When she steamed up the screen in 1981’s Body Heat, Kathleen Turner announced herself as a confident woman. And while offscreen she may have had moments of doubt, she’s striven to pass on lessons of strength to her daughter, Rachel Ann Weiss.
“Be brave,” Kathleen exclusively told Closer Weekly at the Women’s Media Center Women’s Media Awards on Nov. 1 in NYC. “Speak up.” Kathleen, 64, will put those lessons to use when she appears as a duchess in the Metropolitan Opera’s The Daughter of the Regiment in February.
While the role is non-singing, the Met’s general manager, Peter Gelb, wanted an “interesting, bigger-than-life” personality and asked Kathleen. “I do tend to jump in the water and find out if I can swim,” she previously admitted to The Guardian.
She likes to take risks and play powerful women, but Kathleen had a wake-up call while filming 1988’s newsroom comedy Switching Channels opposite Burt Reynolds. “The first day Burt came in he made me cry,” she previously recalled to Vulture. “He said something about not taking second place to a woman. It never occurred to me that I wasn’t someone’s equal.”
Experiences like that impressed upon her the importance of women’s voices being heard. So she spoke up for herself on sets and worked with an organization called Young Elected Officials to “teach women how not to compromise,” she said.
Women need to “not care so much about what other people think,” Kathleen has said. “That might silence you, and that’s unacceptable.” That’s why, even when she’s been called difficult, she hasn’t shied away from talking about her life — and her struggles with rheumatoid arthritis and alcoholism. “I’m getting stronger all the time,” she insisted to Vulture.
Her mom’s candor doesn’t surprise Rachel, 31, a musician. “She’s always taught me there is no halfway. You must invest yourself fully.” Kathleen, nodding proudly, agreed: “That is important to me.”
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