Born Name: Candice Patricia Bergen
Date of Birth: May 9, 1946
Place of Birth: Beverly Hills, California, United States
Height: 1.71 m
Alma mater: University of Pennsylvania
Occupation: Actress, fashion model
Years active: 1965–present
Spouse: Marshall Rose (m. 2000), Louis Malle (m. 1980–1995)
Children: Chloe Malle
Parent(s): Frances Bergen, Edgar Bergen
Candice Patricia Bergen (born May 9, 1946) is an American actress and former fashion model. She won five Emmy Awards and two Golden Globe Awards for her eleven seasons as the title character on the CBS sitcom Murphy Brown (1988–98, 2018). She is also known for her role as Shirley Schmidt on the ABC drama Boston Legal (2005–08). She was nominated for the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for Starting Over (1979), and for the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Gandhi (1982).
Bergen began her career as a fashion model and appeared on the front cover of Vogue before she made her screen debut in the 1966 film The Group. She went on to star in The Sand Pebbles (1966), Soldier Blue (1970), Carnal Knowledge (1971), and The Wind and the Lion (1975). She made her Broadway debut in the 1984 play Hurlyburly, and went on to star in the revivals of The Best Man (2012) and Love Letters (2014). From 2002 to 2004, she appeared in three episodes of the HBO series Sex and the City. Her other film roles include Miss Congeniality (2000), Sweet Home Alabama (2002), The Women (2008), Bride Wars (2009), and Book Club (2018).
Bergen was born in Beverly Hills, California. Her mother, Frances Bergen (née Westerman), was a Powers model who was known professionally as Frances Westcott. Her father, Edgar Bergen, was a famous ventriloquist, comedian, and actor. Her paternal grandparents were Swedish-born immigrants who anglicized their surname, which was originally Berggren ("mountain branch").
As a child, Candice was irritated at being described as "Charlie McCarthy's little sister" (referring to her father's star dummy).
She began appearing on her father's radio program at a young age, and in 1958, at age 11, with her father on Groucho Marx's quiz show You Bet Your Life, as Candy Bergen. She said that when she grew up, she wanted to design clothes.
She later attended the University of Pennsylvania, where she was elected both Homecoming Queen and Miss University, but, as Bergen later acknowledged, she failed to take her education seriously and after failing two courses in art and opera, she was asked to leave at the end of her sophomore year. She ultimately received an honorary doctorate from Penn in May 1992.
She worked as a fashion model before she took up acting, featured on the covers of Vogue. She received her acting training at HB Studio in New York City.
In 1966, Bergen made her screen debut playing a university student in The Group, directed by Sidney Lumet, who knew Bergen's family. The film delicately touched on the subject of lesbianism. The film was a major critical and financial success.
She did it while studying college and elected not to return, instead playing the role of Shirley Eckert, an assistant school teacher in The Sand Pebbles (1966) with Steve McQueen. The movie was nominated for several Academy Awards and was a big financial success. It was made for 20th Century Fox.
She guest starred on an episode of Coronet Blue, whose director Sam Wanamaker recommended her for a part in The Day the Fish Came Out (1967) directed by Michael Cacoyannis, distributed by Fox but a huge flop. Fox signed her to a long-term contract.
She was announced for the role of Anne in Valley of the Dolls but did not appear in the film.
Bergen went to France to appear in Claude Lelouch's romantic drama Live for Life (1967) opposite Yves Montand, popular in France but not the US.
In 1968, she played the leading female role in The Magus, a British mystery film for Fox starring Michael Caine and Anthony Quinn, that was almost universally ridiculed on its release and another major flop.
She was featured in a 1970 political satire, The Adventurers, based on a novel by Harold Robbins, playing a frustrated socialite. Her fee was $200,000. Reviews were terrible but the film made a profit. Bergen called it a "movie out of the 1940s."
Bergen played the girlfriend of Elliott Gould in Getting Straight (1970), a counter-culture movie which was commercially popular. She said it took her career in "a new direction... my first experience with democratic, communal movie making."
