Actor Nicolas Cage’s mum, former dancer Joy Vogelsang, dead at 85


In a 1996 interview, Nicolas Cage said his mother was 'plagued with mental illness for most of my childhood', but added that she was 'the driving force in my creativity'. Photo: Handout

The mother of renowned actor Nicolas Cage, Joy Vogelsang, died in May. She was 85.

The announcement of her death was made by Cage’s brother, Christopher Coppola, in a Facebook post.

“I was with her all day but left for a couple of hours and missed her passing by a couple of hours so wasn’t able to hold her hand to give her my love and affection before her journey to peace land,” Coppola wrote, accompanied by a photo of him and his mother.

Coppola said that his mother had a “very hard life with mental health issues,” but commended her for teaching him many valuable life lessons.

“In all of that painful emotional chaos she still managed to teach me something super important,” he wrote. “My mama lioness told me, her middle son cub, that I was affectionate. I was very embarrassed by the term affection. I thought it was a bad thing, a something to laugh at thing.”

“Mama lioness looked at me deeply and said affection was a good thing and don’t let others embarrass me for being naturally affectionate. My fellow classmates told me, laughed at me, told me affection was a stupid thing, a make fun of thing. I was angry at my mama for putting me in that situation, a situation that made me feel more weird than I already did.”

He continued: “I believe only a mama can truly teach that. It’s not love thy neighbor. It’s smaller yet bigger. Shake one’s hand with tenderness and meaning. Don’t let your mind wander while you hug someone. And, and your kiss should definitely be sincere and in the moment...if it is not, well, that adds to hell on earth."

“She held me and told me softly that affection was a good thing and one day I may understand or not but I should always remember I was her affectionate cub."

Coppola's story concluded: "Life has nulled my innocence like it does for a lot of us but my mama died at 10:33pm 5/26 tonight."

In a 1996 interview with Playboy, Cage said that at the time, his mother was “plagued with mental illness for most of my childhood”, but added that she was “the driving force in my creativity”.

“She was institutionalised for years and went through shock treatments. She would go into these states that lasted for years. She went through these episodes of poetry — I don’t know what else to call it,” he said in the interview. “She would say the most amazing things, beautiful but scary. I’m sure they had an impact on me.” – New York Daily News/Tribune News Service

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