Beverly D’Angelo Was Wildly Different From Her Mom Roles

There was a time when Beverly D’Angelo was one of the most popular moms in film, especially comedies. Any National Lampoon’s Vacation fan remembers and loves her for her memorable role as Ellen Griswold, wife to Chevy Chase’s character, Clark Griswold. But while she was playing wifey to the man who became one of the most hated actors in Hollywood, D’Angelo was romancing one of the most beloved actors to have a star on the Walk of Fame.

Al Pacino, Beverly D’Angelo / Beverly D’Angelo / Beverly D’Angelo, Courtney Knox / Beverly D’Angelo, Chevy Chase.
Source: Getty Images

Yes, D’Angelo is “Mom” to Al Pacino’s twins. But no, they’re no longer a couple. D’Angelo and Pacino were never married, but the Scarface star did tell her that he wanted her to be the mother of his future children. And isn’t that what all of us ladies want to hear? Let’s take a look at everything about Beverly D’Angelo!

How Old is Beverly D’Angelo?

The now 69-year-old Beverly D’Angelo was born in Columbus, Ohio in 1951 to a musical family; her mother was a violinist and her father a bass player. It’s only natural that D’Angelo showed an interest in music from an early age. She was even a backup singer for a band called The Hawks, which was later given a new name: The Band.

Beverly D’Angelo attends an event.
Photo by Michael Tran/FilmMagic/Getty Images

But before becoming a backup singer, D’Angelo worked as an illustrator at Hanna-Barbera Studios. She only started acting in theater at the age of 25 when she appeared on Broadway in Rockabye Hamlet (a musical based on Hamlet) in 1976. Her first onscreen gig was in three episodes of 1976’s Captain and the Kings.

Her Big Break Was in Coal Miner’s Daughter

D’Angelo jumped right into movies a year later, in 1977, and met immediate success. Her first-ever appearance in a film was a small role in Woody Allen’s Annie Hall (the classic that won the Academy Award for Best Picture that year). D’Angelo then got roles in high-profile films, including the 1978 Clint Eastwood comedy, Every Which Way but Loose, and the hippie musical Hair in 1979.

D’Angelo as Patsy Cline is standing on stage behind the microphone.
Source: Copyright: Universal Pictures

Although she was cast in some pretty big films, there was one that proved to be her first big break, and that was Coal Miner’s Daughter in 1980. She played the character of Patsy Cline alongside Sissy Spacek’s Loretta Lynn. The role earned D’Angelo her only Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.

The Movie Led to Her One and Only Golden Globe Nomination

This was D’Angelo’s first and last Golden Globe or Oscar nomination. When talking about it, D’Angelo said, “Part of it was me.” .“I resisted being branded.” D’Angelo went on to tell the A.V. Club how she felt in Coal Miner’s Daughter: “Thank god I was so young and stupid because if I would have known what I was really taking on, I think it would have been overwhelming, but I was really pretty innocent.”

D’Angelo as Patsy Cline in a publicity still from the movie.
Source: YouTube 

She explained how, at that point, she wasn’t even set on being an actress. She initially thought, “I’m a singer. I’m going to play a singer.” After calling herself “young and dumb,” for taking on the role, she also admitted that she was “scared of Loretta.”

She Married an Italian Duke and Became a Duchess

In 1981, D’Angelo married Don Lorenzo Salviati, an Italian Duke, no less. Salviati is the only son and heir of Don Forese Salviati (the 5th Duke Salviati). Her one and only marriage contributed to her nonchalant attitude about advancing her career in acting. She met Salviati a year before they married, when she was attending a series of parties.

Beverly D'Angelo and Don Lorenzo Salviati attend an event.
Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Getty Images

She told People Magazine that they were the kind of parties where “you carry a spare cocktail dress and get home a day later.” So, what was it like to become a duchess? Well, the way she put it, “seeing deep, heavy-duty, multigenerational wealth firsthand meant a coveted position in Hollywood was even less enticing.”

She Lived a Life of Royalty

“I lived a life of royalty,” she declared. “I’d come back to Hollywood, and I’d see all these people striving to get a Bentley and trying to speak mangled French to order something in a fancy restaurant.” D’Angelo was happy with where she was and who she was with – a bona fide royal. Their marriage went well, lasting for 15 years.

Beverly D’Angelo’s portrait.
Photo by Steve Eichner/Getty Images

The pair eventually divorced in 1995, which only meant that when D’Angelo was at the top of her acting game, she was a legitimate duchess. Pretty cool, huh?