She also starred in the controversial Western Soldier Blue (1970), a worldwide hit but a failure in its homeland, perhaps because of its unflattering portrayal of the U.S. Cavalry. The film's European success led to Bergen's being voted by British exhibitors as the seventh-most popular star at the British box office in 1971.
Bergen received some strong reviews for her support role in Carnal Knowledge (1971), directed by Mike Nichols. Bergen did a violent Western with Oliver Reed, The Hunting Party (1971), which drew terrible reviews and flopped, then had the lead role in a drama T.R. Baskin (1971). She described the latter as the first role "that is really sort of a vehicle, where I have to act and not just be a sort of decoration" saying she'd decided "it was time for me to ge serious about acting."
Bergen was absent from screens for a few years. She returned with a support part in a British heist film, 11 Harrowhouse (1974), then did a Western with Gene Hackman and James Coburn, Bite the Bullet (1975). Both films were modest successes.
In 1975, she replaced Faye Dunaway at the last minute to co-star with Sean Connery in The Wind and the Lion (1976), as a strong-willed American widow kidnapped in the Moroccan desert. The film drew mixed reviews and broke even at the box office.
Bergen was reunited with Hackman in The Domino Killings (1977) for Stanley Kramer and hosted Saturday Night Live. A frequent host on Saturday Night Live, she was the first woman to host the show and the first host to do a second show. She was also the first woman to join the Five-Timers Club, when she hosted for the fifth time in 1990. Bergen guest-starred on The Muppet Show in its first year, appearing in several skits, an episode now available in a DVD collection.
She did A Night Full of Rain (1978) for Lina Wertmüller and was the love interest of Ryan O'Neal's character in the Love Story sequel, Oliver's Story (1978). She had taken photographs for many years and around this time starting exhibiting them in galleries.
Bergen's father died in 1978. In her memoir A Fine Romance, she mentions how she was left out of his will, bequeathing his dummy Charlie McCarthy, later explaining how she felt that her father had a stronger bond with Charlie than her. She later said:
Bergen appeared in the Burt Reynolds romantic comedy Starting Over (1979), for which she received Academy Award and Golden Globe Award nominations for best supporting actress.
She portrayed a best-selling author in Rich and Famous (1981) with Jacqueline Bisset. A remake of the Bette Davis film Old Acquaintance, it was not a success.
In 1982, Bergen appeared in the Oscar-winning film Gandhi in which she portrayed documentary photographer Margaret Bourke-White. Bergen was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.
In 1984 she joined the Broadway cast of Hurlyburly.
On television, Bergen appeared as Morgan Le Fay in Arthur the King (1985) and in the miniseries Hollywood Wives (1985). She was Burt Reynolds' romantic interest in Stick (1985), and for TV appeared in Murder: By Reason of Insanity (1985) and Mayflower Madam (1987).
In addition to acting, Bergen has written articles, a play, and a memoir, Knock Wood (1984). She has also studied photography and worked as a photojournalist.
In 1988, she took the lead role in the sitcom Murphy Brown, in which she played a tough television reporter. The series provided her with the opportunity to show her little-seen comic talent, and although primarily a conventional sitcom, the show did tackle important issues. Murphy Brown, a recovering alcoholic, became a single mother and later battled breast cancer. In 1992, Vice President Dan Quayle criticized prime-time TV for showing the Murphy Brown character "mocking the importance of fathers by bearing a child alone and calling it just another lifestyle choice."
Quayle's disparaging remarks were subsequently written into the show, with Murphy shown watching Quayle's speech in disbelief at his insensitivity and ignorance of the reality of the lives of single mothers. A subsequent episode explored the subject of family values within a diverse set of families. The Brown character arranges for a truckload of potatoes to be dumped in front of Quayle's residence, an allusion to an infamous incident in which Quayle erroneously directed a school child to spell the word "potato" as "potatoe". In reality, Bergen agreed with at least some of Quayle's observations, saying that while the particular remark was "an arrogant and uninformed posture", as a whole, it was "a perfectly intelligent speech about fathers not being dispensable and nobody agreed with that more than I did." Bergen's run on Murphy Brown was extremely successful. The show ran for ten seasons and between 1989 and 1998, Bergen was nominated for an Emmy Award seven times and won five. After her fifth win, she declined future nominations for the role.
