Candice Patricia Bergen (born May 9, 1946) is an American actress. She won five Primetime Emmy Awards and two Golden Globe Awards for her portrayal of the title character on the CBS sitcom Murphy Brown (1988–1998, 2018). She is also known for her role as Shirley Schmidt on the ABC drama Boston Legal (2005–2008). In films, Bergen was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for Starting Over (1979) and for the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Gandhi (1982).

Candice Bergen
Bergen at the 2006 Peabody Awards
Candice Patricia Bergen

(1946-05-09) May 9, 1946 (age 78)
Alma materUniversity of Pennsylvania
Years active1958–present
(m. 1980; died 1995)
Marshall Rose
(m. 2000)
AwardsFull list

Bergen began her career as a fashion model and appeared on the cover of Vogue before she made her screen debut in the film The Group (1966). She starred 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 starred 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), Book Club (2018) and Let Them All Talk (2020).

Early life edit

Candice Patricia Bergen was born May 9, 1946, at Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital in Los Angeles, California.[1][2] Her mother, Frances Bergen (née Westerman), was a Powers model known professionally as Frances Westcott.[3] Her father, Edgar Bergen, was a ventriloquist, comedian, and actor. Bergen's paternal grandparents were Swedish immigrants who anglicized their surname, which was originally Berggren ("mountain branch").

Bergen was raised in Beverly Hills, California, and attended the Harvard-Westlake School.[4] As a child, she was irritated when described as "Charlie McCarthy's little sister" (a reference to her father's star dummy).[5] She began appearing on her father's radio program at a young age[6] and in 1958, at age 11, was a guest with her father on Groucho Marx's quiz show You Bet Your Life, as Candy Bergen. She said she wanted to be a clothing designer when she grew up.

She later attended the University of Pennsylvania, where she was elected Homecoming Queen and Miss University but, as Bergen later acknowledged, she did not take her education seriously. 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.[7]

Before taking up acting, Bergen was a fashion model and was featured on Vogue covers. She received acting training at HB Studio[8] in New York City.

Career edit

Early work edit

Bergen made her screen debut playing a university student in the ensemble film The Group (1966), directed by Sidney Lumet, who knew Bergen's family. The film delicately touched on the subject of lesbianism[9] and was a critical and financial success. Afterwards, Bergen left college to focus on her career. She played 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 financial success. It was made for 20th Century Fox.[10]

She guest-starred on an episode of Coronet Blue, whose director Sam Wanamaker recommended her for the comedy The Day the Fish Came Out (1967) directed by Michael Cacoyannis, distributed by Fox. The film was a box-office flop, but Fox nevertheless signed her to a long-term contract.[10]

Films edit

Bergen was announced for the role of Anne in Valley of the Dolls,[11] 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.[9]
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 and was another major flop.

She played a frustrated socialite in a 1970 political satire, The Adventurers, based on a novel by Harold Robbins. Her salary was $200,000.[12]
The film received negative reviews, and while it did respectable box-office, it did not help her career.[13] Bergen called it a "movie out of the 1940s."[14]

Bergen played Elliott Gould's girlfriend in Getting Straight (1970), a counterculture movie which drew another spate of bad reviews but was commercially profitable. She said it took her career in "a new direction... my first experience with democratic, communal movie making."[14] She also starred in the controversial Western Soldier Blue (1970), an overseas success but a failure in America, 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.[15] Bergen appeared with Oliver Reed in The Hunting Party (1971), a violent Western which drew terrible reviews and flopped.

Bergen received some strong reviews for her support role in Carnal Knowledge (1971), directed by Mike Nichols. She then had the lead role in the drama T.R. Baskin (1971) and earned the best reviews of her career up to that time. 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 get serious about acting."[14]

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 Principle (1977) for Stanley Kramer, another failure.[16]

She appeared in 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), but both films failed critically and financially.[17]

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.[18] 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.[19]

Television and other work edit

Beginning in the 1970s, Bergen became a frequent guest host of 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. In recent years, Bergen has made various cameos on SNL, often to help welcome new members into the Five-Timers Club, such as Jonah Hill in 2018, John Mulaney in 2022, and Emma Stone in 2023. Bergen also guest-starred on The Muppet Show in its first season, while her father Edgar would guest-star the following season.

In 1984, Bergen 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).[20]

Murphy Brown edit

In 1988, she took the lead role in the sitcom Murphy Brown, in which she played a tough television reporter. This provided her with the opportunity to show her little-seen comic talent. The series made frequent reference to politicians and political issues of the day; though it was primarily a conventional sitcom, the show tackled important issues. For example, Murphy was a recovering alcoholic who 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."[21] 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."[22]

Bergen's run on Murphy Brown was extremely successful. The show ran for ten seasons; 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.[23]

Post-Murphy Brown edit

Bergen at the 65th Annual Peabody Awards in New York City, 2006

After playing the role of Murphy Brown, Bergen was offered a chance to work as a real-life journalist. After the show ended in 1998, CBS approached her to cover stories for 60 Minutes. She declined, saying she did not want to blur the lines between actor and journalist.

