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Anne Hathaway’s mom kept her from becoming a ‘little monster’

When she accepted the Golden Globe for “Les Misérables,” Anne Hathaway thanked her mother. The star was 8 when she saw Kate McCauley Hathaway play Fantine in the musical’s national tour — and drew on that decades later when, auditioning for the 2012 film, she was asked to do the character’s death scene.

“Annie hadn’t prepared for it,” her mother tells The Post. “She said, ‘Mom, I just remembered what you did, so that’s what I did.’ But when you get a shout-out like that — wow! I must have done something right!”

The Manhattan mother of three (and grandmother of two) is still performing. She first walked onstage at 6 in “South Pacific” — and loved it. These days you’ll find her at New Jersey’s Cape May Stage in “Sylvia,” playing a woman bedeviled by her husband’s affection for the pooch of the title.

“It’s truly one of my hardest acting jobs,” she says, “because I’m such a dog lover!”

Kate Hathaway in the comedy “Sylvia,” at the Jersey’s Shore’s Cape May Stage.
Kate Hathaway in the comedy “Sylvia,” at the Jersey’s Shore’s Cape May Stage.Aleksey Photography

She and her husband, Jerry, promised their children a pup after the family moved from Brooklyn. Soon after they arrived in a leafy New Jersey suburb, they not only adopted a dog, but signed Anne up for acting classes at Millburn’s Paper Mill Playhouse.

It was clear early on, Kate says, that their daughter yearned to perform: “She’d come and see me in things and concentrate with the most rapt attention you can imagine!” But when she begged to play the little girl in her mother’s road tour of “Les Miz,” the Hathaways weren’t having it.

“My husband and I had seen perfectly nice children become little monsters with all that attention,” Kate says. “We said, ‘Absolutely no, darling. Your job right now is to be a child.’ ”

Anne played several shows at the Paper Mill, where she met kids who had turned pro. At 15, she asked her parents for an agent. “She was so smart!” her mother says. “She said, ‘Maybe I could get commercials that could help pay for college.’ And we thought, ‘Well, that’s a good point.’ ”

They found her an agent and a manager, but stayed in the wings. “I remember saying to Annie, ‘You’re entering a world where all you’re going to hear is yes. We’re the ones who are going to say no when you need to hear it.’ And I think that really helped keep her grounded.”

Anne, age 3, with Kate in a family photo.
Anne, age 3, with Kate in a family photo.Jerry Hathaway

As her career took off, she sometimes took her parents along for the ride. Through the “Princess Diaries,” the couple met her co-star, Julie Andrews (“As nice as you think she is, she’s even nicer in person!”), and director Garry Marshall.

“Such a lovely, funny man, and he had this very thick, Bronx accent,” Kate says. “He asked Annie, ‘Your fatha, is he good-lookin’?”

Marshall apparently thought he was, and so he cast Jerry Hathaway, a lawyer, as Mia’s father, the letter-writing, nonspeaking Prince Philippe.

Kate fared even better. In “Princess Diaries II,” she plays a choir director blessed with a single line: “She’s back!” Apparently, that was enough.

“I still get residuals,” she says. “They’re down to around $17 at this point, but I don’t care. You can get a nice New York lunch for that!”

Anne has yet to see her in “Sylvia,” though she’s promised to get there before the play closes Aug. 2. Last summer’s shoot of the Netflix film, “The Last Thing He Wanted,” kept her from seeing her mother’s Cape May one-woman show, “Erma Bombeck: At Wit’s End.” (“I’m still mad at her,” Kate jokes.)

Think we’ll ever see their mother-daughter act in Cape May?

“I never say never,” she says. “Make that suggestion. See if she bites!”

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