Original image

The Quick 10: Actors Who Shared the Spotlight With Dad

Original image

Can you imagine going to work with your dad every day? Maybe you already do. My dad works for the railroad and I can't really picture myself out there helping him repair tracks. Working with dear old dad is all in a day's work for these actors, though.

1. Kiefer and Donald Sutherland. Nope, you didn't miss a Donald Sutherland cameo in 24. The father-son acting duo have appeared together just twice: once in the movie adaptation of John Grisham's A Time to Kill and once many years before in Kiefer's acting debut—1983's Max Dugan Returns.

2. Being a big Flight of the Conchords fan, I know Bret McKenzie more than I know his dad. But if quirky New Zealand folk rock isn't really your thing, but Lord of the Rings is, then you're no doubt more familiar with Peter McKenzie. He played the elf Elendil in The Fellowship of the Ring, which Bret had a brief cameo in. Bret played an unnamed elf that was in the background of a scene. Fans quickly spotted the attractive, anonymous elf stealing the scene and named him "Figwit," short for "Frodo is grea... who is THAT?!" He gained quite the cult following.

3. It's not unusual for Ben Stiller to make a movie that his dad Jerry pops up in. But Jerry has the chops—back when Ben was just a twinkle in his daddy's eye, Jerry was one half of Stiller and Meara, a comedy duo that was quite successful in the "˜60s and "˜70s. Meara just happens to be Ben's mom. You can see Ben and Jerry together in Zoolander, The Heartbreak Kid, Heavyweights and Hot Pursuit.

4. The actor who plays Bill Weasley in the upcoming Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is one Domhnall Gleeson. His dad, Brendan Gleeson, has played Mad Eye Moody since he first appeared on the scene in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. He has been in many other movies, though - he's one of those actors that makes you exclaim, "Hey, it's that guy!" in the middle of the movie theater. You might know him from In Bruges, The Village, Cold Mountain, Gangs of New York, 28 Days Later and Braveheart, among other things.

5. It didn't go so well, but in 2003, three generations of Douglases (Kirk, Michael, and Michael's son Cameron) starred together in a movie called It Runs in the Family. Not surprisingly, the movie was about three generations of a successful family, although the members of the fictional family were lawyers, not actors. And the connection goes even further—playing Kirk Douglas' wife in the movie was his then-real-life wife, Diana Dill. The movie didn't go over so well, commercially or critically.

6. Godfather fans already know this one, but for the rest of you, the trivia is too good to leave out. Francis Ford Coppola's daughter Sofia Coppola appeared in many of her dad's films as an infant. In fact, she played the baby boy being christened in the first movie of the trilogy. She also had parts in The Outsiders, Peggy Sue Got Married, and The Godfather parts two and three.

7. The Arquettes are one of the most famous acting families in Hollywood—you've probably heard of David, Patricia, Alexis and Rosanna. How about Lewis? The Arquette patriarch was an actor too. Lewis Arquette appeared in several of his children's movies, including Patricia's Little Nicky and David's Scream 2. Lewis' dad was also an actor. Cliff Arquette was best known for his character Charley Weaver.

8. Martin Sheen played Emilio Estevez's dad in The War at Home. Emilio was also an extra in Apocalypse Now—he played a messenger boy—but his scenes were deleted. Sheen has also appeared alongside his other son, Charlie, in Wall Street, Spin City and Two and a Half Men, and other film projects.

9. John Carradine and David Carradine. Back before the Carradine brothers were famous, John Carradine was a big-time actor, known for some of the best Westerns ever made. He did a complete 180 from his most famous roles to star in three episodes of Kung Fu with his son David in the early "˜70s.

10. Robert Alda and Alan Alda. Alan might be the better-known of the two these days, but Robert has been in show business since his vaudeville days of the 1930s. He played George Gershwin in Rhapsody in Blue and starred in Guys and Dolls on Broadway in 1950. Alan, of course, became famous for his role as Hawkeye Pierce on M*A*S*H, which is where the father-son duo ended up working together. Robert made two guest appearances on the show.
* * * * *
These are just a few examples. There are tons of acting families in Hollywood, so if you've got a great example, be sure to let us know in the comments.

And Happy Father's Day to the two special dads in my life—my own dad, of course, and my husband, who is trying out the title for the first time this year. Hope you all get to spend some time with your dads this weekend!


