Beyond genetics, Shirley MacLaine and her brother, Warren Beatty, have one thing in common: big-screen success. But not all acting siblings have been so equally endowed.
*JOCELYN AND MARLON BRANDO Sister: She beat Marlon to the stage, but wasn’t considered beautiful enough — in a traditional, ’50s way — to be a leading lady, and spent most of her film career in small roles (as, say, the nurse) and small films (The Big Heat, China Venture). Brother: The Method Buddha still carries weight, but mostly around his waist, choosing his projects largely by the paycheck. How to Tell Them Apart: It’s tough — she now looks like she could be his twin brother. Family Project: In The Ugly American (1963), Jocelyn had a few lines as a wife who heads up a children’s clinic; Marlon starred. The two later reunited in The Chase (1966), again with Marlon high on the marquee and Jocelyn in the bit part.
*PETER AND JANE FONDA Brother: Metamorphosed from boy-next-door roles (1964’s The Young Lovers) to the biker and coscreenwriter of Easy Rider (1969), Peter soon saw his career go up in smoke. But he can still parlay his old image into work, most recently playing a David Koresh type on an episode of In the Heat of the Night. Sister: Metamorphosed from go-go kitten to lefty activist to serious actress to aerobics queen to, ultimately, media-mogul wife. How to Tell Them Apart: While Jane may be known as a pain in the ass — literally and figuratively — to many, Peter is known simply as Bridget’s dad. Family Project: Portraying lovers, the two donned gothic-looking garb in 1968 for Spirits of the Dead, in an Edgar Allan Poe tale. Both Peter and Jane are said to have hoped for an on-screen Fonda trio (including their father), but when Jane and Henry teamed up in On Golden Pond (1981), Peter found himself without a part.
*ERIC AND JULIA ROBERTS Brother: After a promising start, and an Oscar nomination for Runaway Train (1985), Eric’s career was sideswiped by flops like 1989’s Rude Awakening. But things could be looking up for the older Roberts: He’s currently playing opposite Sylvester Stallone and Sharon Stone in The Specialist. Sister: Ever since Pretty Woman (1990), she’s been Hollywood’s leading leading lady. How to Tell Them Apart: Eric goes blockbuster in the high-octane Specialist. Julia is the one with the reported blockbuster-strength $12 million paycheck. Family Project: While filming the wine saga Blood Red in 1986, Eric flagged Julia for the insignificant role of his on-screen sister.