Candice Bergen booking
Candice Bergen was the first of two children born to celebrated ventriloquist, Edgar Bergen and his wife Frances (nee Easterham), a former Chesterfield girl. When Candice was born, many news stories noted that Bergen’s dummy Charlie McCarthy now had a sister. Interestingly, the dummy’s room was larger than that of his flesh-and-blood sibling. Fifteen years later, her “real” brother, Kris, was born.
Candice displayed a gift early on for comedy, when as a child she was a guest on her father’s radio show. She grew up privileged and was childhood friends with Gregory Peck’s and Judy Garland’s children and often spent time amusing herself at family friend Walt Disney’s home. At times Edgar would sit his daughter on one knee and Charlie on the other and would speak for the two of them. She often felt a great rivalry with her father’s wooden sidekick. “There are photos of Charlie and me both in Dr. Denton pajamas ready to be put to bed,” she told US Weekly back in 2000, “It’s a really sinister photograph – I mean, it’s so strange.”
Candice briefly attended the University of Pennsylvania in the mid 1960′s. She was named homecoming queen in her freshman year and juggled her studies with a budding career as a model. Modeling beat out academia and she flunked out of the Ivy League school. The stunning blonde became a Ford model and her earnings allowed her to indulge in her passion for photography; later shooting photographs for Life, Esquire and Playboy.
Candice was asked by noted film director Sidney Lumet to play Lakey, an icy lesbian in “The Group”, and later wrote about her experience on her film debut for Esquire. Candice was cast as a missionary opposite Steve McQueen in Robert Wise’s “The Sand Pebbles”. Among her co-stars was English actor Richard Attenborough who was hoping to make a film based on the life of noted Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi. At the time, he asked her if she would appear in the film when or if the project became a reality.
Throughout the 1960′s, Candice mixed with the elite and radicals alike, no doubt ruffling the feathers of many of the elite she grew up among. She would attend lavish parties thrown by the likes of CBS president William Paley but also hung out with the Black Panthers and got arrested for lying down on the floor of the U.S. Senate.
Candice indulged in writing (her works appeared in Playboy and she also wrote a play titled “The Freezer”), photojournalism, and acting. She appeared in Mike Nichols’ “Carnal Knowledge” during which she developed close friendships with co-stars Jack Nicholson and Art Garfunkel. She was the first woman to host “Saturday Night Live”, and also contributed news stories for NBC news.
As the seventies drew to a close, Candice repaired her strained relationship with her father, who died in 1978; earned an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her work in Alan Pakula’s “Starting Over”; and fell in love with noted French auteur Louis Malle. The two wed in 1980.
Following work as a Jackie Collins-like best-selling author on George Cukor’s final film “Rich and Famous”, the five-foot-eight beauty kept her promise to friend Richard Attenborough and appeared as real-life photojournalist Margaret Bourke-White in his Oscar-winning epic “Gandhi”. She later re-teamed with her “Starting Over” co-star Burt Reynolds in his adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s “Stick”.
Candice also took time to have a daughter [Chloe], pen her memoirs, play Mayflower Madam Sydney Biddle Barrows, and was briefly considered to be a contributor to the newsmagazine “60 Minutes.” Candice instead took the role of a fictional telejournalist fresh out of Betty Ford in the comedy series “Murphy Brown.” Mother Frances and husband Louis guest starred on the show. Candice earned 5 Emmy awards and a Golden Globe for her work on the series. Her character’s foray into single parenthood irked then Vice-President Dan Quayle, whom Candice thanked when she took home the Emmy in 1992.
Sadly, her happy domestic life was shattered in 1995 with the death of Louis from lymphoma. Once “Murphy Brown” ended, Candice spent the next few years raising her daughter. “60 Minutes” creator and executive producer Don Hewitt asked her if she would contribute to his noted program. Instead, she took the job of hosting the program “Exhale,” an interview show on Oprah Winfrey’s Oxygen cable network. After an absence of 15 years from the screen, she returned to film in the recently released “Miss Congeniality”, opposite Sandra Bullock. She is married to businessman and philanthropist Marshall Rose.
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