05/14/2001 at 01:00 AM EDT
She would rather talk about her causes, which include safeguarding women's reproductive rights and protecting the environment. But, when pushed, Blythe Danner, 58, will tell you that she's amazed at how well her legs have held up over the years. This spring they've allowed her to take on a starring role in the Broadway revival of Follies
, her first big dancing part in a 36-year career. Danner's daughter, actress Gwyneth Paltrow
, 28, agrees that her mom is "more interested in saving the planet," but after seeing the 5'7" Danner onstage, she reports, "Her legs are hot! I always knew, but she looked pretty sexy in the show." Danner, who also has a son, Jake, 25, a director, and lives in L.A. and a New York City suburb with her director husband, Bruce Paltrow, 57, says that she keeps in shape by doing "a little stretch with the show's dancers every night" and by walking Gwyneth's black Labrador, Holden. While Danner doesn't usually wear much foundation or eye makeup, "I'm a slave to lipstick," she declares. "Someone once told me when you're over 40, never go without lipstick." She doesn't need it, says Ken Howard, a friend since 1972, when they costarred in the film 1776. "Blythe never made an effort to be a glamorpuss," he says. "She's just naturally beautiful." Has Danner ever given her daughter any beauty tips? "Nothing!" she exclaims. "Gwyneth learned it all on her own. She teaches me everything!"