THEN: Before anybody had heard the term MILF (“Mom I’d like to F*ck”), there was Diane Freeling. She was the ideal movie mom. She was incredibly hot in a natural way, she liked to smoke a little pot and she would risk everything she had to rescue her children in the 1982 Steven Spielberg produced, Tobe Hooper directed POLTERGEIST. JoBeth Williams was perfect in the role. She brought real character and vulnerability to Diane. Even in the lesser sequel POLTERGEIST 2: THE OTHER SIDE, she gave a wonderful performance and was part of the reason people still love the original horror masterpiece.
While Williams has shied away from horror for most of her career, the same year that POLTERGEIST terrified audiences, the actress starred in a sci-fi flick opposite Robert Urich called ENDANGERED SPECIES. However, the one movie that she starred in that absolutely horrified me as a kid was the TV movie “The Day After” in 1983. This nuclear war mini-series was enough to scare the bejesus out of a young kid that kinda didn’t want the destruction of the world to happen before he could drive. Even though most of her career she mostly avoided our beloved genre, the impression she made in all these flicks for me was immeasurable.
Ghostly goodness aside, Williams appeared in a number of other films that made my young self very happy. Who could forget the lovely lass in all her glory in KRAMER VS KRAMER (1979), or as one of the baby booming chicks reuniting with old classmates in THE BIG CHILL (1983)? There was something very refreshing about this Texas born charmer. She is the real deal. Beauty, brains and one hell of a talented actress, she was a refreshing change of pace from the pretty on the outside starlet that really had not much else to offer.
Throughout the years, in an age when older women have found it very difficult to find roles, JoBeth continues to grow. Sure she never became a major star, but she remained consistent as a working actor. While she might have played minor roles, or larger supporting roles, her resume is pretty impressive. And even though horror wasn’t her bread and butter, fans of “Dexter” may remember her from a four episode arc in 2007 playing Julie Benz’s mother. JoBeth is the type of actress that always stands out, whether she is starring in her own short lived series, “The Client” (based on the John Grisham book and movie), or just stealing the spotlight in a guest role. You name the series this lovely lady has probably been on it.
Recently, you might have seen the actress on the Kerry Washington series “Scandal” or over there with the lovely Jaime King and Rachel Bilson on “Hart of Dixie.” The irony is that JoBeth is still playing moms – even if her fictional children are much older nowadays. According to her IMDb page, she has completed another film called THE LAST FILM FESTIVAL, co-starring Dennis Hopper (who sadly passed away in 2010?!?). Of course there isn’t too much information on this flick but it would be nice to see her on the big screen again. While she has long since left Diane Freeling behind, Ms. Williams is still hard at work with a ton of guest spots on a number of shows. Even if she is only a guest star, I’m happy to report that this terrific actress continues to work and frankly, she still is still a stunningly attractive woman with the talent to back it up.
Who is your favorite horror movie MILF? How about between JoBeth Williams and Dee Wallace?