes were composed of extended families, with children growing into roles originated by their parents. Some Japanese kabuki troupes go back as far as 17 generations, and as performers become more adept at their roles, they are adopted into families to carry on the work -- and the names -- of their ancestors. In the West, such acting dynasties as the Barrymores, the Redgraves, the Douglases, the Fondas, and the Sheens have kept the family business going for more than half a century. Of course, not every family is so fortunate, as Joey Travolta and Frank Stallone can attest. Will celebrity babies like Apple Blythe Alison Martin, Maddox Jolie, or Moxie CrimeFighter Jillette succeed in their parents' trade? Only Thespis knows -- and he's not talking.

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