1980s Hollywood bombshell Phoebe Cates was born into a family of entertainment and production professionals. She found her love of entertainment early on, and spent many years as an individual in the spotlight.
Cates was born in New York City. Her father, Joseph Cates (known as Joseph Katz), was a Broadway producer who was an early figure in the television industry. One of his biggest claims to fame was creating The $64,000 Question, a game show where contestants answered questions to win a cash prize. Her uncle Gilbert Cates was also a television producer for television specials and the Academy Awards.
For her education, Cates attended the Professional Children’s School and then Juilliard School. Cates started her modeling career at ten years old. She was in many teen magazines, including Seventeen Magazine. Cates also started taking dance lessons. She had a scholarship to the School of American Ballet but stopped dancing due to an injury and returned to modeling. The monotony of the work, however, made her want to do something else. That’s when she started acting.
She then followed in her father’s footsteps and began her acting career. Cates’ first acting role was in the 1981 film Paradise, which had a similar plot to Blue Lagoon. In addition to acting in the film, she sang the movie’s theme song. Her acting did raise a few eyebrows since she had multiple nude scenes even though she was still a minor. A decision she said she later regretted. She has since completely distanced herself from any ties to Paradise.
The following year she starred in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. The role ended up being one of her most famous, and the film was the one she says she had the most fun making. The next year she was in Private School, starring with Betsy Russell and Matthew Modine. Again, she lent her voice to the soundtrack for the songs, “How Do I Let You Know” and “Just One Touch”.
Lace, a television mini-series, was her next project. She was hired on the spot after going after the role of Lili, which she wanted to play to add some variety in the type of roles she was taking, again trying to avoid both monotony and being typecast.
After a couple of off-Broadway performances, she retired from acting in 1994. Further distancing herself from her acting days, she changed her name after marrying actor Kevin Kline. The two met at her audition for The Big Chill, a role she did not end up getting. She changed her name from Phoebe Cates to Phoebe Cates Kline once they married in 1989. She then quit acting to raise her children, Greta Simone Kline and Owen Joseph Kline. After she had children they relocated to New York City to raise their family on the Upper East Side.
In the time since she shifted her focus to her family, Cates opened a boutique called Blue Tree in 2005. The boutique is located on Madison Avenue in New York. That same year her son Owen appeared in The Squid and the Whale and her daughter, Greta, took to the stage singing under the moniker Frankie Cosmos.