15 Couples Who Collaborated

Image credit: 
Getty Images

1. Wayne Allwine and Russi Taylor

They're not household names, but you probably recognize their voices. Disney sound effects editor Wayne Allwine, the voice of Mickey Mouse from 1977 to his death in 2009, met voice actress Russi Taylor when she became the voice of Minnie Mouse in 1986. The two fell in love and married in 1992. No wonder they had so much animated chemistry.

2. Charles and Ray Eames

Wikimedia Commons

It was the beginning of a beautiful aesthetic when architect/instructor Charles Eames met art student Bernice "Ray" Kaiser at Michigan's Cranbook Academy of Art in 1940. They married a year later after Charles proposed with a letter beginning, "I am 34 (almost) years old, singel (again) and broke. I love you very much and would like to marry you very very soon." The couple moved to Los Angeles, where they built the iconic Eames House and designed mid-century modern furniture still coveted today. As if by design, Ray Eames died on August 21, 1988, exactly 10 years after her husband.

3. Gerry Goffin and Carole King

Jeff Meshel

Songwriting brought Gerry Goffin and Carole King together when they met at Queens College in 1958. They married a year later after 17-year-old King got pregnant and soon joined the Brill Building song publishing firm Aldon Music. With Goffin penning the lyrics and King composing the melody, the couple wrote some of the biggest hits of the '60s, including "The Loco-Motion," "(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman," and "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?" The two worked amicably after their divorce in 1968, but King eventually found her own voice with the 1971 album Tapestry. King recorded new songs, along with some of the hits she wrote with her ex, and was the first female solo artist to win Grammys for both Record and Song of the Year.

4. Marina Abramović and Ulay

Serbian performance artist Marina Abramović had just begun making a name for herself when she fell in love with German performance artist Ulay in 1976. The pair collaborated on such pieces as Breathing In/Breathing Out, in which they rested mouth-to-mouth and inhaled each other's breath until they passed out. When they decided to part ways in 1988, they turned their breakup into another work of art. Abramović and Ulay each walked the Great Wall of China from opposite ends, meeting in the middle to say their goodbyes. They didn't see each other until 22 years later, when Ulay surprised Abramović as she silently performed The Artist Is Present at her 2010 MoMA retrospective. Watch what happened when they finally reunited (video NSFW):

5. Pierre and Marie Curie

Getty Images

The couple that discovers spontaneous radioactivity together, stays together. Physicist Pierre Curie met his chemist wife Marie through a mutual, science-minded friend. When they married in 1895, Marie used a lab at her husband's workplace, Ecole Supérieure de Physique et de Chimie de Paris. The couple explored radioactivity with fellow physicist Henri Becquerel and shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1903. (Marie alone received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1911 for the discovery of the elements radium and polonium.) In 1935, their daughter Irène Curie followed in their footsteps and won a Nobel Prize in Chemistry with her own husband.

6. Lily Tomlin and Jane Wagner

Getty Images

Comedian Lily Tomlin met comedy writer Jane Wagner when they developed monologues by Edith Ann, one of Tomlin's most popular Laugh-In characters, into the 1972 comedy album And That's The Truth. It began a lifetime collaboration. Wagner has been the funny woman behind the funny woman ever since, writing a number of movies and TV specials starring Tomlin. But the couple was totally serious when they married on December 31, 2013 after 42 years together.

7. Bob Kersee and Jackie Joyner-Kersee

Getty Images

It was work at first sight when three-time Olympic gold medalist Jackie Joyner met Bob Kersee, her track and field coach at UCLA. Under his guidance, Joyner won the 1982 and 1983 NCAA heptathlons and the 1984 Olympic silver medal in the same event during college. (Kersee had quite the track record. He also coached Olympic gold medalist Florence "Flo Jo" Griffith-Joyner, who married Jackie Joyner's Olympic gold medalist brother.) When Joyner graduated, she and Kersee took their relationship to the next level. He continued coaching her and the two married in 1986. Kersee allegedly told Joyner not to hyphenate her name until she broke a world record. She made it happen at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, winning gold in the heptathlon. Her 7291 point score still hasn't been beaten.