Subsequently, Bergen hosted Exhale with Candice Bergen on the Oxygen network.[24] From 1991 to 1998, Bergen appeared as the main spokesperson for the Sprint long-distance phone company.

Bergen produced and starred in the TV movie Mary & Tim (1996). She also appeared in films including Miss Congeniality (2000), where she played veteran pageant host Kathy Morningside; 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 remake of The In-Laws (2003), Footsteps (2003), a thriller, and appeared in three episodes of Sex and the City as Enid Frick, Carrie Bradshaw's editor at Vogue.[25] Bergen also appeared as Frick in a cameo for the 2008 movie version of Sex and The City.

Boston Legal and beyond edit

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. The series reunited her with her Miss Congeniality co-star William Shatner. 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, 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 of Evening Primrose by Stephen Sondheim.[26] 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 edit

On January 24, 2018, it was announced that Candice Bergen would be reprising her role as Murphy Brown. The reboot aired on CBS in fall 2018 for 13 episodes. On May 10, 2019, the reboot was canceled by CBS.[27]

Beyond acting edit

In addition to acting, Bergen studied photography and worked as a photojournalist.[28] She has written numerous articles and a play, as well as two memoirs, Knock Wood in 1984, and A Fine Romance in 2015.[29]

In 2000, Bergen became the host of her own talk show called Exhale on Oxygen. Guests included Anne Bancroft and Diane Keaton. [30] It ran for one season and was produced by Scott Carter, future producer of Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher. [31]

In 2016,[32] Bergen began painting,[33] with paint pens,[34] on handbags, with the business[35] overseen by her daughter, Chloé Malle,[36] and the proceeds benefiting charity.[37][38][39][40]

Personal life edit

Candice Bergen and her mother, actress Frances Bergen, at the 62nd Academy Awards March 26, 1990

Bergen is a political activist who once accepted a date with Henry Kissinger.[41] In 1967, she participated in a Yippie prank when she, Abbie Hoffman, and others threw dollar bills onto the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, leading to its temporary shutdown. In the late 1960s, Bergen was in a relationship with Doris Day's son Terry Melcher. In 1972, she served as a fundraiser and organizer for George McGovern's presidential campaign.[42]

From 1971 to circa 1975, Bergen was in a relationship with late Hollywood producer and writer Bert Schneider.

Bergen's father died in 1978. In her memoir A Fine Romance, she mentions that she was left out of his will, while he bequeathed $10,000 to his dummy, Charlie McCarthy, adding that she felt her father had a stronger bond with Charlie than with her.[43] She later said:

His death left a space for me [...] I was able much more to live according to my own expectations. I always felt my fame was ill-gotten, sort of borrowed from his, and that perhaps I tried to keep some kind of rein on it. Even when he was in retirement I felt I was poaching on his territory. He'd joke and say he was 'the father of Candice Bergen,' and that was only partially a joke. It was very hard on him.[44]

On September 27, 1980, she married French film director Louis Malle. They had one child, a daughter named Chloe Françoise, in 1985. The couple were married until Malle's death from cancer on Thanksgiving Day in 1995.[45] Bergen and Malle were introduced at Diane von Fürstenberg's home, Cloudwalk Farm, located in the Merryall area of New Milford, Connecticut.

She has been married to New York real estate magnate and philanthropist Marshall Rose[46] since 2000.

Bergen has traveled extensively and speaks French fluently.

Filmography edit

Film edit

Year Title Role Notes
1966 The Group 'Lakey' Eastlake
The Sand Pebbles Shirley Eckert
1967 The Day the Fish Came Out Electra Brown
Live for Life Candice
1968 The Magus Lily
1970 The Adventurers Sue Ann Daley
Getting Straight Jan
Soldier Blue Cresta Maribel Lee
1971 Carnal Knowledge Susan
The Hunting Party Melissa Ruger
T.R. Baskin T.R. Baskin
1974 11 Harrowhouse Maren Shirell
1975 The Wind and the Lion Eden Pedecaris
Bite the Bullet Miss Jones
1977 The Domino Principle Ellie Tucker
1978 A Night Full of Rain Lizzy
Oliver's Story Marcie Bonwit
1979 Starting Over Jessica Potter
1981 Rich and Famous Merry Noel Blake
1982 Gandhi Margaret Bourke-White
1984 2010 SAL 9000 Voice only; credited as Olga Mallsnerd
1985 Stick Kyle McClaren
2000 Miss Congeniality Kathy Morningside
2002 Sweet Home Alabama Mayor Kate Hennings
2003 View from the Top Sally Weston
The In-Laws Judy Tobias
2008 Sex and the City Enid Frick
The Women Catherine Frazier
2009 Bride Wars Marion St. Claire Also narrator
2010 The Romantics Augusta Hayes
2014 A Merry Friggin' Christmas Donna Mitchler
2016 Rules Don't Apply Nadine Henly
2017 The Meyerowitz Stories Julia
Home Again Lillian Stewart
2018 Book Club Sharon Myers
2020 Let Them All Talk Roberta
2022 As They Made Us Barbara
2023 Book Club: The Next Chapter Sharon Myers

