“In this business, if a girl wants a career, she has to be willing to strip. If you’ve got a good bod, then why not show it?” Phoebe Cates
A top teen model of the late 1970s and romantic lead of 80s and 90s film and TV, Phoebe Cates is perhaps best remembered with her roles as the “experience” friend in successful comedy Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982), the love interest in Joe Dante’s hit Gremlins (1984) and its follow-up Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990), as well as the vengeful actress in television films Lace (1984) and Lace II (1985). She also played roles in Date with an Angel (1987), James Bridges’ drama Bright Lights, Big City (1988), Shag (1989) and Heart of Dixie (1989), Drop Dead Fred (1991), Bodies, Rest & Motion (1993), Princess Caraboo (1994) and The Anniversary Party (2001). The retirement actress is now managing her own gift boutique named Blue Tree on New York City’s Madison Avenue.
As for personal life, the American beauty of Russian Jewish and Filipino descent stands 5’ 6” tall and had measurements 31B-23-33 (as teen model in 1980) and 34B-23-34 (during the 1982 Fast Times at Ridgemont High). One of Harper’s “10 Most Beautiful Women in America (1984), Cates is married to celebrity Kevin Kline and they have three children. When not in her gift store and nursing to the children, she attends openings and benefits, as well as hosts dinner parties for her celeb friends.
Childhood and Family:
Born Phoebe Belle Katz, in New York, New York, on July 16, 1963, Phoebe Cates is the daughter of producer/director Joseph Cates (born in 1924, died at age 74 of leukemia complications) and his Filipina of Spanish-Chinese heritage wife. Her Russian Jewish father later divorced Phoebe’s mother. She has three siblings: sisters Alexandra and Valerie and a brother named Philip, and is a niece to producer-writer Gilbert Cates (born in 1934). Raised in a family with an entertainment background, Phoebe was exposed to the industry from a young age. As for her education, Phoebe attended Professional Children’s School in New York City and the School of American Ballet, but a knee injury forced 14-yaer-old Phoebe to give up.
Phoebe met actor Kevin Kline in a film audition in 1983 and they married six years later, on March 5, 1989. She gave birth to her first child, a son named Owen Joseph Kline on October 14, 1991, followed by her second, daughter Greta Simone Kline, who was born on March 21, 1994. On December 1, 2005, the couple welcomed their third child, Autumn Belle Kline. The family recently divides their time between a comfort penthouse in Manhattan’s Upper East Side and a country estate in upstate New York.
Fast Times at Ridgemont High
The daughter of a producer/director, Phoebo Cates got her start as a teen model before launching an acting career. A very flourishing model in late ‘70s, she fronted several top magazines like Tiger Beat, Seventeen and Teen Beat as well as starred in numerous advertisements. Her first acting job arrived with the teen film Paradise (1982), a Blue Lagoon knockoff directed and written by Stuart Gillard. The adventure/romance cast her as Sarah, a young lady who falls in love with a young man, with whom she trapped in a desert oasis. However, it was her sophomore effort in the Sean Penn- Jennifer Jason Leigh hit comedy Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982), where she did topless scene as an “experience” pal named Linda, that helped set Cates’ star on the rise.
After making TV movie debut in Baby Sister and taking on the role of Christine Ramsey in another teen film Private School (both 1983), Cates garnered attention for her role as Kate Beringer, the sweet-natured lover of Zach Galligan in the Joe Dante-helmed horror/comedy Gremlins (1984). The Steven Spielberg production film was a hit and so was Cates. The actress earned additional notice when she starred as ruthless actress Lili who comes out to devastate her mother who dumped her at birth in the ABC film Lace (1984), a role she reprised for the 1985 less fame sequel Lace II.
Still in 1984, Cates debuted on off-Broadway with “The Nest of the Wood Grouse.” She later added her stage credits with performances in David Hwang’s “Rich Relations,” the La Jolla Playhouse production of Chekhov’s “The Sea Gull” (as Nina), Chicago’s Goodman Theatre production of “Romeo and Juliet” (as Juliet), the New York Public Theatre “Much Ado About Nothing” and the Broadway play “The Tenth Man” (1989). During the same periods, she continued her on screen career by having roles in Date with an Angel (1987), James Bridges’ drama Bright Lights, Big City (1988, portrayed Michael J Fox’s alienated wife), Shag (1989) and Heart of Dixie (1989).
A year after marrying award-winning performer Kevin Kline, Cates appeared in television movie Largo Desolato (1990, as young Philosophy student), made a cameo role as her husband’s girlfriend in Lawrence Kasdan’s I Love You to Death (1990), before returning to her coveted role, as Kate for the antic continuation Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990). 1991 saw Cates have a lead in the British comedy Drop Dead Fred and abandon the film Father of the Bride due to pregnancy. She didn’t make film until two years later when director Michael Steinberg had her star opposite Bridget Fonda, Tim Roth and Eric Stoltz in drama-romance Bodies, Rest & Motion. She then was cast in the title character of Michael Austin’s Princess Caraboo (1994), a comedy that reunited Cates with husband Kline. After the performance, Cates took many years hiatus to focus on her motherly role. She made her way back to filmmaking seven years later with the ensemble comedy The Anniversary Party, jointly directed by Alan Cumming and Jennifer Jason Leigh. Cates appeared as Sophia Gold, a Hollywood actress who has put acting on the backburner to become a full-time mother. Just like her role in the film, Cates currently enjoys her time with her family, as well as operates the Blue Tree, a gift store/boutique emporium she opened in 2005 on New York City's Madison Avenue.