Stanley Kubrick’s Daughter Shares Photos of Herself Growing Up on Her Father’s Film Sets

kubricks chair

Since Vivian Kubrick was in grade school, she worked as a col­lab­o­ra­tor with her famous film­mak­er father. She had cameos in a num­ber of his movies includ­ing 2001: A Space Odyssey and Bar­ry Lyn­don. She shot the behind-the-scenes doc­u­men­tary about the mak­ing of The Shin­ing at the age of 24. And she com­posed the score for Full Met­al Jack­et under the pseu­do­nym of Abi­gail Mead. Kubrick seemed to groom his daugh­ter to be his cin­e­mat­ic heir. And then in the late 90s, that all stopped. She cut off all con­tact with her fam­i­ly.

chimp kubrick

Kubrick’s fam­i­ly was ini­tial­ly cagey about what hap­pened to her, say­ing sim­ply that she was liv­ing in LA. But then in 2010, Kubrick’s step­daugh­ter Katha­ri­na opened up. “We weren’t lying, we were just being eco­nom­i­cal with the truth,” she told The Dai­ly Beast. “Because if you say, ‘My sis­ter has become a Sci­en­tol­o­gist,’ where do you go from that?”


The Church of Scientology’s pol­i­cy of dis­con­nec­tion is one of its most con­tro­ver­sial prac­tices. It’s not clear if Vivian for­mer­ly dis­con­nect­ed with her fam­i­ly but she did report­ed­ly attend her father’s funer­al in 1999 with a Sci­en­tol­o­gist min­der. When her sis­ter Anya died of can­cer in 2009, she did not attend that funer­al even though they were, by all accounts, insep­a­ra­ble grow­ing up.

anya vivian

The rift between Kubrick and his daugh­ter became final when he asked her to score Eyes Wide Shut and she refused, as “They had a huge fight. He was very unhap­py,” recalled Kubrick­’s wife and Vivian’s moth­er. “He wrote her a 40-page let­ter try­ing to win her back. He begged her end­less­ly to come home from Cal­i­for­nia. I’m glad he didn’t live to see what hap­pened.”

Crit­ic Lau­rent Vachaud argues that Eyes Wide Shut – a movie that seems about as open to inter­pre­ta­tion as The Shin­ing – is real­ly a requiem to his lost daugh­ter.


Recent­ly on her Twit­ter feed, Vivian post­ed a series of pho­tos of her­self on the set of her father’s movies. One pic­ture shows an eight-year old Vivian clutch­ing a baby chimp used on 2001. Anoth­er shows her hang­ing out on the milk bar set of A Clock­work Orange. “I helped cut out those Sty­ro­foam let­ters on the wall,” she writes. Anoth­er pic­ture shows Vivian sit­ting before a 16mm Steen­beck, edit­ing her doc­u­men­tary on The Shin­ing. And, most poignant­ly, one of her pic­ture’s shows Vivian and Kubrick embrac­ing on a deck chair.

“In Mem­o­ry of my Dad,” she writes. “Who I loved with all my heart and soul… Dad and Me on the back veran­da of Abbots Mead.”

More pho­tos can be found on her Twit­ter stream.

Via Dan­ger­ous Minds

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Stan­ley Kubrick’s Anno­tat­ed Copy of Stephen King’s The Shin­ing

Rare 1960s Audio: Stan­ley Kubrick’s Big Inter­view with The New York­er

Stan­ley Kubrick’s List of Top 10 Films (The First and Only List He Ever Cre­at­ed)

Jonathan Crow is a Los Ange­les-based writer and film­mak­er whose work has appeared in Yahoo!, The Hol­ly­wood Reporter, and oth­er pub­li­ca­tions. You can fol­low him at @jonccrow.

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Comments (7)
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  • Greg says:

    Her score for Full Met­al Jack­et was suit­ably tense, claustrophobic–especially of course the night scene in which Pri­vate Pyle los­es it…

  • Griffin says:

    That’s a good one.

  • Chuck Knowles says:

    An afi­ciona­do of Bernard Her­rmann scores for over 50 years, I put Vivian’s FMJ ultra-min­i­mal­ist score on that sum­mit, too.

  • M says:

    She actu­al­ly made the doc­u­men­tary of the mak­ing of The Shin­ing at 18 years old.

  • Kubrick enthusiast says:

    I weight­ed if I should write this, and you can guess my con­clu­sion.

    I have researched The Shin­ing very thor­ough­ly over the last decade. Put I just can­not remem­ber where and what evi­dence I col­lect­ed, but I still have to say the con­clu­sion.

    Vivian Kubrick filmed Mak­ing of The Shin­ing, but that doc­u­men­tary is par­tial­ly script­ed and direct­ed by Stan­ley. It’s used as “meta The Shin­ing” to describe that the true hor­rors of the movie are real, and it is like key that helps to unlock the film.

    Before I start­ed to research Mak­ing of The Shin­ing, I expect­ed it to con­firm many the­o­ries and evi­dences that I found in the film. And sure enough, those were in the doc­u­men­tary.

    As expe­ri­enced researcher, I don’t say these things light­ly. I strong­ly sug­gest ana­lyz­ing Kubrick­’s films and real­ly going through all the infor­ma­tion there already is, with open and recep­tive mind.

  • Arne Nilsson says:

    Ja, livet är svårt. Fy fan!

  • Felipe says:

    I want your con­tact

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