Throughout the same time frame as Murphy Brown, Bergen also appeared as the main spokesperson for a Sprint telephone ad campaign.
She produced and starred in the TV movie Mary & Tim (1996).
After playing the role of Murphy Brown, Bergen was offered a chance to work as a real-life journalist. After the run of Murphy Brown ended in 1998, CBS approached her to cover stories for 60 Minutes, an offer she declined, with the conviction that she didn't personally want to blur the lines between actor and journalist.
After Murphy Brown, Bergen hosted Exhale with Candice Bergen on the Oxygen network.
She also appeared in character roles in films, including Miss Congeniality (2000), where she played villainous pageant host Kathy Morningside; she also portrayed the mayor of New York in Sweet Home Alabama (2002) and appeared in the Gwyneth Paltrow flight-attendant comedy, View from the Top (2003).
She had roles in The In-Laws (2003), Footsteps (2003), a thriller, and a semi recurring role on Sex and the City, where she played Enid Frick, Carrie Bradshaw's editor at Vogue.
Boston Legal and beyond
In January 2005, Bergen joined the cast of the television series Boston Legal as Shirley Schmidt, a founding partner in the law firm of Crane, Poole & Schmidt. She played the role for five seasons. In 2006 and 2008, she received Emmy nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series.
She has also made guest appearances on many other TV shows, including Seinfeld (as herself playing Murphy Brown), Law & Order, Family Guy, and Will & Grace (playing herself). She has also featured in a long-running "Dime Lady" ad campaign for the Sprint phone company.
Bergen could be seen in The Women (2008) and Bride Wars (2009) as Marion St. Claire, New York's most sought-after wedding planner, who also serves as the narrator of the story.
From its launch in 2008, Candice Bergen was a contributor for wowOwow.com, a website for women to talk culture, politics and gossip. The website closed in 2010.
She was in The Romantics (2010) and had an occasional role on House as Lisa Cuddy's mother, starting in Season 7, including the 2011 episodes "Larger Than Life" and "Family Practice".
In 2010, she appeared in a one-night only concert: a semi-staged reading edution of Evening Primrose by Stephen Sondheim. She has also appeared on Broadway in the 2012 revival of Gore Vidal's The Best Man and the 2014 revival of Love Letters.
Later performances included A Merry Friggin' Christmas (2014), Beautiful & Twisted (2015), Rules Don't Apply (2016),The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) (2017), Home Again (2017) and Book Club (2018).
Murphy Brown reboot
On January 24, 2018, it was announced that Candice Bergen would be reprising her role as Murphy Brown for a series revival to be aired on CBS in the 2018-2019 season. On May 10, 2019, the reboot was canceled by CBS.
In 2016, Bergen began hand-painting, with paint pens, on handbags, with the business overseen by Chloe Malle, and the proceeds benefiting charity.
A political activist, Bergen accepted a date with Henry Kissinger. During her activist days she participated in a Yippie prank when she, Abbie Hoffman, and others threw dollar bills onto the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in 1967, leading to its temporary shutdown. In 1972, she served as a fundraiser and organizer for George McGovern's presidential campaign.
Bergen and former boyfriend Terry Melcher lived at 10050 Cielo Drive in Los Angeles, which was later occupied by Sharon Tate and her husband, Roman Polanski. Tate and four others were murdered in the house in August 9, 1969, by followers of Charles Manson. There was some initial speculation that Melcher may have been the intended victim, although Melcher, his former roommate Mark Lindsay, and Vincent Bugliosi have all indicated Manson was aware that Melcher was no longer living at that address at the time of the murders. From 1971 to circa 1975, Bergen was in a monogamous dating relationship with late Hollywood producer and writer Bert Schneider.
On September 27, 1980, she married French film director Louis Malle. They had one child, a daughter named Chloé Françoise, in 1985. The couple was married until Malle's death from cancer on Thanksgiving Day in 1995. Bergen has traveled extensively and speaks French fluently. She has been married to New York real estate magnate and philanthropist Marshall Rose since 2000.
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