This dark beauty successfully made the transition from child performer to working adult actress. Of Hispanic heritage, Trini Alvarado began her show business career dancing with her family's flamenco...
Leave it to Hollywood to try to fool audiences into thinking that Walter Matthau and any woman could produce offspring in the form of Diane Keaton, Lisa Kudrow and Meg Ryan.
The three actresses, who, uh, aside from their gender have nothing but blond hair in common, co-star in Columbia Pictures' "Hanging Up" (opening today) as sisters dealing with an aging father (Matthau).
"Hanging Up" The Pointer Sisters they are not. How do three kids -- who in flashbacks appear close in age -- grow up into a mismatched trio wherein Keaton suddenly looks (at least) 15 years older than Ryan and Kudrow? Welcome to Hollywood-style gene splicing.
"Hanging Up" is just the latest example of mismatched sibling combos. Consider:
-- "Little Women": The lack of family genes is very obvious in Gillian Armstrong's 1994 remake featuring an Oscar-nominated turn by Winona Ryder. Ryder is but one of the four sisters; cast as her siblings are Claire Danes, Kirsten Dunst and Trini Alvarado. At least Ryder and Alvarado have the same hair color, but the fair red-headed Danes and dirty blond Dunst are off in left field, and on opposite ends at that.
-- "The Brothers McMullen": Actor-writer-director Edward Burns, Jack Mulcahy and Mike McGlone could never pass as brothers. In fact, Burns and McGlone, who reunite in the "Brothers McMullen" follow-up "She's the One," look absolutely nothing alike. Well, unless they had different fathers and mothers.
-- "Family Business": In this little-seen 1989 Sidney Lumet bomb, a son (Matthew Broderick) estranged from his father (Dustin Hoffman) enlists the help of his career-criminal grandfather (portrayed by a very Scottish Sean Connery) to pull off a heist. Broderick, Hoffman and Connery are never believable as family -- of this Earth, anyway. Connery begat Hoffman begat Broderick? Forget genetics, this is perhaps the most egregious example yet of star packaging gone awry. Speaking of Connery, witness the familial casting insanity in 1998's "Playing by Heart." Connery is married to Gena Rowlands, and their daughters are Gillian Anderson, Madeleine Stowe and Angelina Jolie. Uh, OK.
The problem also affects TV shows. Consider:
-- "Sisters": In this touchy-feely 1991-96 series, Sela Ward, Swoosie Kurtz and Julianne Phillips (Bruce Springsteen's ex-wife, the one with really full lips) are about the funniest mismatched trio on television since "The Three Stooges." The dark-haired Ward, who in her small cameo role at the beginning of the Harrison Ford starrer "The Fugitive" looks oddly like ice skater Nancy Kerrigan, would never be mistaken for the redhead Kurtz. Actually, does anyone in Hollywood resemble Kurtz?
"Eight Is Enough" -- "Eight Is Enough": Poor Adam Rich. He looked nothing like his non-mop-topped siblings on this 1970s show, and they looked nothing like him. (Which, at least, was consistent. The other faux siblings -- particularly the five actresses cast as the five Bradford sisters -- looked nothing like each other, either.) Apparently eight was not enough. "The Cosby Show" and even "The Brady Bunch" did it better.
-- "Family Ties": "I bet we've been together for a million years." So says the theme song from this 1982-89 sitcom, but take a look at the original Keaton siblings (Michael J. Fox, Justine Bateman and Tina Yothers) and you know that "Family Ties" even a million years couldn't make these three (later, four -- when Brian Bonsall joined the cast) look like family. Fox and the little Bonsall could pass as brothers. Heck, even Fox and Bateman could pass as siblings with a little stretch of the imagination, but where did Tina Yothers' Jennifer Keaton come from, with her big '80s blond hair? The adoption agency?
But fear not, for all is not lost. Casting directors have made some uncannily good decisions for siblings. Julia Roberts and Kyra Sedgwick work as sisters in "Something to Talk About." So the potential is out there.
And those Baldwin brothers sure do look a lot alike.
Played Anne Frank in the stage musical "Yours, Anne"
Debut in a TV-movie, "Dreams Don"t Die" (ABC)
TV debut as Goldilocks in "Unicorn Tales" (syndicated)
Co-starred with Michael J Fox in "The Frighteners"
Appeared in the Off-Broadway production of "Godspell"
Featured in "The Christmas Tree", an ABC TV-movie directed by Sally Field
Debut as guest on episodic TV, "Kate & Allie"
First screen collaboration with Gillian Armstrong, "Mrs. Soffel"
Made professional acting debut at age 9 in stage musical "Becca"
Moved into adult parts in "The Babe"
Began performing at age 7 with her family's Flamenco troupe (date approximate)
Born and raised in New York City
Starred in the ensemble of "Little Women", directed by Gillian Armstrong
Had breakthrough role as daughter to "Stella"
This dark beauty successfully made the transition from child performer to working adult actress. Of Hispanic heritage, Trini Alvarado began her show business career dancing with her family's flamenco troupe at age seven. Within two years, she had made her stage acting debut in the musical "Becca" and by age 11 was featured in the Broadway company of Elizabeth Swados' musical "Runaways". She debuted in features as a precocious pre-teen in Robert Young's quietly effective "Rich Kids" (1979). She subsequently proved to be a versatile and dependable performer, shifting comfortably between projects on the big and small screens and avoiding typecasting in Latina roles. Alvarado delivered touching performances in "ABC Afterschool Specials", as a shy girl who discovers her friends have accepted her only because she has a famous father in "A Movie Star's Daughter" (1979), and as an aspiring singer whose mother pressures her to study bookkeeping in "Starstruck" (1981). <p>After making her feature debut, Alvarado distinguished herself in a number of fine performances, including as Diane Keaton's daughter in "Mrs. Soffel" (1984), as Maureen Stapleton's granddaughter working at a Catlike Mountain resort hotel in the underrated "Sweet Lorraine" (1987) the clunky musical "Satisfaction" (1988), co-starring Julia Roberts, as the daughter Bette Midler sacrifices all for in "Stella" (1990). She was cast opposite John Goodman in "The Babe" (1992), playing the fragile first wife of the baseball legend. before landing her most high profile film role as Meg, the oldest, conventional March sister in Gillian Armstrong's acclaimed remake of "Little Women" (1994). Unfortunately, her follow-up was the first role to take advantage of her familial heritage, playing Anjelica Huston's daughter in the critically-lambasted "The Perez Family" (1995). Alvarado fared better as the doctor living in a haunted house in Peter Jackson's "The Frighteners" (1996).