Joy Vogelsang, Nicolas Cage's Mom, Dead at 85

Joy Vogelsang, a former dancer and the mother of actor Nicolas Cage, has died. She was 85. Cage's brother, the director Christopher Coppola, shared the news of their mother's death on Facebook on May 26. Cage's father, August Coppola, died in October 2009.

Vogelsang died at 10:33 p.m. on May 26, Coppola wrote, alongside an old photo of his mother. He spent most of the day with her but was forced to leave for a moment and missed her passing. According to Coppola, Vogelsang had a "very hard life with mental health issues," but through her pain, she "still managed to teach me something super important," Coppola wrote.

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(Photo: Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

"My mama lioness told me, her middle son cub, that I was affectionate," Coppola wrote. "I was very embarrassed by the term affection. I thought it was a bad thing, a something to laugh at thing. Mama lioness looked at me deeply and said affection was a good thing and don't let others embarrass me for being naturally affectionate." His classmates made fun of him for being affectionate, but Vogelsang told Coppola that "affection was a good thing and one day I may understand or not but I should always remember I was her affectionate cub," he wrote. After his mother's death, Coppola felt he finally learned the true definition of affection.

"I believe only a mama can truly teach that," he wrote. "It's not love thy neighbor. It's smaller yet bigger. Shake one's hand with tenderness and meaning. Don't let your mind wonder while you hug someone. And, and your kiss should definitely be sincere and in the moment...if it is not, well, that adds to hell on earth."

At the end of his message, Coppola thanked his Facebook followers for their support. "Thank you for all your prayers and being with me the last few days. As weird as all this digital friendship is, as the former 'DigiVangelist' knows, it actually can mean something if it comes from the heart. Bless you all," he wrote.

Vogelsang married August Coppola, the brother of director Francis Ford Coppola, in 1960. They divorced in 1976. She is survived by her sons, radio DJ Marc Coppola, Coppola, and Cage, who was born Nicholas Coppola.

In Cage's 1996 interview with Playboy, Cage credited Vogelsang as the "driving force" of his creativity. "She was plagued with mental illness for most of my childhood. She was institutionalized for years and went through shock treatments," Cage explained. "She would go into these states that lasted for years. She went through these episodes of poetry... I don't know what else to call it. She would say the most amazing things, beautiful but scary. I'm sure they had an impact on me. If I look at home movies of when I was two years old, I see that she was a very caring mother - the way she touched me."