Six Edgy Actors Who Segued Into Family Films

By Matt Prigge
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Jan. 12, 2010

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Clifton Webb: Even if you once participated in a song called “Fuck tha Police,” you can always find a new career making films that babysit children when their caretakers are otherwise engaged. Known today for playing the beleagured paterfamilias in the 1950 film Cheaper by the Dozen , the gaunt Clifton Webb was also capable of great menace. He’s the ideal of the classy murderer in Otto Preminger’s Laura , a film that also features Vincent Price in one of his early non-horror turns.

Fred MacMurray: He spent most of his latter years playing the dad on My Three Sons and Flubber -inventor Ned Brainard, but make no mistake: Fred MacMurray could be badass. Years earlier he was half of a smolderingly sexaholic couple in Double Indemnity , a role calling for him to ooze slime and lasciviousness while holding his own with Barbara Stanwyck.

Chantal Goya: The button-cute Goya was a star of the Yé-yé French pop scene whose chief cinematic relevance is playing Jean-Pierre Léaud’s vacuous pop-star girlfriend in Jean-Luc Godard’s Masculine-Feminine . But scenes die out, and in the ’70s, alongside husband Jean-Jacques Debout, she reinvented herself as a Julie Andrews-style children’s singer, which she still does today. (Check out her surreal website.)

Eddie Murphy: In 1987, Eddie Murphy was releasing concert movies in which he gay-bashed, described immense swinging dicks and inadvertently revealed his mistrust of women. After a lengthy career plateau, he re-emerged with the toilet-humor-heavy The Nutty Professor and with exceptions—an Oscar-nominated role in Dreamgirls he has yet to follow up—has never looked back. Can you blame him?

Ice Cube: If the guy who performed “If I Was Fucking You” can do movies opposite central-casting twerps, anyone can.

Jackie Chan: The goofy, manic martial artist’s films are already child-friendly. One made exclusively for wee ones is just ... evil.

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