Two Mothers for Zachary

Two Mothers for Zachary

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Written by Linda Voorhees
Directed by Peter Werner
Starring Valerie Bertinelli
Vanessa Redgrave
Theme music composer Peter Rodgers Melnick
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
Producer(s) Timothy Marx
Tom Kageff
Cinematography Neil Roach
Editor(s) Martin Nicholson
Running time 96 minutes
Original network ABC
Original release September 22, 1996

Two Mothers for Zachary is a 1996 ABC television film. It was directed by Peter Werner and stars Valerie Bertinelli and Vanessa Redgrave. It is a true story adaptation of the Bottoms v. Bottoms family custody battle brought by a mother who disapproves of her daughter's lesbianism and the impact on her grandchild. It premiered on 22 September 1996. It was awarded a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Made for TV Movie.[1]


Nancy (Redgrave) disapproves of her daughter, Jody Ann's (Bertinelli) lesbianism and resolves to seek custody of her grandson, Zachary. However, a Virginia court grants custody of the boy to Jody Ann and now she is desperate to keep hold of her son.



Although the film is based on Sharon Bottoms's real-life custody battle, characters were renamed for the adaptation. Bertinelli explained, "I'm so much older than Sharon Bottoms is. But once we changed her name to Jody Ann Shaffell, it became much easier to see myself playing this role. I didn't have to play Sharon Bottoms but my interpretation of what would happen to a woman in that situation."

Bertinelli had previously learned of the Bottoms case years earlier when she appeared on the same edition of Larry King Live with Sharon Bottoms. Bottoms was appearing with her lawyer and argued her case against a Christian leader. Instead of concentrating on what she was intending to promote, Bertinelli became engaged in the previous debate and criticized the views of the religious representative.[2]


  1. Awards for Two Mothers for Zachary IMDB. Retrieved on 14 September 2010
  2. Valerie Bertinelli The Advocate. 17 September 1996
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