Penelope Ann Miller Admits She’s Fallen Victim to Ageism in Hollywood

Penelope Ann Miller
Penelope Ann Miller (currently starring in American Crime) admits that she faces ageism in Hollywood. "It sucks," says Miller. Gabriel Olsen/Getty Images

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Penelope Ann Miller made a splash early in her career in roles including Carlito’s Way and Other People’s Money in the late ’90s, and now, at age 51, Miller admits that she’s been passed over for plum gigs in favor of younger actresses. “It’s a fact — [ageism] is out there,” Miller said in an April 27 HuffPost Live interview. “The roles that there’s interest in for me, it’s not the girlfriend part, let’s put it that way.”

Though she’s sitting pretty in a talked-about role on ABC’s hit drama American Crime, Miller says that getting passed over for other jobs still stings, even when she can see the reasoning behind it.

“There were actresses — like [with] Other People’s Money — like Deborah Winger, and Susan Sarandon, people who wanted this role. And I was a young up-and-coming actress and I got that role,” Miller said. “I remember thinking ‘Imagine how they must have felt.’ Now I’m that woman.”

When auditioning, Miller adopts the mantra ‘just keep working.’ Said the star: “My agents just have to remind me that you have to go where there’s good parts and kind of get your ego out of the way.”

Miller applauds her industry peers like Julianne Moore, Meryl Streep, and Diane Keaton, who all maintain their success and sex appeal as they age. “I do find that it’s frustrating, but . . . Diane Keaton, where she did that movie with Jack Nicholson, she kind of revived her career a little bit by playing in a romantic film. Meryl Streep’s done it too. She’s been able to bridge that gap,” said Miller. “Julianne Moore’s doing it all. She’s considered sexy, and she won an Academy Award.”

For more from Miller — including details on her American Crime role, and what it was like giving herself a dowdy make under for Adventures in Babysitting — watch the interview above now!

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