Nine Famous “Sister Acts”

The Pointer Sisters

The previous List of 9 was all about well-known filmmaking brothers. I thought it only fair to give equal time to teams of sisters who have achieved notoriety for their work, and since, sadly, there aren't enough teams of filmmaking sisters to draw a list from, I had to broaden the scope a little bit to include female siblings in all aspects of culture. There are more than nine sets, of course; I am only listing a few.

  1. Venus and Serena Williams. Only the most celebrated pair of siblings in tennis – perhaps in all professional sports.
  2. Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë. We all know that Emily wrote Wuthering Heights while Charlotte wrote Jane Eyre. But ten bucks says that you can't name either of Anne's two novels: Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.
  3. Maxene, Patti, and LaVerne Andrews. When I think of music from the 1940s, I think of the Andrews Sisters. Who doesn't? "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy", "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree", "Rum and Coca-Cola"... the hits just kept on comin'.
  4. Joan Fontaine and Olivia de Havilland. Technically they are "the de Havillands", but Joan decided to take her mother's maiden name while forging her Hollywood career in order to distance herself from her year-older sister Olivia. The two feuded throughout their professional lives and have been estranged from each other for over thirty years. Not really a "team" like these other ladies, but a fascinating pair of siblings, even as they edge into their nineties.
  5. Katia and Marielle Labèque. One of the world's most renowned classical piano duos, hailing from France. Hilary and Jacqueline Du Pré may have been the first big classical music sisters, but as Jacqueline soon outshone Hilary (who in turn outlived Jacqueline), they were never a true duo like the Labèques.
  6. Angella, Lucia, and Maria Ahn. Not to be outdone, these Korean-American sisters formed a classical trio: violin, piano, and cello. Because of their youth and beauty, the Ahn Trio are perhaps more fetishized than accepted as serious musicians.
  7. Ruth, Anita, and June Pointer. The Pointer Sisters started out with four, but sister Bonnie eventually left the group, and her solo career never quite "Jump"ed to the level that the three other Pointers enjoyed in the mid-'80s, with the aforementioned hit as well as "I'm So Excited", "Neutron Dance", "He's So Shy", and so on.
  8. Zsa Zsa, Eva, and Magda Gabor. Showbiz has long been rife with dilettantish celebrity sisters who have good looks and newsworthy love lives but dubious talent. And so it was the Hungarian-born Gabors who set the standard for the Hiltons, the Duffs, the Simpsons, etc. At least Eva is remembered for her actual work (in Green Acres, primarily); Zsa Zsa is remembered mainly for being Zsa Zsa, and Magda isn't remembered at all.
  9. Nora and Delia Ephron. At last! Filmmaking sisters! The Ephrons have written many Hollywood scripts together, with Nora usually directing. Unfortunately, their work is hardly the favorite of critics, and it's hard to argue when their output includes You've Got Mail at best, the Bewitched remake at worst, and movies such as Michael and Mixed Nuts somewhere in between.