Josh Brolin was ‘freed’ by the death of his mother when it was the ‘worst thing that ever happened’

Josh Brolin lost his mother, Jane Cameron Agee, before he even turned 30 and struggled with her sudden death. However, the incident ultimately changed his life and set him on a different path.

Josh Brolin’s father is the famous actor James Brolin who was born in Los Angeles, California. The star also worked as a producer and was known for films like “Westworld” in 1973, “The Amityville Horror” in 1979 and “Traffic” in 2000.

On July 1, 1998, James married his third and current wife, Barbra Streisand. His first wife was Jane Cameron Agee, who was also Josh’s mother, and his second was Jan Smithers.

James Brolin, Jane Cameron Agee and Josh Brolin in a feature film “Home Layout” with the broadcast date of October 1, 1969. | Source: Getty Images

James and Agee were married on October 16, 1966, before their relationship ended in divorce in October 1986. The aspiring casting agent and actress was the one who filed for divorce from her husband when Josh was 16.

Besides Josh, Agee also shared a daughter with James, whom they named Jess Brolin. James’ first ex-wife worked for the state Department of Fish and Game and collected and rescued illegally held wildlife.

James Brolin and Jane Cameron Agee during a James Brown concert on March 18, 1971 at the Copacabana in New York. | Source: Getty Images

Josh once recalled how his late mother had a “strange relationship with animals”. In 2008, James’ son revealed his parents kept him and his sister out of the spotlight, with their nearest neighbor living a mile away.

Josh didn’t experience his father’s fame until he left home. Growing up in Paso Robles on a 100-acre ranch, Agee’s son was exposed to all kinds of animals, like gorillas, cougars, chimpanzees and more, because of his mom’s job.

James and Josh Brolin at the Second Annual National Easter Seals Telethon on April 7, 1973 in Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images

Josh recalled how Agee could take on 500-pound silverbacks and have them crumble around his presence. He also described her as “very irresponsible”, as her children were doing chores at the age of six with the animals around.

Josh said his mother would rationalize his behavior by saying, “We’re here for a short time, so let’s do it.” Agee was also described as a tough woman who expected her children to learn to read in five minutes!

Despite his flaws, Josh still loved who his mother was and what she stood for. When Streisand became her stepmother, she and James tried to give Josh and Jess a normal upbringing.


James Brolin and Jane Cameron Agee at the Second Annual People’s Choice Awards on February 19, 1976 in Santa Monica, California. | Source: Getty Images

On his 27th birthday, Josh’s mother crashed into a tree and sadly passed away the next day. Before her death, the actor wrote about her and did the same after her death because Agee stuck in his mind.

In an earlier Men’s Journal interview, Josh admitted he found it odd that his mum had an accident on his birthday. He explained how his father thought Agee was dodging a deer when she crashed.

Josh Brolin at the Premiere of ‘I Shot Andy Warhol’ in Hollywood, CA on May 16, 1996. | Source: Getty Images

However, his mother was a heavy drinker and had pulled a gun on her boyfriend the same evening before pursuing him. Josh’s theory was that Agee grabbed his phone and “overcompensated” before crashing.

Unfortunately, the star couldn’t speak to her the day before the accident, even though he usually called and sent her flowers on her birthday. He would thank his mother for giving him life.

James Brolin, Jane Cameron Agee and Josh Brolin in a feature film “Home Layout” with the broadcast date of October 1, 1969. | Source: Getty Images

Josh remembered sending the flowers earlier but didn’t call New York because the day wasn’t over. Agee called him but got his answering machine where he had left a message to trick callers into thinking he had picked up.

So her mother left a message asking what was going on and that she couldn’t hear her well before asking who she was talking to. When Agee realized what was happening, she laughed hysterically and four hours later she was gone.

Jane Cameron Agee at the 29th Annual Golden Globe Awards on February 6, 1972. | Source: Getty Images

Josh remembered that last message and finally put it away because he kept listening to it. He confessed that he adores his mother, who died on February 13, 1995 in Templeton, California, and still misses her terribly.

Agee was featured in his former friend Sondra Locke’s 1997 autobiography “The Good, the Bad and the Very Ugly”. In it, she was portrayed as an alcoholic who got him into trouble, but no mention was made of her death.


Josh Brolin and Kathryn Boyd at the premiere of ‘Only the Brave’ on October 8, 2017 in Westwood, California. | Source: Getty Images

During the April 2022 “Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard” podcast interview, the “Goonies” actor revealed that he and his mom are pretty close, drinking pals. However, the relationship made him feel like his mother’s surrogate husband.

He felt like if he did certain things with her, he was still her star. Her mother set the tone that “you have to be here, now”, and no process was allowed, and losing her was the “worst thing that ever happened to her” but also the most “freeing”.

It was liberating because Josh didn’t need to continue down the path of alcoholism and eventually got sober. He initially reacted to Agee’s death, but eventually began to recover and later married and had children.

Two years after his death, the actor found himself lost and out of control. He remembered a time when he was in prison, and his mother came to see him, and when he came to her, she was smiling.

That smile showed him that Agee’s love for him was conditional, and he spent his days trying to recreate that by putting himself in self-destructive positions. Josh loved being with his mother, but after her death he didn’t have to live up to her expectations.

This is how he broke free and finally began to mature. The loss of his mother prompted him to start thinking seriously about the direction his life was taking, saying:

“When my mother died, it brought everything home, magnified everything. ‘What do I want to do? Where do I want to go? »

Josh learned to appreciate how fickle life was and he feared he hadn’t done enough or things he could be proud of in his life. In March 2014, the ‘W’ actor told The Guardian how his mother’s death had affected him.

The Grammy Award-winning singer [Barbra Streisand] also took the time to celebrate Josh [Brolin] special times.

He said it made him think of a lot of things because he was always a mom’s son. James’ son knew he had to change and he felt like he had stepped back after being on a hamster wheel.


After losing his mother, Josh was able to have a healthier parent/son relationship with his stepmother, Streisand. Fans got a glimpse of the couple’s closeness with public displays of affection and social media posts.

The ‘Avengers’ actor loves spending quality time with Streisand and his dad because he lives near them. Josh and his wife, Kathryn, visited James and his wife often, and even the COVID-19 pandemic couldn’t keep them apart.

Josh and his family visited James after being away from them for a few months and even shared a family photo on social media. During Kathryn’s pregnancies, Streisand would call, suggest baby names, and ask to feel her baby bumps!

The actress, who has been married to James for 24 years, has even bought her grandchildren gifts and hasn’t been shy about babysitting from time to time. The Grammy Award-winning singer also took the time to celebrate Josh’s special moments.

In 2010, she and her husband went with Josh to the screening of “Jonah Hex,” where they took some adorable photos together. She was also present at the premiere of her stepson’s 2018 film “Sicario: Day of the Soldado.”


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