Undeniably one of the most memorable movies of the 80s, Steel Magnolias taught us what it meant to have an unbreakable bond. The 1989 film adaptation of the esteemed stage play brought together some of Hollywood’s biggest A-listers—from country legend Dolly Parton to then-newcomer Julia Roberts. To kick off Lifetime’s October 7th premiere of the new Steel Magnolias, which stars Queen Latifah and Phylicia Rashad, let’s take a look at the original cast and see what they’ve been up to lately.
Before Pretty Woman, Julia Roberts had already made a name for herself as one of Hollywood’s upcoming stars in Steel Magnolias playing “Shelby,” a strong-willed, diabetic woman, which won her a Golden Globe and an Oscar nod for Best Supporting Actress. Hot on Hollywood’s radar, Julia began picking up more roles in blockbuster hits like The Pelican Brief, Notting Hill, and Erin Brockovich, which won her an Academy Award. Today she’s one of the highest paid actresses in Hollywood. A wife and mother of three, Julia continues her work on the big screen, appearing most recently in the 2012 adaptation of Snow White as the evil queen in Mirror, Mirror.
Although Sally Field’s career began with a string of comedic roles, she quickly became known for her dramatic performances in some of Hollywood’s most memorable films. Her success began on the small screen playing a woman with multiple-personality disorders in the 1976 television movie Sybil. Her display of emotional range won her an Emmy Award and the attention of many Hollywood executives. Sally went on to appear in films such as Smokey and the Bandit, Norma Rae, and Places in the Heart. Steel Magnolias earned her a Golden Globe nod for her performance as “M’Lynn,” the protective mother to her diabetic daughter Shelby. Along with multiple film credits, Sally has garnered roles in hit television dramas like ER and Brothers & Sisters. With a wide range of accolades, she continues to lead a successful career. This summer she appeared in the box office hit The Amazing Spider-Man and will appear as Mary Todd Lincoln in Steven Spielberg’s film Lincoln slated for release later this year.
Born a star, Shirley MacLaine has had countless successes throughout her career as a singer, dancer, author, and actress. Her debut film, The Trouble with Harry (1955), landed her the Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year. She went on to star in several other films including The Apartment, Irma la Douce, Terms of Endearment, and Madame Sousatzka, all of which received honorable recognition. Her quirkiness made her suitable for the part as the cynical and hardened character, “Ouiser,” in Steel Magnolias. Writing bestselling autobiographies about her career, spiritual beliefs, and fascination with UFOs has only helped Shirley stay in the limelight. She has been rewarded for her contributions to Hollywood with a star on the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame and most recently, the American Film Institute Achievement Award. Currently, Shirley plays Martha Levinson on the third season of the British drama Downton Abbey.
Olympia Dukakis kicked off her acting career on stage appearing in numerous plays on and off Broadway. She soon became a household name for her Oscar-winning performance as Cher’s mother in the film Moonstruck. Her dry humor and maternal charm led to several other leading roles in films like Mr. Holland’s Opus, Mighty Aphrodite, and Steel Magnolias, where she starred as the whimsical widow “Clairee.” Olympia went on to pick up a Golden Globe nod for her performance in Sinatra along with Emmy nods for her work in Lucky Day, More Tales of the City, and Joan of Arc. In 2003, she stepped away from the screen to publish her tell-all autobiography, Ask Me Again Tomorrow: A Life in Progress, which quickly became a bestseller. Married to actor Louis Zorich since 1962, Olympia still finds time to make special appearances. She recently guest starred on Law & Order: SVU and Bored to Death.
Appearing in over 40 feature films, Daryl Hannah has taken on a wide variety of roles over the years. She began her acting career in 1978 with a small role in the horror film The Fury. Her breakthrough performance, however, came six years later starring as a mermaid in Splash. Throughout the 1980s, Daryl continued to pick up roles alongside Hollywood greats including the all-star Steel Magnolias cast, in which she played “Annelle,” the peculiar beauty shop assistant. After stepping out of the spotlight for a few years, Daryl returned to the big screen as a one-eyed assassin in Kill Bill: Vol. 1 and Kill Bill: Vol. 2. She also found time to do some work behind the scenes as a writer, director, and producer on the short film The Last Supper, which won an award at the Berlin Film Festival. Her upcoming projects include Eldorado, a 3-D horror musical.
There’s never a dull moment with country legend Dolly Parton. From singing and songwriting to acting and philanthropic work, Dolly has done it all. The southern belle’s big break came in the late 1960s when she was asked to be Porter Wagoner’s sidekick on his hit television show. While successful as a duo, Parton’s endearing talent as a songwriter made her a stand-alone star. Her hit song, “I Will Always Love You” went multi-platinum after Whitney Houston recorded it for The Bodyguard soundtrack, which still remains a top seller today. Movie success was also part of Parton’s repertoire when she starred in films like 9 to 5, Straight Talk, and of course, Steel Magnolias, in which she played lovable hairstylist “Truvy.” Already one of the bestselling artists of all time, Parton continues to grace us with her talents. She released her 41st album, Better Day, last year, and she recently starred in the musical film, Joyful Noise, alongside a new Magnolia, Queen Latifah.
Lifetime’s Steel Magnolias premieres Sunday, October 7, at 9/8c.