How Cindy Williams Inspired the Steve Martin and Diane Keaton-Starring ‘Father of the Bride’ Remake
Nancy Meyers, co-writer and producer of the 1991 Father of the Bride movie starring Steve Martin and Diane Keaton, says late actress Cindy Williams inspired the remake.
In an Instagram post remembering the Laverne & Shirley star, who died last Wednesday at the age of 75, Meyers expressed her sadness over hearing of Williams’ death. And in a brief anecdote, the writer and producer of the film directed by ex-husband Charles Shyer revealed how the beloved TV icon helped make the ’90s romantic comedy a reality.
“What few people know is that it was Cindy’s idea to remake Father of the Bride,” Meyers recalled. “She told me she was watching the Spencer Tracey [sic] version on TV one night and thought it would be a great movie to remake.”
Meyers went on to add that Williams not only “made it happen” but altered her professional trajectory in Hollywood as a result — all the while taking little credit for her idea. “She changed the course of my life and many others with that idea. And she never took credit for being responsible for that,” Meyers wrote. “Pretty unusual in Tinseltown.”
The 1991 Father of the Bride The film starred Kimberly Williams, George Newbern, Martin Short, BD Wong and Kieran Culkin alongside Martin and Keaton who played George and Nina, the parents of Williams’ Annie. After returning home from a trip to Europe following her college graduation, Annie announces she’s engaged to a man after just three months of knowing him. While Keaton’s Nina is open to her potential new son-in-law, Martin’s George is unhappy with the prospect of letting his daughter go and drags his feet at just about every step Annie takes towards the alter.
The film was a remake of the 1950 Vincente Minnelli-directed movie of the same name starring Spencer Tracy and Elizabeth Taylor and spawned a 1995 sequel. Father of the Bride Part II before being remade again, this time in 2022, starring Andy García and Gloria Estefan and released on HBO Max. Meyers also directed a mini-sequel of the 1991 hit, Father of the Bride Part 3(ish)which saw the return of its original cast and was distributed exclusively by Netflix in 2020.
Williams was best known for portraying Shirley, one half of friendship opposite Penny Marshall’s Laverne in the ABC sitcom and ratings hit. Laverne & Shirley. Friends since high school, both characters shared a Milwaukee basement apartment while working as bottle cappers at the Schotz brewery in the show that ran for eight seasons and debuted in 1976. She was also known for her turns in American Graffiti and Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation.
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