Sure, Marion may be the leading lady everyone thinks of by default when it comes to Indiana Jones, but Willie Scott is just as valid an option thanks to actress Kate Capshaw’s performance.
With Capshaw making her mark as the bartender/reluctant adventurer, where has she been in her almost twenty-year absence from the screen?
Of course, we have to go back to the beginning first. Kate was born Kathleen Sue Nail in November 1953 in the then-separate town of Ft. Worth, Texas.
She would live in Texas for a time before her family moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where she would graduate high school before attending the local University of Missouri and majoring in Education, achieving her degree and going on to teach Special Education throughout high schools in the state.
Throughout all of that, she would meet and marry her then-husband Robert Capshaw in 1976. The two would marry and have one child but split in 1980 when she decided to pursue a lifelong passion and take up acting.
She would start small, taking on soap opera roles in Edge of Night and comedy A Little Sex, which is the last title I want to hear associated with a movie involving Wallace Shawn.
Nevertheless, she persisted. Things worked in her favor too, taking up two roles in 1984 that would bring her rushing into the spotlight. Dreamscape, the Inception demo starring Dennis Quaid, as well as Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, the prequel/sequel to the hit adventurer’s story.
Her part as Willie Scott wasn’t quite as praised as Karen Allen’s Marion, she did make her mark as a damsel in distress that was more often than not in danger.
Temple of Doom… or Love?
Even more so, she would meet her second (and still) husband while filming Temple of Doom and the two would have a long-running relationship until 1991 when they would finally marry.
That husband, of course, is Indiana Jones and Jaws director Steven Spielberg. While the two would meet on the set and begin to connect there, they would eventually begin to date, with Kate Capshaw even converting to Judaism before their marriage in 1991.
The two would go on to raise seven children to date, with a mix of children from previous marriages, their own, and children they adopted, which Drew Barrymore almost could have been.
That’s not to say she slacked off after meeting Spielberg, continuing into her career throughout the eighties with major blockbusters alongside Michael Douglas being broken up by smaller television film roles, notably The Quick and the Dead with Sam Elliot.
She would keep going into the 90s as well but begin to slow down a bit as she and Spielberg would welcome more children into their family and the world.
Despite these challenges, Kate Capshaw managed appearances in more blockbuster films throughout the 90s, bringing her into the orbit of Hollywood giants like Ridley Scott and Laurence Fishburne.
Unfortunately, the later part of the decade would find her starring opposite David Arquette, which, let’s be honest, was not the best time to be anywhere near a movie with David Arquette.
She would keep going until 2002, making her last appearances in a Showtime original movie A Girl Thing, and television film Due East alongside Robert Forster.
She would officially retire from acting that year, moving full-time into the role of mother and wife.
Kate Capshaw would continue to branch out creatively, taking up painting in 2009 and becoming an accomplished painter showcased in the Smithsonian and other prestigious art museums.
She would also begin drawing and creating portraits, usually of nature or other subjects she finds fascinating, often using her art to bring attention and awareness to social issues such as homelessness and poverty.
Where is Kate Capshaw Now?
Kate Capshaw has transitioned away from movie and into portrait art. She is currently based in Los Angeles and New York City. Her artwork is being showcased in a new art show at the Bo Bartlett Center in Columbus, Georgia. The show, titled “Unaccompanied,” features 20 oil paintings of homeless young people, along with sketches and an audio element. The exhibition runs through May 12.
Capshaw’s project began in a Los Angeles homeless shelter and expanded to other shelters in various cities. She aims to bring attention to the issue of homelessness by literally putting a face on the problem. Capshaw, who is also the wife of renowned Hollywood Director Steven Spielberg, has been studying under Bo Bartlett, an accomplished American realist artist.
She also still takes part in her husband’s work, often accompanying him on red carpet premieres and occasionally producing on some of his directorial efforts, most recently a music video by Marcus Mumford that Spielberg recorded on aniPhone.
Honestly, not as big of a flex to make a movie on an iPhone these days. It’s way more affordable than a movie-quality camera, at least.
Kate has no plans to return to acting any time soon, and outside of events she does for charity or publicity for her or her husband’s work, she tries to keep a rather private life at home as they grow older.
While it’s probably a lot to hold our breath for, maybe we’ll get a brief cameo of Willie in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, seeing as it’s Harrison Ford’s final outing and the culmination of four decades of adventure.
Time will tell, though, and maybe she’ll get just the right role or one written by Steven for a nice final cap to her acting career.