Television edit

Year Title Role Notes
1967 Coronet Blue Enid Toler Episode: "The Rebels"
1969 The Woody Allen Special Various Roles Television special
1975–2023 Saturday Night Live Herself 9 episodes
1976 The Muppet Show Episode: "Candice Bergen"
1985 Hollywood Wives Elaine Conti Television mini series
Merlin and the Sword Morgan le Fay Television film
Murder: By Reason of Insanity Ewa Berwid Television film
1987 Trying Times Barbara Episode: "Moving Day"
Mayflower Madam Sydney Biddle Barrows Television film
1988–1998; 2018 Murphy Brown Murphy Brown 260 episodes; also executive producer
1992 Seinfeld herself as Murphy Brown Episode: "The Keys"
1994–1995 Understanding Narrator 4 episodes
1996 Mary & Tim Mary Horton Television film
1997 Ink Murphy Brown Episode: "Murphy's Law"
2000 Family Guy Gloria Ironbachs/Murphy Brown Episodes: "I Am Peter, Hear Me Roar"/"A Picture's Worth a Thousand Bucks"
2002–04 Sex and the City Enid Frick 3 episodes
2003 Footsteps Daisy Lowendahl TV film
2004 Law & Order Judge Amanda Anderlee Episode: "The Brotherhood"
Will & Grace Herself Episode: "Strangers with Candice"
2005 Law & Order: Trial by Jury Judge Amanda Anderlee 3 episodes
2005–2008 Boston Legal Shirley Schmidt 84 episodes
2011 House Arlene Cuddy 3 episodes
2013 The Michael J. Fox Show Beth Henry Episode: "Thanksgiving"
2014 Beautiful & Twisted Bernice Novack TV film
2015 Battle Creek Constance Episode: "Mama's Boy"
2016 BoJack Horseman The Closer (voice) Episode: "Stop the Presses"
2021 The Conners Barb 3 episodes[47]
2023 And Just Like That... Enid Frick Episode: "Alive!"

