The Brolin family sure is loaded with talent. The family’s patriarch, James, has been busy acting in TV series and films since 1960. His son Josh achieved fame in movies like Milk (2008) and True Grit (2010). James’ wife since 1998 is legendary singer, actress, and director Barbra Streisand. His former wife is actress Jan Smithers.
But did you know there’s another Brolin who is in the entertainment industry? James’ daughter, Molly Elizabeth Brolin, has been a presence behind the scenes on various productions for years. Here’s everything we know about her.
Molly Elizabeth Brolin Is A Producer
Molly, who graduated from the Berklee College of Music in Boston, has an eclectic array of projects to her credit. She worked on theatrical films including Men in Black (2012) and John Mulaney: New in Town (2012). She ventured into rock opera territory two years later in 2014 with Smile Swamp Princess—which was directed by Eden Brolin, daughter of Molly’s half-brother, Josh.
After that, Molly was the assistant producer on a TV movie for the Hallmark Channel, Royal Hearts (2018). It starred her dad as a Montana rancher who unexpectedly inherits a kingdom. James also was the executive producer and director of the film.
Molly’ creativity led her to become a metalsmith artist who crafts wearable objects of silver and gold. According to her website, she does custom work on request.
Her Parents Are Both Successful Actors
James Brolin has had a successful career as an actor going back decades to his days on the TV drama series Marcus Welby, M.D. (1969-76) and Hotel (1983-88). More recently, he was in a sitcom called Life in Pieces (2015-19).
His rugged handsomeness and imposing 6’4” stature first caught the eye of audiences who saw him in TV series like Love, American Style (1969-74), Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1964-68), and Twelve O’Clock High (1964-67).
James has appeared in movies as well, including Traffic (2000) and Catch Me If You Can (2002).
It seems like he’s close to Molly. The fact that they worked together on Royal Hearts indicates as much, along with the sweet photos he has posted of her on his Instagram.
Her Mother Is James’ Second Wife, Jan Smithers
Viewers may remember Smithers from her roles in TV shows such as WKRP in Cincinnati (1978-82), The New Mike Hammer (1985), and Cover Up (1985). However, Smithers came to the public’s attention in an unlikely way long before she was on the small screen.
In 1966, she was the quintessential pretty California girl with long, blonde hair who looked like she could have come straight out of a Beach Boys song. Smithers was spotted by two people from Newsweek who told her they were working on a story about teenagers and asked if she would like to be part of it. She said yes—and landed on the cover.
After that, Smithers did some commercials during high school and was eventually tapped for the role of Bailey Quarters on WKRP. She met James Brolin while they were filming Hotel, and the pair got married in 1986.
Molly was their only child. Smithers had intended to take just six months off from working to raise her, but her love for her daughter superseded her desire to go back in front of the camera. “I loved having a career, but when I met Molly, I just looked at her and told her, ‘You need me,’” Smithers told Newsweek.
As for her marriage, it fell apart after nine years due to James’ frequent absences from home for work. Smithers wanted a quiet life away from the hustle of Hollywood. “I had Molly,” she explained, “and wanted to be in the country and get away from that world.”
Her Brother, Josh, Is A Gen X Icon
Josh Brolin is the son of James and his first wife, Jane Cameron Agee, whose death affected Josh profoundly. “My mom dying when I was in my twenties [was painful]. All the impact that had on me that I hadn’t moved past; I was always such a mama’s boy,” he said.
Josh’s breakout role—playing Brandon Walsh in The Goonies (1985)—was followed by lots of other high-profile parts in films like No Country for Old Men (2007) and Thanos in the Marvel franchise. His acting has been recognized with an Academy Award nomination and a Screen Actors Guild award, among other honors.
The Brolins seem to be a close-knit clan, partly because they all like being involved in the entertainment scene. Molly has shown that she has an affinity for producing. She and her family have truly earned their place in the ranks of notable Hollywood dynasties like the Sheen/Estevez, Bridges, and Arquette families.