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Happy National Siblings Day!

by Mark Brinkerhoff

Fontaine and de Havilland in 1967 at a Marlene Dietrich show

“I bequeath all my beauty to my younger sister Joan, because she has none.”
- Olivia de Havilland, according to her “will,” age nine
 Apocryphal? Who can say. Delicious? 100 percent!
Though chronicled to death (at TFE and elsewhere), the purported feud between the most famous siblings of Hollywood’s Golden Age endures like no other. Why? Because it seems silly and pointless in retrospect, as most sibling rivalries and familial angst do. But rather than dwell on the negative, let’s turn our attention to more positive outpourings of mutual love and respect, shall we?
Here are 10 of the more famous (in some cases infamous) siblings over the years on the ties that bind—and unbind—them to each other, not to mention the public’s imagination...
Peter and Jane Fonda in the 1940s as children
“My sister came to my rescue several times, emotionally, and I’m glad for that. We have a very close relationship.”
- Peter Fonda on sister Jane (circa 1989)
Shirley Maclaine and Warren Beatty at the 1965 Oscars. She presented Best Director and he presented Best Art Direction
“The difference between us is sex. I can take it or leave it. But my kid brother ... well, now, he enjoys his reputation. Sex is the most important thing in his life. It's his hobby, you could say.” -
Shirley MacLaine on brother Warren Beatty
Beau and Jeff Bridges in 1989's "The Fabulous Baker Boys"
“It’s not a competition. It’s like we’re on the same team.”
- Jeff Bridges on brother Beau (circa 2014)
Angelina Jolie and James Haven at the 1999 Oscars. Angelina won for "Girl, Interrupted"
“Jamie, I have nothing without you. You are the strongest, most amazing man that I have ever known, and I love you.”
- Angelina Jolie to brother James Haven (circa 2000)
Kate & Rooney Mara in 2010
“Luckily my sister and I know that [acting isn’t everything.] While it may be both of our passions, it is just a job at the end of the day.”
- Kate Mara on sister Rooney and their shared interest (circa 2014)
Pablo and Liev Schreiber in 2015
“I was just always very careful to separate my image and my work life from his. [But] Liev and I have a really nice relationship. He’s an incredibly talented actor, and I look up to him a lot.”
- Pablo Schreiber on his brother Liev (circa 2011)
Maggie and Jake Gyllenhaal at the premiere of 2018's "The Kindergarten Teacher"
“What's interesting is that Maggie knows how much the choices that I make reflect what's going on in my life. Admittedly, probably, as my sister, and as someone who loves me—like, she can't wait to see me become a father.”
- Jake Gyllenhaal on sister Maggie (circa 2015)
“I’d say she’s always good in everything. Seriously, I think it’s true!”
- John Cusack on sister Joan (circa 2017)
Beyoncé and Solange Knowles in 2017
“My sister and I truly are best friends.”
- Solange Knowles on her and her sister Beyoncé’s relationship
Patricia Arquette and the late Alexis Arquette
"To me, Alexis was really my great vanguard. I think, truthfully, every single trans person in the United States is a vanguard because it's a very difficult life to live.”
- Patricia Arquette on her late sister, Alexis (circa 2017)
As someone with four siblings of my own, let me say that appreciating our brothers and/or sisters while we have them, for as long as we have them (and they us), can be its own reward. The 2000 film/masterpiece, You Can Count on Me, sums it up beautifully:
I’m really glad you’re home.”




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Reader Comments (19)

how come there are not that many sibling movies? You Can Count on Me is fantastic and the best thing imo Lonergan/Linney?Ruffalo have made in their prolific careers. More sibling dramas please.

April 10, 2019 | Registered CommenterMurtada Elfadl

When Peter Fonda became a great star around the sixties and seventies Olivia De Havilland and Joan Fontaine's career were no longer in full swing for a long time. Today Peter Fonda is best remembered as Henry's son, Jane's brother and Bridget's father, and we keep talking about De Havilland and Fontaine - their lives, their films and their feud. Currently Angelina Jolie and Beyoncé are two stars. In the future, if they're lucky, the two will be footnotes, and we will still be talking about Olivia and Joan - their lives, their films and their feud.

April 10, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMelchiades

John's right: Joan's good in everything, even when the rest of the movie isn't.

April 10, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterCash


IN HER SHOES with Cameron Diaz and Toni Collette is an amazing sibling movie!!

April 10, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMe

More shows on siblings?? Hmmm, does Games o Throne count?? 😂

April 10, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterClaran

Little Women is a pretty famous, much-filmed sibling drama.

April 10, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterCash

I like The Skeleton Twins with Kirsten Wiig. My relationship with one of my sisters (we were one year apart) was very similar to the one depicted in the movie (singing songs together as a duo, including the very specific song used in the movie).

April 10, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPedro

I agree with “Me.” In Her Shoes is an outstanding, completely undervalued film. Toni and Cameron are mind blowing together.

April 10, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJS

I’m here for the “In Her Shoes” love! Diaz and Collette are phenomenal in that!

April 10, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterDAVID

When i watch the title i inmediatelly think in the Gyllenhaals. Both are so talented and beautiful, they are my favorites.

And talking about siblings in movies Anne Hathaway and Rosemarie DeWitt plays to perfection the relationship between brothers/sisters in Rachel Getting Married.

April 11, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterCésar Gaytán

Ditto the In Her Shoes love. Collette, MacLaine, and especially Diaz all should have gotten Oscar nominations.

April 11, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMichael R

Hannah and Her Sisters is a terrific examination of sibling friendship and rivalry. The scene in which the three of them have lunch is fantastic.

April 11, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterEdward L.

Isn't Whatever Happened to Baby Jane the ultimate siblings picture?

April 11, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterUA

Yep, Joan Cusack IS good in everything. I can't think of a film where she at least wasn't giving it her all.

April 11, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterEvangelina

Shoutout to some of the higher profile writing/directing siblings:
The Wachowskis
Allen and Albert Hughes
Anthony and Joe Russo
Bobby and Peter Farrelly
Joe and Herman Mankiewicz
and, of course, Joel and Ethan Coen!

April 11, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterGuestguestguest

While we're adding sibling movies, shout out for Crimes of the Heart.

April 11, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah Lipp

Wait, why hasn't anyone mentioned August Osage County (perhaps because it wasn't that good...but surely it's all about siblings)

April 11, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPam

Watch the movie Hermano. Terrific and heartbreaking.

April 12, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMe34

Thought for sure that the Coen Bros would be on here. The Wachowskis? The Duffer Bros? So many great sibling duos? And if we're including entire families, how about the Wayans? But you could pick any two bros (Keenan & Damon, Shawn & Marlon), or even father/son lol (Damon Sr. and Damon Jr.)!

April 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterIan

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