From Hollywood to the Huether: 'Three Men and a Baby' twins stay close to home
Published Thursday, June 19, 2014 5:03PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, June 19, 2014 7:28PM EDT
Not many people can say they’ve spent time with Tom Selleck and Steve Guttenberg.
Lisa Blair and Michelle Blair-Ontonovich can – even if they don’t exactly remember it.
Back in 1987, the twin sisters from Waterloo shared a vital role in Hollywood blockbuster Three Men and a Baby.
While Selleck, Guttenberg and Ted Danson played the titular three men, the four-month-old Blairs stole audience hearts with their performances as baby Mary.
And to hear mother Geriann Blair tell it, her daughters would never have filled the roles had she realized exactly what the casting call was for.
“I was just looking for something to do,” she says.
“I thought it was something to fill the day, and it turned into something way different.”
Geriann had taken her daughters to Toronto for a day trip, having seen a newspaper ad for a casting call.
As the casting company narrowed down its choices, the Blairs remained in the running – eventually being offered the part.
Filming was conducted in New York – where, by being “in the right place at the right time”, Geriann got a kiss from Tom Selleck – and Toronto.
Lisa and Michelle have their own memories of working with Selleck – both relating to an enduring scene in which baby Mary, yet to be toilet-trained, finds his character in acceptable substitute.
In the movie, Lisa was the one playing Mary for that scene. When it was redone for a promotional poster, it was Michelle’s turn.
“He was shocked, probably, ‘This baby’s peeing on me!’” says Michelle.
Once the film was released, it became the biggest box office hit of the year.
Back in Waterloo, the young Blairs became instant celebrities.
“We don’t really remember the movie itself, but people coming up to us on the streets ‘Oh, you two were the twins in Three Men and a Baby!’” Lisa recalls.
The sisters never acted in films again. They grew up in Waterloo, and remain there to this day.
Lisa is a barista at the Huether Hotel, while Michelle works in the insurance industry, but is in the midst of maternity leave.
Having a real son, one-half of Ted Danson’s fictional daughter says, has changed her life as much her character changed the lives of Danson, Guttenberg and Selleck’s characters.
“I love having a baby. It’s so much fun. They just change so fast – you have to enjoy every moment while you can,” she says.
Lisa and Michelle say they still rewatch the movie on occasion – although they can’t tell which one of them they’re seeing during any given scene.