Her next relationship is lesser known, but just as – or even more – cool…

The Al Pacino-D’Angelo Twins: James and Olivia Rose

D’Angelo was Al Pacino’s significant other from 1997 until 2003, becoming the parents of twins (conceived through IVF). Anton James and Olivia Rose were born in 2001. Despite having two show biz parents, both kids grew up while remaining out of the spotlight.

Anton James Pacino, Olivia Pacino and Al Pacino attend an event.
Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Olivia is apparently active on social media, often posting selfies and live streams on As for Anton, he isn’t seemingly active on social media. Although it isn’t known for sure, the choice to name their son Anton might have been in homage to D’Angelo’s former and late boyfriend Anton Furst.

Her Former Lover Took His Life

D’Angelo fell in love with Anton Furst, a British production designer whom she met in 1990 (while she was still married, yes). Furst was famous for designing the Vietnamese city, “Hue” in Full Metal Jacket and the gothic “Gotham City” in Batman.

Anton Furst’s portrait.
Source: Wikimedia 

“I fell in love with Anton,” D’Angelo stated, but it was Furst who called the relationship off. Not long after, D’Angelo was in Texas filming a TV series and Furst contacted her. The call didn’t go well. A week later, , D’Angelo’s best friend, Carrie Fisher, called her to inform her that Furst had taken his own life. He had thrown himself off a building.

Pacino Wanted Her to Be the Mother of His Kids

D’Angelo was understandably upset, but she had to continue shooting the show she was working on. “I had to do that with cue cards,” she recalled. It’s likely the reason why she chose to name her future son Anton.

Beverly D’Angelo and Al Pacino attend a premiere event.
Photo by Steve Eichner/Getty Images

The actress told the magazine, Closer Weekly that she had a “fantasy” of having kids in a family setting. After she and Pacino had known each other for three months, he looked her in the eyes and said, “I want you to be the mother of my children,” which is all she needed to hear. (And really, who wouldn’t want kids with Al Pacino?)

A Messy Custody Battle

The couple ended up splitting after the babies were born. She provided the timeline: “I got pregnant at 48, delivered six weeks after I was 49, and by 51 I was looking at a landscape as a single parent.” Since they broke up, the main question was who would primarily raise the twins? It led to a custody battle in 2003, when the twins were only two years old.

The press photograph Al Pacino and Beverly D’Angelo entering court.
Photo by Stringer/Getty Images

Things got messy (as they usually do) in the courtroom as both parties were trying to get full custody. D’Angelo’s attorney said that Pacino was “a controlling, harassing man who has never changed a single diaper.”

He Said, She Said in Court

Pacino’s lawyer said that D’Angelo uses the kids “in a way that almost makes them hostages.” It’s too bad that things had to get to that point, but the good news is that both of them were eventually able to gain perspective and come to an agreement.

 Beverly D’Angelo / Al Pacino.
Photo by Mirek Towski, FilmMagic, Getty Images / Vera Anderson, WireImage, Getty Images

D’Angelo told Closer Weekly that as she focused on getting pregnant, she lost the perspective that she’s creating a “family and a responsibility to a child’s future.” D’Angelo and Pacino finally agreed on focusing their energy on co-parenting. For D’Angelo, the key to moving forward was “acceptance.”

The Role She’s Most Known For

The role D’Angelo is most known for is Ellen Griswold in 1983’s National Lampoon’s Vacation. It was such an impressive role that she played it in five films over 30 years. She reprised the role of Mrs. Griswold in 1985’s National Lampoon’s European Vacation, 1989’s National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, 1997’s Vegas Vacation and most recently, the reboot, Vacation in 2015.

The Griswold family are wearing deer hats.
Dana Barron, Anthony Michael Hall, Beverly D’Angelo, Chevy Chase. Source: Copyright: Warner Bros.

She told Entertainment Weekly about how surprised she was that the series was such a long-lasting one. “I don’t think any of us thought we were setting up the tent-pole for a franchise.” D’Angelo considers herself lucky to have worked with Chevy Chase and Harold Ramis – the “smartest guys in this town.”

A Friend to Chevy Chase Through the Years

Chevy Chase was the ‘80s It Guy, but grew to become a hated actor in Hollywood for the reputation he earned himself of being hard to work with (and a general a**hole). But D’Angelo is one of his former co-stars who stuck by him and really appreciated him for who he is and what he has to offer.

