Family & Companions
A beautiful, narrow-eyed, sometimes nail-eating actress once called a "blonde, Barbie vixen" in The New York Times, Morgan Fairchild seemingly made a career of portraying strong-willed characters on daytime and primetime soap operas, yet has, on occasion, stepped out of stereotype in delicious guest turns on TV series. Such a turn came with her Emmy-nominated effort on "Murphy Brown" in 1989, wherein Fairchild was an actress researching Murphy for a TV role. But, sticking closer to type, Fairchild accepted the starring role on the daytime soap "The City" (ABC, 1995-96) as a no-holds-barred female tycoon.
Fairchild was one of those actresses who did not have to wait tables before getting the breaks, but she did have to remold herself to get there. Born in Dallas, often admitting to being somewhat of an ugly duckling with glasses, Fairchild began performing on stage at age 12. In 1973, six weeks after arriving in New York, she won the role of Jennifer Pace on the CBS daytime drama, "Search for Tomorrow," a character who eventually turned murderous. After leaving the soap in 1977, Fairchild went to the West Coast, where she quickly found work in the miniseries "Harold Robbins '79 Park Avenue'" (NBC, 1977) and the TV-movie "The Initiation of Sarah" (ABC, 1978). Soon thereafter, she was cast as Jenna Wade on the CBS series "Dallas." Fairchild would actually play the role in only one episode, losing it to Priscilla Presley.
By 1981, however, Fairchild had become a primetime soap diva in her own right as Constance, the spoiled adopted daughter, in NBC's "Flamingo Road." In 1984, she played Racine, the powerful and shrewd head of a modeling agency, in the short-lived ABC series "Paper Dolls" and during the 1985-86 season, joined yet another nighttime soap, "Falcon Crest" (CBS), as schizophrenic attorney Jordan Roberts. Even when she was doing longform TV, such as "North & South" (ABC, 1985) and its 1986 sequel, or numerous TV-movies, Fairchild usually played cold-hearted, bitchy roles.
Displaying a sense of humor about that image, Fairchild decided to have fun and surprised the audience in a number of key TV episodes in the 90s. In 1992, she played Sandra Bernhard's lesbian lover on an episode of "Roseanne," and in 1995, got into a catfight with "Cybil" as competitive actresses on -- what else? -- a soap opera. She was also Matthew Perry's too-sexy mother on an episode of "Friends." Fairchild was lured by ABC to play Sydney Chase, one of the richest women in the world, in "The City," its revamped version of the soap opera "Loving;" an MTV generation quick-paced half hour.
Beginning with "The Seduction" (1981), Fairchild played leads in occasional feature films, usually modestly budgeted independents or direct-to-video fodder. In "The Seduction," she was a newscaster being stalked by Andrew Stevens while she was a demanding publishing magnate in "Campus Man" (1987). Fairchild also scored a cameo in the film-within-the film of "Pee-wee's Big Adventure" (1985).
Cast (Feature Film)
Misc. Crew (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Worked as Faye Dunaway's stand-in during filming of "Bonnie and Clyde" (1967)
Moved to NYC
After her divorce, changed name to Morgan Fairchild
Played Jenifer Pace on CBS' daytime drama "Search for Tomorrow"
Moved to L.A.
Appeared in the ABC TV-movie "The Initiation of Sarah"
TV-movie debut, "Honeyboy"
Primetime series debut as Constance on "Flamingo Road" (NBC)
Had leading role in the feature "The Seduction"
Acted in the Off-Broadway play "Geniuses"
Appeared in ABC miniseries "North & South"
Played Jordan Roberts on CBS drama "Falcon Crest"
Reprised role in miniseries sequel "North and South, Book II"
Made first of a handful appearances as Matthew Perry's mother in the NBC sitcom "Friends"
Cast as Sydney Chase in ABC daytime series "The City"
Played recurring role of a rival actress in the CBS sitcom "Cybill"
Acted in "Holy Man", starring Eddie Murphy
Co-starred in Los Angeles stage production of "Crimes of the Heart"
Acted Off-Broadway in "High Infidelity" opposite John Davidson
Had cameo role in "The Teddy Bears' Picnic"
Guest-stars in the season finale of "That 70's Show" (Fox), playing the mother of Brooke (Shannon Elizabeth)
Cast in the MyNetworkTV series "Fashion House," playing Bo Derek's rival
Played the mother of a young gay man who is murdered in "Shock to the System"