Synopsis by Craig Butler
Based upon the 1927 George S. Kaufman-Edna Ferber stage hit, The Royal Family is about a famous, more than somewhat eccentric theater family that may bring to mind the real-life Barrymores. The Cavendish clan is headed by Fanny, a grande dame of the highest order. Although her best days are past her, she still dreams of making a glorious comeback. Fanny's daughter, Julie, is the family's current stage star, a celebrated and successful actress in her prime, but brother Tony has made quite a splash in Hollywood as a matinee idol. The family is rounded out with other brother Herbert and his wife Kitty, both about to become has-beens (although some would say they were "never weres"), and Julie's daughter Gwen, who can't decide whether to pursue a career on the stage or embark upon a safe marriage with a stock broker. Julie was herself in a similar situation in her youth, and she wonders if she made the right decision, as she now yearns for a simpler life. Julie also must contend with Fanny's increasing restlessness and desire to return to the stage, which could be disastrous, as well as the unexpected arrival of brother Tony, who is escaping a scandal involving a director he's accused of hitting, a woman with whom he's accused of dallying, and a large debt he's accused of accumulating. This version of The Royal Family, filmed for PBS, is based upon a mid-'70s production at Lincoln Center.
eccentric, family, Hollywood, idol, marriage, scandal, stage, theater