Childhood & Early Life
Phoebe was born Phoebe Belle Cates on July 16, 1963 in New York City. She was raised along with her older sister, Valerie Cates, and her younger sister, Alexandra Cates. Her father, Joseph, and her mother, Lily, were both associated with Broadway and television productions. They have produced one of the most successful game shows ever aired on television, ‘The $64,000 Question’.
Phoebe’s uncle, Late Gilbert Cates, has also produced many television and award shows. Since Phoebe was born into such a famous family, she was exposed to the world of showbiz at a very young age.
Phoebe went to Hewitt School, an independent school in New York. She later completed her schooling from Juilliard School.
Since she grew up watching Broadways and dance based musicals, she developed an interest towards dance at a young age. When she was 10 years old, Phoebe earned a scholarship from the School of American Ballet and that paved the way for her to realize her dream of becoming a dancer. However, five years later, she met with an accident which injured her knees and she had to abandon her dream.
Phoebe then decided to start a career in the field of acting. In order to get used to facing cameras she decided to give modeling a try. She did many ad campaigns during her initial days as a model. She then got her major breakthrough when she was approached to pose for the teen magazine, ‘Seventeen’.
After posing for ‘Seventeen’, she became a sensation in the modeling industry. Not surprisingly, she was noticed by many prominent filmmakers and soon, acting offers began to flow in.
Although her father did not approve of her career choice, Phoebe knew exactly what she had to do. After a lot of research, she finally zeroed in on a script and made her acting debut in films.
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Phoebe made her film debut with the romantic flick, ‘Paradise’, which was released on May 7, 1982. In the film, she played a bold character and impressed the audience with her acting skills.
The plot of the film revolves around two teenagers, David and Sarah, who get stranded in a desert. Their journey, during which they discover the different aspects of sexuality, brings them together.
The plot was quite similar to the 1980 film ‘Blue Lagoon’ which too, was based on teenagers exploring sexuality. The director of ‘Paradise’, Stuart Gillard, was criticized for showcasing ‘Blue Lagoon’ in the backdrop of a desert.
However, Phoebe was praised for her skills and was branded as a daring actress. She was also praised for her singing skills. The title song, played along with the end credits, was sung by her.
Her next film ‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High’ was a sex comedy. Released on August 13, 1982, the movie made headlines mostly because of a topless scene which featured Phoebe. Unlike her first film, this received relatively positive reviews. The amazing soundtracks and detailed cinematography walked away with most of the praises.
Phoebe was next seen in ‘Private School’, yet another sex comedy. Christine Ramsey, played by Phoebe, is a beautiful high school girl who desperately seeks ways to win her crush’s heart. Released on July 29, 1983, the film failed to impress the critics. The critics thought that the movie had unnecessary scenes with many logical errors. However, it was a commercial success that made it big at the box office.
Two of the soundtracks from the film, namely ‘Just One Touch’ and ‘How Do I Let You Know’ were sung by Phoebe.
‘Gremlins’, a comedy-horror, was released on June 8, 1984 and it gave a new direction to Phoebe’s acting career. ‘Gremlins’ was about an imaginary creature called Mogwai and the film was a hit among kids and other movie buffs. It also received positive reviews from the critics.
The same year, she was named as one of America's 10 Most Beautiful Women. She was also honored by the makers of a Japanese series titled ‘Kimagure Orange Road’ when they decided to create one of the characters named Ayukawa Madoka based on Phoebe’s real life achievements.
Phoebe then went on to star in the sequel of ‘Gremlins’. Unfortunately, the film tanked at the box office. All her subsequent films too, failed to impress the audience and hence Phoebe’s stardom started to fade away. She eventually lost her interest and enthusiasm towards acting and decided to call it quits. She was last seen in the 2001 film, ‘The Anniversary Party’.
Phoebe then turned her attention towards entrepreneurship. In 2005, she opened a variety store named ‘Blue Tree’ in New York City. The store sells fragrances, jewelry, toys and gifts. ‘Blue Tree’ went on to become popular after the introduction of its special creation, the Abraham Lincoln doll.
Phoebe was in a live-in relationship with a film producer named Stavros Merjos. They both met in 1979 at a night club. They eventually broke up for reasons best known to them.
Phoebe then met Kevin Kline at an audition venue in 1983. They started dating each other and eventually love blossomed between them. In 1989, Phoebe decided to walk down the aisle with Kevin in spite of being 16 years younger to him.
The couple welcomed their son, Owen Joseph Kline, in the year 1991. Their daughter, Greta Kline, was born on March 21, 1994. She later became a musician and is better known by her stage name, Frankie Cosmos.