Original image
Michael Campanella/Getty Images
10 Memorable Neil deGrasse Tyson Quotes
Original image
Michael Campanella/Getty Images

Neil deGrasse Tyson is America's preeminent badass astrophysicist. He's a passionate advocate for science, NASA, and education. He's also well-known for a little incident involving Pluto. And the man holds nearly 20 honorary doctorates (in addition to his real one). In honor of his 59th birthday, here are 10 of our favorite Neil deGrasse Tyson quotes.


"The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it."
—From Real Time with Bill Maher.


"As a fraction of your tax dollar today, what is the total cost of all spaceborne telescopes, planetary probes, the rovers on Mars, the International Space Station, the space shuttle, telescopes yet to orbit, and missions yet to fly?' Answer: one-half of one percent of each tax dollar. Half a penny. I’d prefer it were more: perhaps two cents on the dollar. Even during the storied Apollo era, peak NASA spending amounted to little more than four cents on the tax dollar." 
—From Space Chronicles


"Once upon a time, people identified the god Neptune as the source of storms at sea. Today we call these storms hurricanes ... The only people who still call hurricanes acts of God are the people who write insurance forms."
—From Death by Black Hole


"Countless women are alive today because of ideas stimulated by a design flaw in the Hubble Space Telescope." (Editor's note: technology used to repair the Hubble Space Telescope's optical problems led to improved technology for breast cancer detection.)
—From Space Chronicles



"I knew Pluto was popular among elementary schoolkids, but I had no idea they would mobilize into a 'Save Pluto' campaign. I now have a drawer full of hate letters from hundreds of elementary schoolchildren (with supportive cover letters from their science teachers) pleading with me to reverse my stance on Pluto. The file includes a photograph of the entire third grade of a school posing on their front steps and holding up a banner proclaiming, 'Dr. Tyson—Pluto is a Planet!'"
—From The Sky Is Not the Limit


"In [Titanic], the stars above the ship bear no correspondence to any constellations in a real sky. Worse yet, while the heroine bobs ... we are treated to her view of this Hollywood sky—one where the stars on the right half of the scene trace the mirror image of the stars in the left half. How lazy can you get?"
—From Death by Black Hole


"On Friday the 13th, April 2029, an asteroid large enough to fill the Rose Bowl as though it were an egg cup will fly so close to Earth that it will dip below the altitude of our communication satellites. We did not name this asteroid Bambi. Instead, we named it Apophis, after the Egyptian god of darkness and death."
—From Space Chronicles


"[L]et us not fool ourselves into thinking we went to the Moon because we are pioneers, or discoverers, or adventurers. We went to the Moon because it was the militaristically expedient thing to do."
—From The Sky Is Not the Limit


Perhaps we've never been visited by aliens because they have looked upon Earth and decided there's no sign of intelligent life.
Read more at:
Perhaps we've never been visited by aliens because they have looked upon Earth and decided there's no sign of intelligent life.
Read more at:

"Perhaps we've never been visited by aliens because they have looked upon Earth and decided there's no sign of intelligent life."


A still from Steven Spielberg's E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
Universal Studios
"[I]f an alien lands on your front lawn and extends an appendage as a gesture of greeting, before you get friendly, toss it an eightball. If the appendage explodes, then the alien was probably made of antimatter. If not, then you can proceed to take it to your leader."
—From Death by Black Hole
Original image
Getty Images
40 Fun Facts About Sesame Street
Original image
Getty Images

Now in its 47th season, Sesame Street is one of television's most iconic programs—and it's not just for kids. We're big fans of the Street, and to prove it, here are some of our favorite Sesame facts from previous stories and our Amazing Fact Generator.

Sesame Workshop

1. Oscar the Grouch used to be orange. Jim Henson decided to make him green before season two.

2. How did Oscar explain the color change? He said he went on vacation to the very damp Swamp Mushy Muddy and turned green overnight.

3. During a 2004 episode, Cookie Monster said that before he started eating cookies, his name was Sid.

4. In 1980, C-3PO and R2-D2 visited Sesame Street. They played games, sang songs, and R2-D2 fell in love with a fire hydrant.

