Kathleen "Kate" Capshaw Spielberg (born November 3, 1953) is an American actress, best known for her portrayal of Willie Scott, an American nightclub singer and performer in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. During the production of the film, she met director Steven Spielberg, whom she later married.
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. 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, actress Jessica Capshaw, before eventually divorcing in 1980. However, she kept the surname Capshaw and adopted it as 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, a spoiled and stubborn sexy American night-club singer and performer opposite Harrison Ford (Indiana Jones) for Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), the prequel to the acclaimed and highly successful Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981). In addition, she appeared as Andie Bergstrom, an appealing and stern yet frustrated camp instructor, in the 1986 film SpaceCamp and starred as Susanna McKaskel in The Quick and The Dead (1987) with Sam Elliott.
Capshaw also starred in the spy film/romance Code Name Dancer. Capshaw was featured in films throughout the late 1980s into the 1990s, including Black Rain, Just Cause, Private Affairs, and The Love Letter, and was also featured in the 1997 film The Alarmist with David Arquette and Stanley Tucci. In 2001 she starred in the Showtime Cable Network miniseries A Girl Thing with Elle Macpherson.
Capshaw, originally an Episcopalian, converted to Judaism before marrying director Steven Spielberg, on October 12, 1991. The two were married in both a civil ceremony and an Orthodox ceremony.
There are seven children in the Spielberg-Capshaw family.
- Jessica Capshaw (born August 9, 1976) – daughter of Kate 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
- Sasha Rebecca Spielberg (born May 14, 1990, Los Angeles)
- Sawyer Avery Spielberg (born March 10, 1992, Los Angeles)
- Mikaela George (born February 28, 1996) – adopted with Steven Spielberg
- Destry Allyn Spielberg (born December 1, 1996)
Capshaw endorsed Democratic U.S. President Barack Obama for re-election in 2012.