Beverly D'Angelo and Chevy Chase make jokes as they pose together during the premiere of
Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

The Vacation franchise wasn’t just a break-through for D’Angelo, but the catalyst to a life-long friendship. She and Chase have remained good friends ever since they played husband and wife for the first time in 1983.

Their Unsuccessful Comedy Show Was a “Nightmare”

The two friends have also tried to work with each other again. D’Angelo told A.V. Club about how they have been through a lot together. The two tried to make a TV show a couple years ago, but it turned out to be a “nightmare.”

Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo’s pilot episode.
Source: Warner Bros.

In 2015, they shot a pilot for a comedy called Chev & Bev, but the series was never picked up. She admitted that she got “so mad at him” when shooting the pilot. But once it was all over, she was glad that she could “go back to loving him.”

From National Lampoon’s to the Emmys

D’Angelo was 29 when she played Ellen Griswold for the first time. At the time, she wasn’t interested in playing motherly roles but went ahead and took the risk. D’Angelo revealed that her role as the Griswold mom was in honor of her own mother.

Beverly D’Angelo as Ellen Griswold.
Source: Copyright: Warner Bros.

“I was a wild person… so wild that honestly, I swear to god it was an acting challenge to play Ellen,” D’Angelo told The Current. Playing Ellen was drastically different from how she lived her life. Let’s not forget that she was a duchess living in Italy and married to a duke at the time.

She Was Wildly Different from Ellen Griswold

On her wild side, she said she used to “lie in the gutters” and drink and smoke. So, playing this suburban mom was surreal because it was the type of person she normally fled from. She said that her mother had always told her that if she didn’t have anything nice to say, then she shouldn’t say anything at all.

Beverly D'Angelo poses exaggeratedly for the photographer at an event.
Photo by Art Zelin/Getty Images

She reminisced on having grown up watching her parents enjoy a “beautiful love affair,” and being able to channel their love for each other in her onscreen chemistry between her and Chevy Chase.

Playing Stella DuBois Kowalski

While playing moms wasn’t what she originally wanted for herself, it’s a good thing she started taking them! The following year, D’Angelo played the iconic role of Stella DuBois Kowalski in a TV version of A Streetcar Named Desire.

Beverly D’Angelo as Stella DuBois Kowalski.
Source: YouTube 

Her performance earned her an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie. She then took on other TV movie roles, including 1985’s Doubletake, 1986’s Slow Burn, 1987’s Hands of a Stranger and 1987’s The Man Who Fell to Earth.

Her Small Screen Roles

D’Angelo never forgot her love for and history with music. In 1992, she voiced Lurleen Lumpkin, a country singer and waitress in a Simpsons episode called “Colonel Homer.” She would reprise the role 16 years later in an episode called “Papa Don’t Leech.”

A police officer pays a visit to the Vinyard family in a scene from ‘American History X.’
Source: Copyright: New Line Cinema

Speaking of TV, D’Angelo was in the 1992 TV movie, Trial: The Price of Passion and A Child Lost Forever: The Jerry Sherwood Story. As for the big screen, she was in the 1991 film, The Miracle, Lightning Jack (1994) and Pterodactyl Woman from Beverly Hills (1997).

From American History X to Entourage

Sometime in the late ‘90s, the film industry started to bank in on D’Angelo’s dramatic abilities. She started getting better roles . One of the more famous dramas she starred in was 1998’s American History X. She played Doris Vinyard, the mother of Derek (Edward Norton) and Danny (Edward Furlong).

Beverly D’Angelo and Jeremy Piven in an episode from ‘Entourage.’
Source: Copyright: HBO

The role earned her a Satellite Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture. She was then cast in Entourage as agent Barbara “Babs” Miller. “She’s still got that same kind of wide-eyed innocence from where I first saw her, which was ‘Vacation’ when I was a kid, but she’s also got that tough side that really worked,” the show’s creator, Doug Ellin, said.

She’s an Open Book

“Everything I’ve done is because I’ve loved someone.”

D’Angelo said those words in an interview with Columbus Monthly, leading the journalist to describe the actress as “something of an open book.” D’Angelo bore all in the interview, starting from her early career. It’s been five decades since she left her home in Upper Arlington behind.

A portrait of Beverly D’Angelo.
Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

In her early days, the blonde was “a rebel.” She started singing in Canada and slowly made her way to Hollywood. She found herself as the typical movie mom for a whole generation. And while her roles were mostly comedies back then, she took her work seriously.