5. Mr. Snuffleupagus has a first name—Aloysius

6. Ralph Nader stopped by in 1988 and sang "a consumer advocate is a person in your neighborhood."

7. Caroll Spinney said he based Oscar's voice on a cab driver from the Bronx who brought him to the audition.

8. In 1970, Ernie reached #16 on the Billboard Hot 100 with the timeless hit "Rubber Duckie."

9. One of Count von Count's lady friends is Countess von Backwards, who's also obsessed with counting but likes to do it backwards.

10. Sesame Street made its Afghanistan debut in 2011 with Baghch-e-Simsim (Sesame Garden). Big Bird, Grover and Elmo are involved.

11. According to Muppet Wiki, Oscar the Grouch and Count von Count were minimized on Baghch-e-Simsim "due to cultural taboos against trash and vampirism."

12. Before Giancarlo Esposito was Breaking Bad's super intense Gus Fring, he played Big Bird's camp counselor Mickey in 1982.

13. Thankfully, those episodes are available on YouTube.

14. How big is Big Bird? 8'2". (Pictured with First Lady Pat Nixon.)

15. In 2002, the South African version (Takalani Sesame) added an HIV-positive Muppet named Kami.

16. Six Republicans on the House Commerce Committee wrote a letter to PBS president Pat Mitchell warning that Kami was not appropriate for American children, and reminded Mitchell that their committee controlled PBS' funding.

17. Sesame Street's resident game show host Guy Smiley was using a pseudonym. His real name was Bernie Liederkrantz.

18. Bert and Ernie have been getting questioned about their sexuality for years. Ernie himself, as performed by Steve Whitmere, has weighed in: “All that stuff about me and Bert? It’s not true. We’re both very happy, but we’re not gay,”

19. A few years later, Bert (as performed by Eric Jacobson) answered the same question by saying, “No, no. In fact, sometimes we are not even friends; he can be a pain in the neck.”

20. In the first season, both Superman and Batman appeared in short cartoons produced by Filmation. In one clip, Batman told Bert and Ernie to stop arguing and take turns choosing what’s on TV.

21. In another segment, Superman battled a giant chimp.

22. Telly was originally "Television Monster," a TV-obsessed Muppet whose eyes whirled around as he watched.

23. According to Sesame Workshop, Elmo is the only non-human to testify before Congress.

24. He lobbied for more funding for music education, so that "when Elmo goes to school, there will be the instruments to play."

25. In the early 1990s, soon after Jim Henson’s passing, a rumor circulated that Ernie would be killed off in order to teach children about death, as they'd done with Mr. Hooper.

26. According to Snopes, the rumor may have spread thanks to New Hampshire college student, Michael Tabor, who convinced his graduating class to wear “Save Ernie” beanies and sign a petition to persuade Sesame Workshop to let Ernie live.

27. By the time Tabor was corrected, the newspapers had already picked up the story.

28. Sesame Street’s Executive Producer Carol-Lynn Parente joined Sesame Workshop as a production assistant and has worked her way to the top.

29. Originally, Count von Count was more sinister. He could hypnotize and stun people.

30. According to Sesame Workshop, all Sesame Street's main Muppets have four fingers except Cookie Monster, who has five.

31. The episode with Mr. Hooper's funeral aired on Thanksgiving Day in 1983. That date was chosen because families were more likely to be together at that time, in case kids had questions or needed emotional support.

32. Mr. Hooper’s first name was Harold.

33. Big Bird sang "Bein' Green" at Jim Henson's memorial service.

34. As Chris Higgins put it, the performance was "devastating."

35. Oscar's Israeli counterpart is Moishe Oofnik, whose last name means “grouch” in Hebrew.

36. Nigeria's version of Cookie Monster eats yams. His catchphrase: "ME WANT YAM!"

37. Sesame's Roosevelt Franklin ran a school, where he spoke in scat and taught about Africa. Some parents hated him, so in 1975 he got the boot, only to inspire Gob Bluth’s racist puppet Franklin on Arrested Development 28 years later.

38. Our good friend and contributor Eddie Deezen was the voice of Donnie Dodo in the 1985 classic Follow That Bird.

39. Cookie Monster evolved from The Wheel-Stealer—a snack-pilfering puppet Jim Henson created to promote Wheels, Crowns and Flutes in the 1960s.

40. This puppet later was seen eating a computer in an IBM training film and on The Ed Sullivan Show.

Thanks to Stacy Conradt, Joe Hennes, Drew Toal, and Chris Higgins for their previous Sesame coverage!

An earlier version of this article appeared in 2012.


More from mental floss studios