8. Henry and Phoebe Ephron

Sometimes writing runs in the family. Henry and Phoebe Ephron married in 1934 and worked as a Hollywood screenwriting team for 20 years. Their most notable work was the film adaptation of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel in 1956. But their biggest contribution to the arts is probably their four daughters—Nora, Delia, Hallie, and Amy—who all grew up to be writers.

9. Stan and Jan Berenstain

Wikimedia Commons

The couple behind the beloved Berenstain Bears children's book series met in 1941 on their first day of classes at the Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Art. They used their art skills during World War II—with Stan working as a medical illustrator and Jan drafting designs for the Army Corps of Engineers. In 1946, the future Mr. and Mrs. Berenstain made their weddings rings out of aluminum scraps salvaged from an aircraft factory. The couple's two sons inspired their magazine cartoon "It's All in the Family," as well as illustrated books about pregnancy, child-rearing, and the birds and the bees. In 1962, they switched over to bears with The Big Honey Hunt. The 300+ stories about Pa, Ma, Brother, and Sister Bear became elementary school classics.

10. Robert and Michelle King

Getty Images

TV writing/life partners Robert and Michelle King co-wrote their first TV show, the legal drama In Justice, in 2006. It was cancelled after just one season. Three years later, they tried it again with a new legal drama inspired in part by the Eliot Spitzer prostitution scandal. The Good Wife remains one of most critically-acclaimed shows on TV.

11. Donald and Nancy Featherstone

Huffington Post

Massachusetts artist Donald Featherstone was a single guy when he invented the iconic plastic flamingo back in 1958. When he married wife Nancy in 1978, they embarked on an ongoing project—wearing matching outfits for the last 35 years. Nancy started by sewing matching shirts and soon graduated to pants, sweaters, and even coats. The couple coordinates their outfits every day, no matter the weather, even when they're not together. Their favorite print: flamingos.

12. Jack and Meg White

Getty Images

Jack and Meg White of the White Stripes were known for doing things a little differently. Their album covers and clothing were strictly limited to the colors red, black, and white, and they recorded music on antiquated equipment. They insisted that they were brother and sister, even after their marriage certificate surfaced on the Internet. (It turns out, they'd been married since 1996 and Jack took Meg's last name.) The creative couple divorced in 2000 and won their first Grammy Award four years later. The White Stripes called it quits in 2011.

13. Ross Bagdasarian, Jr. and Janice Karman

Zimbio

When singer Janice Karman married film producer Ross Bagdasarian Jr. in 1979, she was marrying into a family business—a very high-pitched family business. Bagdasarian's father created and voiced each member of Alvin and the Chipmunks back in 1958 and won multiple Grammy Awards. "The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)" was even nominated for Record of the Year in 1959, competing with hits from Perry Como, Peggy Lee, and Frank Sinatra. (Yes, seriously.) Bagdasarian Sr. died in 1972, leaving the legacy of the Chipmunks to his children. Together, his eldest son and the daughter-in-law he never knew revived the act, producing new Alvin and the Chipmunks albums and a TV series from 1983 to 1990. Bagdasarian, Jr. was the voice of Alvin, Simon, and Dave, while Kamran played Theodore and all three of the Chipettes. 

14. Anonymous Canadian Yacht Owners

Wikimedia Commons

What's a wealthy couple to do when they get bored entertaining friends on their yacht? In 1954, one unknown Canadian husband and wife invented a dice rolling game they cleverly called "The Yacht Game." When they asked toy entrepreneur Edwin Lowe to make game sets for their friends, he made them a deal: 1000 Yacht Game sets for the full rights. Lowe renamed the game Yahtzee and sold it to the Milton Bradley Company in 1973. The original inventors never made a dime. Then again, they already had a yacht.

15. Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley

Getty Images 

Who says old married couples start tuning each other out? Singer/guitarist Ira Kaplan and drummer Georgia Hubley married in 1987, three years after forming the New Jersey-based indie rock group Yo La Tengo. Nearly 30 years and 13 studio albums later, they're still rocking.

More from mental_floss...

February 13, 2014 - 11:00am
webby
submit to reddit