She Fell in Love With Hair’s Director

After Annie Hall, in which she’s very briefly seen and heard, she was cast in 1979’s Hair. Milos Forman, the director who was freshly honored with an Academy Award for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, was looking for the right people to star in his hippie-themed musical.

Beverly D'Angelo and Milos Forman attend the ‘Hair’ movie premiere.
Beverly D’Angelo, Jean Paul Getty III, Milos Forman. Photo by Ron Galella/Getty Images

D’Angelo immediately caught Forman’s attention, professionally and romantically. A dinner date led to a love affair, which only complicated the casting process. “There were more auditions, and even more auditions, because people started to know that I was having an affair,” D’Angelo admitted.

He Wanted Her as Both a Lover and an Actress

She also confessed to having fled to London, where she got a pleading phone call from her lover/director, saying, “I need you.” So, she asked, “As a girlfriend or as an actress?” He then replied: “Just come back—both!” She came back, and obviously, she got the part.

Milos Forman holds Beverly D’Angelo’s hand as they pose with the rest of the cast.
Photo by Gilbert TOURTE/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images

It’s not surprising that D’Angelo kept finding herself involved in love affairs since she’s so darn lovable. In 1986, she started a romance with Irish director Neil Jordan (from The Crying Game), who cast her in the comedy, High Spirits, two years later.

From Director to Director

Neil Jordan even wrote a movie for her, The Miracle from 1991, finally providing her with a juicy, custom-made part her supporters felt was long overdue. She played a woman, who comes to an Irish town and seduces a young local lad, only to find out that they’re related.

Beverly D’Angelo seduces Donal McCann in the movie ‘The Miracle.’
Source: Copyright: Miramax Films

Miramax bought the film, but Jordan thinks it didn’t work out because Harvey Weinstein, who ran the company, “dumped” it during release. D’Angelo admitted to not having done her best for that film, and it’s because her romance with Jordan ended before shooting even began.

People Love Working With Her

D’Angelo’s fellow actors love to work with her. “She’s thoroughly enjoyable,” is what Michael O’Keefe said about her. They co-starred in ‘’A Hard Day’s Night and “Finders Keepers” . “She’s hilarious. She’s completely whacked-out, in the right way.”

Beverly D’Angelo, Sandra Bernhard, and Michael O’Keefe attend an event.
Beverly D’Angelo, Sandra Bernhard, Michael O’Keefe. Photo by Ron Galella/Getty Images

Marquee movies, however, were out of grasp. When Sweet Dreams came out in 1985, a movie revolving around Patsy Cline, Jessica Lange was cast instead of D’Angelo. It seemed as though she herself was more interesting than the movies surrounding her. But as was mentioned earlier, she was kind of blasé about the whole Hollywood thing, anyways.

She Didn’t Make the Cheerleading Team

When D’Angelo was a teenager, all she wanted to be was a cheerleader. The second oldest child, her family was part of the wealthy, WASPy suburb of Upper Arlington. Naturally, she tried out for the cheerleading team at Upper Arlington High School.

A studio portrait of Beverly D’Angelo.
Photo by Harry Langdon/Getty Images

Her audition was “great,” but it wasn’t meant to be. The shoo-in was categorized as “a mere alternate.” As D’Angelo recalled that moment, she said her theory for not getting picked as “the big-deal cheerleader” was because, “statistically speaking, there’s always a cheerleader that gets knocked up.” In her eyes, they looked at her and thought, “That’s the one” to get knocked up.

She Was Named After a Building… Or a Drummer

D’Angelo’s first-ever home was in the Beverly Manor Apartments, where her parents were living in 1951. Family lore holds that the building inspired her first name. Then again, she also heard that she was named after a drummer friend of her father’s. Obviously, she preferred the drummer story.

A portrait of Beverly D’Angelo in her school days.
Source: Facebook 

D’Angelo had some interesting stories to tell about her parents. Like how in the summer of 1949, her father Gene, a first-generation Italian American who made a living as a musician, and some of his friends were heading to make an appearance at an Upper Arlington swimming pool.

Where She Gets Her Romantic Side From

It was at the pool that the guys figured they would meet some rich, pretty girls. “He walks in, zoot-suited up, to that swimming pool and sees my mother,” D’Angelo told Columbus Monthly. The pair eloped four months after their first poolside encounter.

