Q: I just saw Matthew Broderick in Tower Heist, which made me wonder if he ever acted with his father, James Broderick?
—Calvin Sharpe, Evanston, Ill.
He sure did. In fact, his father launched his professional acting career.
Matthew, 49, became interested in acting from spending time on TV sets with his dad, who starred in the 1970s TV series Family, among dozens of other TV and movie roles. Matthew was shy, so it wasn't until he was in high school that he had the courage to audition for a role in a school play. That's when James, who believed in his son's talent, helped Matthew get cast in an off-Broadway production of Horton Foote's On Valentine's Day.
The star of the production? James Broderick.
After graduating high school, Matthew studied with top acting coach Uta Hagen and landed a supporting role as Harvey Fierstein's adopted son in the off-Broadway production of Torch Song Trilogy.
James Broderick died of cancer in 1982 just as Matthew's career was taking off. He never got to see his son perform in Brighton Beach Memoirs, for which Matthew won a Tony Award in 1983, or Ferris Bueller's Day Off, probably his most famous film role. In tribute, Matthew and wife Sarah Jessica Parker named their first-born son James Wilke Broderick after his late father.