Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated actress Morgan Fairchild got her first big break when she played Jennifer Pace (1973-1977) on the soap opera "Search for Tomorrow." She went on to receive wider recognition while appearing as the rich socialite Constance Weldon on the NBC series "Flamingo Road" (1980-1982) and as glamorous attorney Jordan Roberts (1985-1986) on the CBS primetime soap opera "Falcon Crest." She also had roles in TV series like "Friends" (as Matthew Perry's mother Nora Tyler Bing; 1995-2001), "The City" (as Sydney Chase; 1995-1997), and "Cybill" (as Andrea Thorpe; 1995-1997). She recently played Bo Derek's rival in the MyNetworkTV series "Fashion House" (2006).
On the big screen, Fairchild could be seen in the films "The Seduction" (1982), "Red Headed Stranger" (1986), "Campus Man" (1987), "Sleeping Beauty" (1987), "Deadly Illusion" (1987), "Killing Blue" (1988), "Phantom of the Mall: Eric's Revenge" (1989), "Freaked" (1993), "Criminal Hearts" (1995), "Teddy Bears' Picnic" (2002) and "Shock to the System" (2006).
"You can never be too rich or too thin." Morgan Fairchild
The 5' 4" TV, film, and stage actress was named "One of the 10 Most Beautiful Women in the World" by Harpers Bazaar in 1982. She was inducted into the Texas Film Hall of Fame in March 2008 in Austin, Texas.
Childhood and Family:
Born Patsy Ann McClenny on February 3, 1950, in Dallas, Texas, Morgan Fairchild chose the stage name "Morgan" from the 1966 British film "Morgan: A Suitable Case for Treatment" and "Fairchild" because it sounded nice. Her father, Edward Milton McClenny (born in 1918), was an engineer, and her mother, Martha Jane McClenny, was an English teacher at Richardson High School in Richardson, Texas. She suffered a stroke in 1997 and died in May 1999 at age 74.
Fairchild, nicknamed "Little Bird," suffered with a bout of scarlet fever, which left her partially deaf as a child. Her sister is actress Cathryn Hartt (born in October 1951). Fairchild graduated from Lakelands High School, in Dallas, Texas, in 1967.
On November 18, 1967, Fairchild married Jack Calmes, but they divorced on February 28, 1973. She began a relationship with film company executive Mark Seiler in 1986 and U.S. Senator and Presidential candidate John F Kerry in the early 1990s.
Fairchild is an active supporter of AIDS-related issues and environmental protection.
Search for Tomorrow
Performing at the Highland Park Children's Theatre in her hometown of Dallas, teen Morgan Fairchild performed with the Theatre Three (also in Dallas). At age 14, she competed for the Miss Teenage Dallas crown, but didn't win.
At age 17, Fairchild received her first professional acting job as Faye Dunaway's double during the location filming of Arthur Penn's Academy Award-winning film "Bonnie and Clyde" (1967). She then moved to New York City in 1971 and auditioned for the role of Jacy Farrow in Peter Bogdanovich's film adapted from a 1966 novel by Larry McMurtry, "The Last Picture Show" (1971). The role eventually went to Cybill Shepherd.
In 1973, Fairchild won the role of Jennifer Pace, the beautiful, neurotic daughter of businessman Walter Pace (played by Tom Klunis), on the soap opera "Search for Tomorrow." She stayed with the series until 1977.
After leaving "Search for Tomorrow," Fairchild moved to Los Angeles and worked on the miniseries "Harold Robbins 79 Park Avenue” (NBC, 1977) and the TV-movie "The Initiation of Sarah" (ABC, 1978). In the early 1980s, she made her primetime soap opera debut as the rich socialite Constance Weldon on the NBC series "Flamingo Road" (1980-1982), which was based on the 1949 movie starring Joan Crawford. Her performance earned her a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a TV-Series – Drama.
Meanwhile, Fairchild was voted "1981 Star of Tomorrow" by the National Association of Theatre Owners. She starred opposite Erik Estrada in the boxing drama TV movie "Honeyboy" (1982) and appeared in print ads for Bulova Watches (1982). She also had a leading role opposite Andrew Stevens in writer/director David Schmoeller's thriller film "The Seduction" (1982). Portraying a beautiful and successful TV newswoman who is stalked by an obsessed admirer, Fairchild was nominated for two Razzie awards, one for Worst Actress and Worst New Star.
During 1982 and 1983, Fairchild portrayed Skye Bullene in the "Geniuses" off Broadway at The Douglas Fairbanks Theatre and Charlie in a "Good Bye Charlie" production tour.
After co-writing (with Deborah Patton) and publishing a beauty book titled "Morgan Fairchild's Super Looks" in 1984, Fairchild appeared in the ABC miniseries "North and South" (1985) and "North and South, Book II" (1986). She also played Jordan Roberts, a glamorous attorney who works for Richard Channing (played by David Selby), on the CBS primetime soap opera "Falcon Crest." She played the character during the show's fifth season (1985-1986) and earned a Soap Opera Digest Award nomination for Outstanding Actress in a Leading Role on a Prime Time Serial. Fairchild also appeared in print ads for Jovan Musk for Men & Women and portrayed Lorelei Lee in a "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" production in 1986. She also starred in an unsold pilot for CBS called "Some Kinda Woman.”
In 1990, Fairchild was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for her guest appearance as Julia St. Martin in the episode "TV or not TV" of the CBS sitcom starring Candice Bergen, "Murphy Brown." Afterward, she released Morgan Fairchild Jewelry by Diamonique-QVC and starred in commercials for Dental White Professional Tooth Whitening System (1993) and Cybergenics Diet & Exercise Program (1994).
From 1995 to 2001, Fairchild played Matthew Perry's mother in the hit NBC sitcom "Friends." During this time, she was also cast as Sydney Chase in the short-running ABC daytime soap opera "The City" (1995-1997).
Fairchild played the recurring role of Andrea Thorpe in the CBS sitcom starring Cybill Shepherd, "Cybill," from 1995 to 1997. She was a spokesmodel for Old Navy stores from 1997 to 2004 and acted in Stephen Herek's movie starring Eddie Murphy, "Holy Man" (1998). She also co-starred with Crystal Bernard and Faith Ford in a Los Angeles stage production of Beth Henley's Pulitzer Prize-winning melodramatic comedy play "Crimes of the Heart" (1999) at the Falcon Theater, in Burbank, California.
Entering the new millennium, Fairchild starred with John Davidson and J.C. Wendel in the off-Broadway play "High Infidelity" and had a cameo role in "The Teddy Bears' Picnic" (2002). She portrayed Lina Lamont in "Singin' in the Rain" in 2002 and appeared in Morgan Fairchild's Pure Effect Skin Care infomercial from 2002 to 2004.
In 2004, Fairchild was spotted as a guest in the season finale of Fox’s sitcom "That 70's Show," playing the mother of Brooke (played by Shannon Elizabeth). She then headlined a national tour of "The Graduate" as Mrs. Robinson from winter 2004 to spring 2005.
"They first asked me to do ‘The Graduate’ when it was in London, but the timing never really worked out. It's a challenging part and Ms. Robinson is such a complicated lady. They don't write characters like that for women anymore. It's not ‘Hamlet,’ but it sure is a lot of fun." Morgan Fairchild
In 2006, Morgan was cast as Bo Derek's rival in the MyNetworkTV series "Fashion House" and as the mother of a young gay man who is murdered in the film "Shock to the System."