Candice Bergen on Her Greatest Hits, <i>Murphy Brown</i> Revival, and Writing a Memoir


1960 – Lands first Cali job

“I was 14, working in a snack bar at a little beach club in Newport Beach. I made cheeseburgers and malted milks, and I just loved it.”

1965 – Scores first onscreen role in The Group

“I modeled when I was in college, and director Sidney Lumet saw a picture of me in a magazine. I had a general mindlessness to my life. I just did what was put in front of me. I loved working with Sidney, but I had no idea how to act, which was evident for several years.”

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candice bergen

The Group (Bergen in black dress, center)

Alamy Stock Photo

1971- Stars in Carnal Knowledge

“Mike Nichols was one of America’s finest directors. There was always laughter on his sets. He ran our set with French hours: without a lunch break. They had a buffet table, and people drifted over and grabbed a piece of Brie and then got back to work. We were always eating.”

1975 – Hosts the fledgling sketch-comedy show SNL

“I was the first woman! My agent called me and said, ‘There’s a guy here; he’s got a show, and he wants to meet you.’ It was Lorne Michaels. In those days, he wore a duck pin on his jacket lapel. Some of the cast didn’t realize that they couldn’t smoke dope while they were doing the show because they’d miss all their costume changes, so they shifted to cocaine.”

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John Belushi and Bergen on SNL

NBC via Getty Images

1988–1998 – Stars in and executive-produces CBS sitcom Murphy Brown

“I loved that she was a pest and annoying to everyone, yet she was as good at her job as the best men. Murphy was ahead of her time. She took no prisoners and was confident, competent, and fearless. That was not usual for a woman in those days.”

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Murphy Brown


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2012 – Joins the Broadway revival of Gore Vidal’s The Best Man

“I had to be louder [than I’d be onscreen], and I had to take it more seriously. I was always getting lost backstage. I was just a shambles. [Laughs] They were very patient.”

candice bergen

Gore Vidal’s The Best Man

Getty Images

2015 – Pens second best-selling memoir, A Fine Romance

“Writing a memoir is emotional homework that everybody should do. It’s important to confront your life, but it’s a lot of work. For my first memoir, they had to lock me in the office and say, ‘Don’t come out until you’ve done it!’ ”

2018 Stars in Book Club

“Diane Keaton and Jane Fonda were confirmed before I was asked, so I was anxious to work with the two of them. It’s very funny and has a nice heart—and any woman over 50 will be thrilled.”

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Bergen and Keaton in Book Club

Melinda Sue Gordon

2018 – Returns to CBS this fall in the Murphy Brown reboot

“Our characters are no longer working as television journalists, because the business has become so entertainment- and Trump-driven. The facts are really an option. We come back to the news with the idea of saving it.”

This article originally appeared in the June 2018 issue of ELLE.



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