Actress and Upper Arlington native Beverly D’Angelo on starring in “Christmas Vacation”


By Jerry Revish

Talking to Beverly D’Angelo is like chatting with an old friend.

The big surprise here is that I never met her before our Skype interview. I found her to be easy going, animated and without pretention. Fun, even.

Born and raised in Upper Arlington, she’s been away from home for decades, singing, acting and enjoying a life she’s carved out for herself in Hollywood Hills. She comes back to Central Ohio regularly to visit her family.

She's done 60 movies, been nominated for a Golden Globe and is perhaps best known as Ellen Griswold in "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation." The classic family Christmas story was released on December 1, 1989 and is still going strong.

D'Angelo says the movie has staying power because there's a little bit of everyone's family in it.

“There was this determination by Clark Griswold – played by Chevy Chase – to give his family the best holiday experience ever and his wife Ellen, stuck with him through thick and thin … and there was lot of thin."

Chevy Chase was the bumbling but trying-hard dad, with grand ideas on how to please his family.

“It’s like so many families,” said D’Angelo. “They want to do family things together, they want it to work out, it doesn’t always, but they eventually get there.”

D’Angelo is the daughter of former 10TV General Manager, Gene D'Angelo.

She remembers how he and her mother Priscilla, created special Christmas memories for her and her siblings. “I was raised witnessing a fantastic love affair and at Christmas time it manifested itself the most."

The musical background of her parents also helped shape her interest in singing, vocal prowess that led her into the movie business and landing a starring role in "Coal Miner’s Daughter."

She played country singer Patsy Cline. Sissy Spacek played Loretta Lynn. “I found that role through listening to Patsy. I could hear her voice. I got to know her through the way she expressed herself and the emotion that she put into phrasing and that informed me most about who she was.”

D’Angelo performed all the Patsy Cline songs in the movie. It brought her a Golden Globe nomination.

D’Angelo is raising 17-year-old twins, a boy and girl, which she had with her then-husband, actor Al Pacino.

She's still acting too, currently in a Netflix series, titled "Insatiable" and a second project for USA network, called "Shooter."