Writer/director Bruce Joel Rubin's mother leaves a lasting image on his latest film

By George Mannes
Updated June 24, 1994 at 04:00 AM EDT

It’s one of Life‘s bittersweet moments: In the recent video release My Life, Michael Keaton plays a dying public-relations executive who makes home videos as a memorial of his life. Inadvertently, My Life itself became a memorial to Sondra Rubin, the mother of writer/director Bruce Joel Rubin; she died of a cerebral hemorrhage last September, four months after filming a cameo as the relative who opens the door at a family party to welcome the couple played by Keaton and Nicole Kidman.

In fact, Rubin’s entire family seems to be in the movie. ”If [you] froze the frame [in the wedding scene], you would see my brother, my sister-in-law, my wife, my kids, my nieces and nephews,” he says. ”I decided it was the last time I ever make a film with my relatives, ’cause when you start cutting the film, you have to worry about whether you’re cutting your relatives out of it.”