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Candice Patricia Bergen (born May 9, 1946) is an American actress and former fashion model, best known for her starring role on the television situation comedy Murphy Brown. She won five Emmy Awards and two Golden Globe Awards as Best Actress in a TV Comedy for that role. She's also well-known for her role on the legal comedy-drama Boston Legal as Shirley Schmidt. She was nominated twice for an Emmy and once for a Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award respectively for this role. She has starred in major films including The Sand Pebbles, Carnal Knowledge, The Wind and the Lion, and Gandhi, receiving an Oscar nomination for her role in Starting Over.

Early life

Bergen was born in Beverly Hills, Californiamarker. Her mother, Frances Bergen (née Westerman), was a Powers model who was known professionally as Frances Westcott. Her father, Edgar Bergen, was a ventriloquist, comedian, and actor. Her paternal grandparents were Swedishmarker-born immigrants who anglicized their surname. As a child, Bergen was irritated at being referred to as Charlie McCarthy's little sister, Charlie McCarthy being her father's star dummy.


Bergen began appearing on her father's radio program at a young age, and in 1958, at age eleven, 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.

In 1966, Bergen made her screen debut playing an aloof university student in The Group (1966), which delicately touched on the then-forbidden subject of lesbianism. The same year, she played the role of Shirley Eckert, an assistant school teacher in the movie The Sand Pebbles, which was nominated for several Academy Awards. She was featured in a 1970 political satire, The Adventurers, playing a frustrated socialite who has a lesbian affair. In (1975) she starred with Sean Connery in The Wind and the Lion, playing the role of a kidnapped American woman in the Moroccan desert.
Bergen has written articles, a play, and a memoir, Knock Wood (1984). She has also studied photography and worked as a photojournalist. Considered one of Hollywood's most beautiful women, Bergen worked as a fashion model before she took up acting.

Despite initial rocky reviews, she appeared in such films as Mike Nichols' provocative Carnal Knowledge and the Burt Reynolds romantic comedy Starting Over, for which she received Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for best supporting actress.

Bergen had roles in Western films including The Hunting Party and Bite the Bullet, both of which starred Gene Hackman. She was the love interest of Ryan O'Neal in the Love Story sequel, 1978's Oliver's Story, and portrayed a best-selling author in Rich and Famous (1981).

Turning to television and given a chance to show her little-seen comic talent, Murphy Brown, Bergen played a tough television reporter. Primarily a conventional sit-com, the show did tackle important issues: TV star 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." His remarks became comedic fodder, and were written into the show as if he were talking about the Murphy Brown character, who was depicted watching Quayle's speech. 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: between 1989 and 1995 she was nominated for an Emmy Award seven times and won five. After her fifth win, she declined future nominations for the role.

After playing the role of the successful journalist, Bergen was offered a chance to work as a real-life one. 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 at the time.

After Murphy Brown, Bergen hosted Exhale with Candice Bergen on the Oxygen network. She also appeared in character roles in films, most notably Miss Congeniality as the nefarious pageant host Kathy Morningside; she also portrayed the mayor of New York in Sweet Home Alabama. She also appeared in a 2003 Gwyneth Paltrow flight-attendant comedy, View from the Top.

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. In 2006 and 2008, she received Emmy nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series.

More recently she appeared in the 2009 movie Bride Wars as Marion St. Claire, New York's most sought-after wedding planner, who also serves as the narrator of the story.

She has also made guest appearances on many other TV shows, including Seinfeld (as herself playing Murphy Brown), Law & Order, Family Guy, Will & Grace (playing herself), and Sex and the City, where she played Enid Frick, Carrie Bradshaw's editor at Vogue.

A frequent host on NBC's Saturday Night Live, Bergen appeared twice in 1975. She was the first woman to host the show and the first host to do a second show. Bergen also hosted SNL in 1976, 1987, and 1990.

Bergen guest-starred on The Muppet Show in its first year (1976-1977), appearing in several skits, an episode now available in a DVD collection. She was also featured in a long-running "Dime Lady" ad campaign for the Sprint phone company.

Since its launch in 2008, Candice Bergen has been a contributor for, a website for women to talk culture, politics and gossip.

Personal life

Candice Bergen attended the University of Pennsylvaniamarker, where she was elected both Homecoming Queen and Miss University, but acknowledges that her failure to take her education seriously resulted in her being asked to leave. Bergen and then-boyfriend Terry Melcher lived at 10050 Cielo Drivemarker in Los Angelesmarker, which was later occupied by Sharon Tate and her husband, Roman Polanski. Tate and four others were later murdered in the home by followers of Charles Manson. There was some initial speculation that Melcher may have been the intended victim.

A political activist, Bergen accepted a date with Henry Kissinger, but was unable to influence his views. 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 Exchangemarker in 1967, leading to its temporary shut-down.
In 1981, she married French film director Louis Malle. They had one child, a daughter named Chloe Malle, in 1985. The couple were married until Malle's death from cancer in 1995.

Bergen has traveled extensively and speaks French fluently. She is now married to New York real estate magnate and philanthropist Marshall Rose.

Awards won

Emmy Awards:
  • Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for: Murphy Brown (1989, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1995) 5 wins

Golden Globe Awards:
  • Best Performance by an Actress in a TV-Series – Comedy/Musical for: Murphy Brown (1989, 1992) 2 wins



  1. Candice Bergen Biography (1946-)
  2. "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
  3. "Bergen & McCarthy 55-12-25 Christmas (Guest Candice Bergen)", listed on Golden Age OTR's playlist on

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