Kate Capshaw

Kathleen Capshaw Spielberg (née Nail) (born November 3, 1953) is an American retired actress, best known for her portrayal of Willie Scott, an American nightclub singer and performer in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), directed by eventual husband Steven Spielberg. Since then, she starred in Dreamscape (1984), Power (1986), Black Rain (1989), Love Affair (1994), Just Cause (1995) and The Love Letter (1999).

Kate Capshaw
Capshaw in June 1984
Kathleen Sue Nail

(1953-11-03) November 3, 1953
Alma materUniversity of Missouri
Years active1981–2001
Robert Capshaw
(m. 1976; div. 1980)

Steven Spielberg
(m. 1991)
Children7, including Jessica Capshaw and Sasha Spielberg

Early life

Capshaw was born Kathleen Sue Nail in Fort Worth, Texas, the daughter of Beverley Sue (née Simon), a travel agent and beautician, and Edwin Leon Nail, an airline employee.[1][2] She moved to St. Louis, Missouri, at the age of five, and graduated from Hazelwood Senior High, now called Hazelwood Central High School, in 1972. Capshaw earned a degree in education from the University of Missouri, where she was a member of Alpha Delta Pi. She taught Special Education at Southern Boone County High School in Ashland, Missouri, and Rock Bridge High School in Columbia, Missouri.

She married marketing manager Robert Capshaw in January 1976 and they had one child, Jessica Capshaw, before eventually divorcing in 1980. However, she kept the surname Capshaw, which she used for her professional name upon becoming an actress.


Capshaw moved to New York City to pursue her dream of acting, landing her first role on the soap opera The Edge of Night. After auditioning for a small role in A Little Sex, she was offered the role of the leading lady, which is when she asked for a dismissal from The Edge of Night. She starred in Dreamscape in 1984.

She met film director and future husband Steven Spielberg upon winning the female lead as Willie Scott in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), a prequel to Spielberg's Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981). Capshaw starred opposite Harrison Ford, who played the titular character, Indiana Jones. In addition, she appeared as Andie Bergstrom, an appealing and stern yet frustrated camp instructor in the 1986 film SpaceCamp, opposite Richard Gere and Gene Hackman in Power (1986), and starred as Susanna McKaskel in The Quick and The Dead (1987) with Sam Elliott. Capshaw also starred in the spy film/romance Her Secret Life.[3]

Capshaw had roles in several films throughout the late 1980s into the 1990s. She starred alongside Michael Douglas and Andy García in Black Rain (1989), Sean Connery and Laurence Fishburne in Just Cause (1995), and Warren Beatty and Katharine Hepburn in Love Affair (1994). She was also featured in the 1997 film The Alarmist with David Arquette and Stanley Tucci. In 1999, she starred and produced The Love Letter.

In 2001, she starred in the Showtime Cable Network TV Movie A Girl Thing,[4] with Stockard Channing, Rebecca De Mornay and Elle Macpherson.[5] She retired from acting after her final screen appearance in the 2001 TV movie, Due East.

Personal life

During the production of the film Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), she became close with director Steven Spielberg, whom she later married. Originally an Episcopalian, she converted to Judaism[6][7] before marrying Spielberg on October 12, 1991. The two were married in both a civil ceremony and an Orthodox ceremony.[8]

There are seven children in the Spielberg-Capshaw family.

  • Jessica Capshaw (born August 9, 1976) – daughter of Capshaw's previous marriage to Robert Capshaw
  • Max Samuel Spielberg (born June 13, 1985) – son from Spielberg's previous marriage to actress Amy Irving
  • Theo Spielberg (born 1988) – son adopted by Capshaw before her marriage to Spielberg, who later also adopted him[9]
  • Sasha Rebecca Spielberg (born May 14, 1990, Los Angeles)[10]
  • Sawyer Avery Spielberg (born March 10, 1992, Los Angeles)[11]
  • Mikaela George (born February 28, 1996) – adopted with Steven Spielberg[12]
  • Destry Allyn Spielberg (born December 1, 1996)[13]

Capshaw endorsed Democratic U.S. President Barack Obama for re-election in 2012.[14]



Year Title Role Note
1982 A Little Sex Katherine
1984 Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom Willie Scott
1984 Best Defense Laura Cooper
1984 Dreamscape Jane DeVries
1984 Windy City Emily Reubens
1986 Power Sydney Betterman
1986 SpaceCamp Andie Bergstrom
1988 Private Affairs Brunetta
1989 Black Rain Joyce
1990 Love at Large Mrs. Ellen McGraw
1991 My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys Jolie
1994 Love Affair Lynn Weaver
1995 Just Cause Laurie Prentiss Armstrong
1995 How to Make an American Quilt Sally Dodd
1997 The Locusts Delilah Ashford Potts
1997 The Alarmist Gale Ancona
1999 The Love Letter Helen MacFarquhar Also Producer


Year Title Role Notes
1981 The Edge of Night Jinx Avery Mallory #1
1982 Missing Children: A Mother's Story Elaine Rogers TV Movie
1987 The Quick and the Dead Susanna McKaskel TV Movie
1987 Her Secret Life Annie TV Movie
1988 Internal Affairs Joanna Gates TV Movie
1993 Black Tie Affair Margo Cody TV Series; 13 Episodes
1994 Next Door Karen Coler TV Movie
1996 Duke of Groove Rebecka Short film
2001 A Girl Thing Casey Montgomery TV Movie
2001 Due East Becky Purdue TV Movie


  1. Kate Capshaw Biography (1953–)
  2. "Edwin Nail, Kate Capshaw's dad, dies at 65 Actress, her husband, Steven Spielberg, attend funeral", Fort Worth Star-Telegram, December 30, 1998
  3. Code Name Dancer (1987) at Rotten Tomatoes
  4. "The DVD of A Girl Thing" reviewed at Amazon
  5. "Elle's Sexy Lesbian Romp." at Cinema.com
  6. Arenson, Karen W. (September 24, 1995). "From 'Schindler's List,' a Jewish Mission". New York Times. The New York Times Company. p. 1001030. Retrieved 17 December 2018.
  7. Weinraub, Bernard (12 December 1993). "Film: Steven Spielberg Faces the Holocaust". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Archived from the original on 18 February 2001. Retrieved 17 December 2018.
  8. Sanello, Frank (1996). Spielberg: The Man, the Movies, the Mythology. Taylor Publishing Co. p. 274. ISBN 9780878339112.
  9. "Spielberg, Steven – Fun Facts, Answers, Factoids, Info, Information". Funtrivia.com. Archived from the original on 9 March 2010. Retrieved March 2, 2010.
  10. "SPIELBERG, SASHA REBECCA". Familytreelegends.com. May 14, 1990. Archived from the original on 7 March 2012. Retrieved January 31, 2011.
  11. "SPIELBERG, SAWYER AVERY". Familytreelegends.com. Pearl Street Software. Archived from the original on 8 February 2012. Retrieved January 31, 2011.
  12. Greissinger, Lisa Kay (15 April 1996). "Passages". People.com. Time Inc. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 26 April 2013.
  13. "Steven Spielberg Fast Facts". Cable News Network. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. 11 April 2013. Retrieved 26 April 2013.
  14. Weinger, Mackenzie (16 July 2011). "Hollywood stars open wallets for Obama". Politico. Archived from the original on 21 November 2011. Retrieved 16 July 2011.
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