Bruce Dern’s illustrious family tree

By Laurie Bennett

December 29, 2013 at 8:09am

Unlike Woody Grant, the hardbitten character he plays in “Nebraska,” Bruce Dern grew up in a world of privilege.

One grandfather was a co-founder of Carson Pirie Scott department stores. The other was governor of Utah and secretary of war under Franklin Roosevelt.

First Lady Eleanor was his godmother. Illinois governor and presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson was his godfather. His great uncle, Archibald MacLeish, was a poet and librarian of Congress.

More recently, the Dern-Ladd family has established itself as an acting dynasty. In 2010, Bruce Dern, his ex-wife Diane Ladd and their daughter Laura Dern were honored together with stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

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  • #1.   Michael Gillespie 12.31.2013

    Watching Bruce Dern shamelessly suck up to Quintin Tarantino during the Charlie Rose interview (link below) was more than enough to put me off of Nebraska or anything else in which Dern is involved. Wikipedia describes Tarantino an American film director, screenwriter, and producer whose “films have been characterized by nonlinear storylines, satirical subject matter, and an aestheticization of violence that often results in the exhibition of neo-noir characteristics.” “An aestheticization of violence.” Translation: Tarantino is an important cog in the Hollywood machine that pumps lucrative, socially-destabilizing violence into American popular culture with criminal abandon, glamorizing and glorifying gun violence, murder, mayhem, and torture for profit at the expense of vast audiences, primarily naive and impressionable children, adolescents, and young adults.

    There was gun violence in an American school every two weeks on average in 2013 - twenty six shooting incidents - that’s in addition to the many other gun massacres including one in which 12 people were gunned down by a shotgun-wielding first-person-shooter video game addict at the Washington Navy Yard on September 16. (I wonder what Dern’s grandfather, Secretary of War George H. Dern, would think of that.) More than any other industry or influence, Big Media and its obsession with violence informs and shapes Americans attitudes about violence. Many of the wealthy, arrogant, self-aggrandizing bastards who manufacture and market the deluge of violent media product and foist it on Americans as art have said publicly that they don’t allow their own children to watch their films. Are they oblivious to the hypocrisy of peddling poisonous garbage that incites gun massacres to other Americans and their children while shielding their own kids? Or do they think Americans are too damned stupid and gullible to sort these things out? To me, watching and listening to Dern as he fawned over and flattered Tarantino and other Hollywood mobsters in an effort to land himself future acting roles was informative. Have you had enough of Hollywood’s psychopathy? I have.

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