15 Celebrity Parents Who Survived Acting with Their Kids
by Jennifer Lafferty
Parent-child relationships can be complicated, especially when the two generations are working side-by-side. It’s certainly no different in the celebrity world. However, many actors work surprisingly well with their children, projecting a natural chemistry and rapport that isn’t easily imitated. From Meryl Streep and Mamie Gummer to Will and Jaden Smith, here are the most interesting parent-child onscreen collaborations.
Meryl Streep & Mamie Gummer
Meryl Streep and daughter Mamie Gummer co-starred in 2015’s Ricki and the Flash, about an aging rock singer (Streep) who reconnects with her grown children when her daughter (Gummer) is devastated by the sudden breakup of her own marriage.
John Travolta & Ella Bleu
John Travolta co-starred with his daughter, Ella Bleu Travolta, in 2009’s Old Dogs. Ella actually played the daughter of Robin Williams’ character, who discovers he fathered 7-year-old twins. Ella’s mother, Kelly Preston, also appeared in the film.
Charlie & Martin Sheen
Considering how different they seem, it’s surprising that Martin Sheen and son Charlie have worked together so frequently, beginning with 1979’s Apocalypse Now. Martin later appeared on Charlie’s TV series Two and a Half Men and Anger Management.
Gwyneth Paltrow & Blythe Danner
There’s an uncanny similarity between the appearance and onscreen persona of Blythe Danner and daughter Gwyneth Paltrow, making them perfectly suited to play mother and daughter in the 2003 biopic Sylvia, starring Paltrow as troubled poet Sylvia Plath.
Angelina & Vivienne Jolie-Pitt
When Angelina Jolie-Pitt portrayed the non-maternal title role in Maleficent, she was joined by three of her kids. Zahara and Pax had walk-on roles but Vivienne played young Princess Aurora and had the whole family coaching her.
Billy Ray & Miley Cyrus
First actress/singer Miley Cyrus made her screen debut on celebrity dad Billy Ray Cyrus’ early 2000s TV drama Doc. Then, just a few years later, Billy Ray was co-starring on Miley’s show Hannah Montana.
Tom & Colin Hanks
Colin Hanks has racked up a lot of acting credits over the past 20 years but the actor’s first role was as a male page in his father Tom Hanks’ 1996 music dramedy That Thing You Do!.
Johnny & Lily-Rose Depp
Lily-Rose Depp (pictured right) appeared in her father’s 2014 movie Tusk and recently co-starred with him in the spinoff, Yoga Hosers. Johnny didn’t want Lily-Rose to act but admitted, “…she’s got the goods—she can certainly deliver.”
Jane & Henry Fonda
Art imitated life in the poignant 1981 drama On Golden Pond, about a troubled father-daughter relationship. The film starred celebrity father-daughter Henry and Jane Fonda, who also had a difficult relationship. Henry earned an Oscar for his performance.
Ben & Jerry Stiller
Ben and father Jerry Stiller have acted together in several projects including Zoolander, but one particularly memorable collaboration was when Ben played Jerry’s father in a hilarious flashback sequence of Jerry’s series King of Queens.
Angelina Jolie-Pitt & Jon Voight
Angelina Jolie-Pitt and dad Jon Voight, who have had their differences in real life, worked together during a truce when they co-starred in the 2001 film Lara Croft Tomb Raider. Voight played Lara’s father, Lord Richard Croft.
Jada Pinkett-Smith & Willow Smith
Willow Smith has had the opportunity to work with both of her famous parents. In 2008 she joined her mother on Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, voicing Baby Gloria with Jada Pinkett-Smith voicing Gloria.
Kirk & Michael Douglas
Kirk and Michael Douglas finally collaborated on-screen in 2003’s It Runs in the Family, which also co-starred Michael’s son, Cameron Douglas. Michael explained, “We’ve found a lovely script that’s not simply us venting our demons.”
Demi Moore & Rumer Willis
Striptease may not seem like the ideal project for a celebrity mother-daughter collaboration, but Demi Moore worked with daughter Rumer Willis in this controversial film, which premiered when Rumer was just 7. Their first movie together was Now and Then.
Will & Jaden Smith
In 2006, Will starred alongside son Jaden Smith in the touching biographical drama The Pursuit of Happyness, a film about a down-on-his-luck single father, struggling to make a life for himself and his young son. The elder Smith was nominated for an Oscar for his performance.