Awards and nominations edit

References edit

  1. ^ Bergen 2014, p. 25.
  2. ^ Erickson, Hal. "Candice Bergen". Allmovie. Retrieved February 2, 2022.
  3. ^ "Candice Bergen Biography (1946–)".
  4. ^ Bergen 2014, pp. 58–59.
  5. ^ "So when I was born, it was only natural that I was known in the press not as Candice Bergen, but as "Charlie's sister."" (Bergen, "My Dad, Charlie and Me' in Jack Canfield, et al., A Second Chicken Soup for the Woman's Soul 1998:36
  6. ^ "Bergen & McCarthy 55-12-25 Christmas (Guest Candice Bergen)", listed on Golden Age OTR's playlist on
  7. ^ "Entertainment & the Arts – Bergen Is Wimpy Compared To Alter-Ego Murphy – Seattle Times Newspaper".
  8. ^ "Alumni".
  9. ^ a b Thompson, Howard (December 18, 1966). "Candice of California: On an International Kick". The New York Times. p. X15.
  10. ^ a b Champlin, Charles (October 16, 1966). "Movies: Candice Speaks for Herself". Los Angeles Times. p. M11.
  11. ^ Martin, Betty (January 26, 1967). "Candice in 'Valley of Dolls'". Los Angeles Times. p. C10.
  12. ^ Haber, Joyce (November 11, 1968). "Candice Has a Premiere Surprise". Los Angeles Times. p. D25.
  13. ^ "Big Rental Films of 1970". Variety. January 6, 1971. p. 11.
  14. ^ a b c Ebert, Roger (April 11, 1971). "Candy's Sweet on Acting Now". Chicago Sun-Times. Chicago, Illinois: Sun-Times Media Group. p. D15.
  15. ^ Peter Waymark. "Richard Burton top draw in British cinemas." Times [London, England] 30 Dec. 1971: 2. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 11 July 2012.
  16. ^ At the Movies Flatley, Guy. New York Times 10 Dec 1976: 62.
  17. ^ "Ryan O'Neal: Does Father Know Best?: Ryan O'Neal". Los Angeles Times. July 23, 1978. p. V24.
  18. ^ 'The Cool, Elegant Woman?: This Isn't Me The Times of India 22 Mar 1981: 16.
  19. ^ BAFTA (1983). "BAFTA Awards Database (Supporting Actress 1982)". British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Retrieved September 1, 2012.
  20. ^ Heron, Kim (November 20, 1988). "Candice Bergen Tries a Sitcom, Just for Laughs: Bucking Hollywood casting agents' tendency to see only her beauty, the actress feels comedy is her strong suit. Candice Bergen: TV Reporter". The New York Times. p. H33.
  21. ^ "Then & Now: Dan Quayle". CNN. August 8, 2005.
  22. ^ "Candice Bergen agrees with Quayle". CNN. July 11, 2002. Archived from the original on November 3, 2007.
  23. ^ Candice Bergen, Straight Up: Murphy Brown explains herself—not that she has to. Rewriting Murphy's Law Everything that can go right seems to have gone right for Candice Bergen. Even her show is enjoying a renaissance. But then there's this thing called reality Newman, Bruce. Los Angeles Times 26 Nov 1995: F1
  24. ^ More Intriguing Guests, More Stimulating Conversation, and More Candice Bergen; "Exhale With Candice Bergen" Returns To Oxygen For Season Two Business Editors. Business Wire; New York 10 Oct 2000: 1.
  25. ^ Candice Bergen's Casting Problem Hepola, Sarah. New York Times25 May 2003: 2.9.
  26. ^ Portantiere, Michael (2011). "Back into the light". The Sondheim Review. XVII (3). Sondheim Review, Inc.: 44. ISSN 1076-450X.
  27. ^ Koblin, John (May 10, 2019). "CBS Cancels 'Murphy Brown' Revival After One Season". The New York Times.
  28. ^ Coburn, Randy Sue (April 23, 1978). "Candice Bergen: Hollywood kid gets her act together: Candice Bergen grows up". Chicago Tribune. p. D1.
  29. ^ "A FINE ROMANCE | Kirkus Reviews".
  30. ^ By (June 18, 2000). "CANDICE BERGEN'S `EXHALE' IS A BREATH OF FRESH AIR". Hartford Courant. Retrieved February 22, 2024.
  31. ^ Adalian, Josef (August 17, 1999). "Carter takes Oxygen slot, exits 'Incorrect'". Variety. Retrieved February 22, 2024.
  32. ^ Schuster, Dana (June 3, 2016). "Candice Bergen is painting on purses—for $1,000 each".
  33. ^ Bergen, Candice [@bergenbags] (July 25, 2017). "Happily back at work Bergenbagging!! My first hamster!!" – via Instagram.
  34. ^ Blasberg, Derek (September 19, 2016). "Candice Bergen Is Painting Designer Handbags Now". Vanity Fair.
  35. ^ "Home". BergenBags.
  36. ^ "Candice 🦖 (@bergenbags) • Instagram photos and videos".
  37. ^ "Charitybuzz: Personalized Painting by Candice Bergen on Your Bag – Lot 1488505". /
  38. ^ "Candice Bergen Will Hand Paint Your Dog's Face on Your Favorite Bag". December 14, 2017.
  39. ^ "Vogue's Chloe Malle Makes a Fashion Pilgrimage to Charlotte With BergenBags and Of Rare Origin". March 20, 2017.
  40. ^ "Candice Bergen adds her artwork to handbags".
  41. ^ Candice Bergen Went On A Date With Teenage Donald Trump, retrieved April 14, 2023
  42. ^ McGovern, George S., Grassroots: The Autobiography of George McGovern, New York: Random House, 1977, pp. 173, 247
  43. ^ Birkinbine, Julia (April 7, 2015). "Candice Bergen Reveals Her Ventriloquist Father Left His Dummy $10,000 and Her Nothing When He Died". Closer.
  44. ^ Klemesrud, Judy (April 13, 1984). "CANDICE BERGEN: HAPPY TO SETTLE DOWN". The New York Times. p. B8.
  45. ^ "Candice Bergen and her fine romances". CBS News. April 5, 2015. Retrieved November 20, 2016.
  46. ^ Heller, Karen (April 8, 2015). "Candice Bergen holds nothing back in memoir that discusses weight, beauty". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 20, 2016.
  47. ^ Schwartz, Ryan (December 30, 2020). "The Conners: Candice Bergen Cast as [Spoiler]'s Mother — Watch Promo". TVLine.

Sources edit

External links edit