A Family Upside Down

A Family Upside Down is a 1978 American made-for-television drama film starring Helen Hayes, Fred Astaire, Efrem Zimbalist Jr., Pat Crowley and Patty Duke. Directed by David Lowell Rich from a teleplay written by Gerald Di Pego, it was originally broadcast on April 9, 1978 on NBC.

A Family Upside Down
Written byGerald Di Pego
Directed byDavid Lowell Rich
StarringHelen Hayes
Fred Astaire
Efrem Zimbalist Jr.
Pat Crowley
Patty Duke
Music byHenry Mancini
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
Producer(s)Ross Hunter
Jacque Mapes
CinematographyJoseph Biroc
Editor(s)Richard Bracken
Running time98 minutes
Production company(s)Paramount Television
Ross Hunter Productions
Original networkNBC
Original releaseApril 9, 1978 (1978-04-09)

Astaire won a Primetime Emmy Award as Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama or Comedy Special for his performance and the film also won a Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture Made for Television.


Ted Long (Fred Astaire) is a retiree who suffers a debilitating heart attack that leaves him incapable of caring for himself. Unable to rely on his wife Emma (Helen Hayes), herself suffering from deteriorating health, Ted grows increasingly dependent on his adult children for his basic needs. Familial bonds are tested when Ted and Emma decide to move in with their son Mike (Efrem Zimbalist Jr.) and daughter-in-law Carol (Pat Crowley) rather than face the prospect of living in a retirement home.


Awards and nominations

1978Primetime Emmy AwardOutstanding Lead Actor in a Drama or Comedy SpecialFred AstaireWon
1978Primetime Emmy AwardOutstanding Cinematography in Entertainment Programming for a SpecialJoseph BirocNominated
1978Primetime Emmy AwardOutstanding Lead Actress in a Drama or Comedy SpecialHelen HayesNominated
1978Primetime Emmy AwardOutstanding Performance by a Supporting Actress in a Drama or Comedy SpecialPatty DukeNominated
1978Primetime Emmy AwardOutstanding Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Comedy or Drama SpecialEfrem Zimbalist Jr.Nominated
1979Golden Globe AwardBest Motion Picture Made for TelevisionA Family Upside DownWon


  1. A Family Upside Down at Library of Congress
  2. A Family Upside Down - Awards & Nominations at Emmys.com
  3. A Family Upside Down Award at Golden Globes.com
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