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Kate Burton and Sam Robards on performing Arthur Miller, growing up with famous parents




Kate Burton and Sam Robards in Arthur Miller’s classic drama “The Price” at the Mark Taper Forum.
Kate Burton and Sam Robards in Arthur Miller’s classic drama “The Price” at the Mark Taper Forum.
Craig Schwartz
Kate Burton and Sam Robards in Arthur Miller’s classic drama “The Price” at the Mark Taper Forum.
Sam Robards and Kate Burton in Arthur Miller’s classic drama “The Price” at the Mark Taper Forum.
Craig Schwartz


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Arthur Miller's "The Price" is currently on stage at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. The play centers on two brothers dealing with the estate of their father, a process that brings a lot of skeletons out of the closet.

It's a family drama, and — appropriately enough — two of the play's lead actors come from drama families

Kate Burton, who plays Esther in "The Price," is the daughter of actors Richard Burton and Sybil Williams. Sam Robards, who plays Esther's husband, Victor, is the son of actors Jason Robards and Lauren Bacall

In an interview with The Frame host John Horn, Robards said the "The Price" explores the dysfunction of a family, "psychic things that we carry with us, our relations to our parents..." 

Interview Highlights:

I want to talk a little bit more about relations to parents, because I think you two as actors are uniquely positioned to talk about that. When you were growing up and were exposed to your parents acting, how did that affect the way you saw acting as a profession? 

Kate Burton: "...Growing up in New York City in the '60s and '70s with these fabled parents was basically both a fantastic thing and also sometimes tricky... I saw this exalted life but then I also saw this working actor life and I didn't know if I could really handle that. And here I am 30 years later and I'm basically semi-handling it..." 

So many successful artists have a parent or a teacher who says, "Don't become a lawyer, don't become a doctor. Become an artist and we believe in you." Were your parents supportive of you artistically? 

Sam Robards: "I was never actively encouraged. I wasn't discouraged, but, at the risk of TMI, ... there were elements of competition... There were a few times when, it wasn't open competition, but it was sort of a questioning competition on their parts." 

What was it like working with your parents as an actor? 

Burton: "I [once] had this lunatic character and I really didn't know what I was doing. I was over-the-top, overacting. And dad stood behind me and he said, "Just take it down."  And I realize I think of that to this day when I'm doing something ridiculous on "Scandal" or any show that I'm on." 

"The Price" runs through March 22 at the Mark Taper Forum.



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