A portrait of Beverly D’Angelo in nature.
Photo by Manfred Baumann

Now we know where D’Angelo’s romantic side comes from. Eventually, Gene D’Angelo entered the broadcasting business and became chairman and president of WBNS-TV. Slowly, the family grew more and more conforming, and as she grew up, they would all buy the same clothes, wear their hair the same, speak the same, and eat the same.

She Felt Like She Was Suffocating at Home

During her time in high school, she spent a summer in Italy and it really affected the way she saw life and love. When she came back to America, she had a sticker on her suitcase, reading “Make Love, Not War.” Her experience in Italy opened her eyes to life outside her world in suburbia.

 A portrait of Beverly D’Angelo/
Photo by Paramount/Getty Images

She felt like she was suffocating in her hometown: “It was like if somebody had shown you how to fly, and then you were locked in a cage,” she stated. She finished her senior year of high school in a very glum state. She escaped through magazines. One particular article about Janis Joplin led to her vision of California.

She Went to Canada to Fulfill Her Secret Wish

Thanks to her dad’s media connections, D’Angelo did eventually make it to the Golden State. The fact that she participated in an art-study program on her trip to Italy also helped her cause. Her dad got her a job as an inker and painter at the Hanna-Barbera Animation Studio.

Beverly D’Angelo looks at her reflection in the mirror wearing a crown of flowers.
Photo by Reg Innell/Toronto Star/Getty Images

The talented young woman wanted to make a living, of course, but her real vision was to be part of the “summer of love.” What she ended up doing in the early ‘70s was move to Canada to indulge in her secret wish to become a singer, like Janis Joplin, her then-idol.

She Sang in a Topless Bar… in a Dress

In Canada, D’Angelo joined a musicians’ union as a castanet player. She managed to find a gig singing jazz standards from 6 to 11 p.m. in a topless bar in Toronto called the Zanzibar Tavern. She didn’t sing topless, though.

Beverly D’Angelo sings onstage.
Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Toronto Star/Getty Images

She said she would sing in a long black dress “between two girls on these oil drums with the tops cut off and plexiglass with a light that would shoot up and illuminate them as they danced in a G-string.” It was definitely a trip, and she loved it because she “felt like Billie Holiday.”

Her First Acting Gigs Were in Canada

While she was actively pursuing singing, it was acting that she fell into. While in Canada, she found herself taking on a part in a radio musical about Marilyn Monroe. She then toured the country as Ophelia in a rock ’n’ roll version of Hamlet.

A publicity portrait of Beverly D’Angelo.
Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

In 1976, when the show opened on Broadway, D’Angelo spoke about how it was all very “natural” that she was plucked from obscurity. “It all seemed very logical. I knew I could handle the music.” It didn’t take long for casting directors to fall for her.

A New Generation of Fans

In the 2000s, D’Angelo renewed her career for a new generation of fans. All the kids who grew up watching her in the Vacation films could find her in movies aimed at teenagers. In 2001, she appeared in the Freddie Prinze Jr. comedy called Summer Catch.

Beverly D’Angelo and Courtney Knox in a publicity still from ‘Cougar Town.’
Source: Copyright: ABC

She also played a part in 2008’s “Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay” and The House Bunny. It was around this time that she also starred in episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, not to mention the recurring role in Entourage as a mentor to Jeremy Piven’s Ari Gold.

Her Upcoming Projects

As of summer 2021, D’Angelo has a few projects in the works with one of them currently in post-production, The Good House, directed by Maya Forbes and starring Sigourney Weaver, Kevin Kline and Morena Baccarin.

Beverly D’Angelo poses for the press.
Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

In post-production is also the horror film Capps Crossing: Wrong Side of Dead. In addition, she’s starring in 2021’s Christmas vs. The Walters, co-starring Bruce Dern and Dean Winters. D’Angelo also has a thriller on the way, Masha’s Mushroom, which stars Tara Reid and Vivica A. Fox. The actress is also working on a memoir. She’s been quoted as saying, “When my past becomes more interesting than my present, then I’ll write the memoir.”

What Her Home Looked Like

It’s always fun to see how celebs live, right? Well, this is the house she lived in for a long time. But in 2017, D’Angelo decided to sell the home that she lived in for over a decade. The star has owned a Beverly Hills home since 2005. She had listed the place back in 2008 but then took it off the market.

D’Angelo Beverly Hills home.
Source: Pinterest

It’s never fun to say goodbye to the house that you call home but selling hers had a good outcome in the end. According to the Los Angeles Times, it sold for $2.6 million. It looks like D’Angelo can make another house into a dream home.