Blythe Danner says she feels “lucky to be alive” after revealing she is in remission from cancer.
The Emmy-winning actor and mother of Gwyneth Paltrow shared with People Monday that she was diagnosed in 2018 with adenoid cystic carcinoma, a rare form of oral cancer. Her late husband, producer and director Bruce Paltrow, also had oral cancer before his death at age 58 in 2002.
“Everyone is touched by cancer in some way, but it’s unusual for a couple to have the same cancer,” she told the outlet.
She added that when she first was diagnosed, she remembered looking “up at heaven and said to Bruce, ‘Are you lonely up there?’ It’s a sneaky disease. But I’m fine and dandy now. And I’m lucky to be alive.”
Danner, who is best known for her roles in “Meet the Parents” and “Will & Grace,” told People that she kept her diagnosis secret “for a long time” from her children, Gwyneth Paltrow and director Jake Paltrow, because she didn’t want them to “worry.”
Gwyneth Paltrow told the outlet she was “obviously very shocked” when she heard the news.
“It was scary,” Gwyneth Paltrow told People. “And it felt really eerie because it was so similar [to my dad’s].”
Bruce Paltrow died from “complications from pneumonia and a recurrence of throat cancer,” according to his 2002 obituary in The Guardian. It is unclear whether he had the exact same kind of oral cancer as Danner, but the coincidence is striking.
Gwyneth Paltrow has been public about how her father’s death was particularly difficult for her. In 2015, she admitted to Howard Stern that she considered her dad “the love of my life” and that Coldplay’s 2005 song “Fix You” was written about her. Gwyneth Paltrow was married to Coldplay frontman Chris Martin from 2003 to 2016.
“‘Fix You’ was about him trying to put me back together after my dad died,” Gwyneth Paltrow told Stern at the time.
Danner also reflected on her feelings for her late husband while talking with People.
“You never get over that kind of loss,” Danner told the magazine. “Bruce was the heart of our family. And life is so much paler without him around. But grief is the price we pay for love.”