5/9/1946 (76 years old) Beverly Hills, California, United States
The daughter of famed ventriloquist Edgar Bergen, this cool beauty grew up in the public eye as the "little sister" of Charlie McCarthy, her father's famous wooden dummy. Still in college when she landed her debut film role in the 1966 ensemble drama The Group, Bergen went on to enjoy three very different careers: first as a so-so film actress, then as a celebrated photojournalist, and finally as a huge small-screen star as the title character on the sitcom Murphy Brown, a role that earned her two Golden Globes and five Emmys. Although Bergen had undisputed movie-star looks, her big-screen roles were mostly unrewarding, except for her Oscar-nominated turn as a tone-deaf aspiring singer in the 1979 romantic comedy Starting Over. Reportedly choosing her projects based on their filming locations, Bergen launched a concurrent career in journalism, contributing photos and articles based on her travels to numerous prestigious publications, including New York, Life and Playboy magazines. Disenchanted with her film offers in the '80s, Bergen did what many aging actresses do and turned to TV. But few former film players find such resounding success on the small screen. From the moment go, Murphy Brown captivated viewers. As a smart, sassy, outspoken and often difficult TV newsmagazine anchor who also happened to be a recovering alcoholic, Bergen won critical accolades and myriad awards, and incurred the wrath of then-vice president Dan Quayle in 1992, when her alter ego became a single mother. (During the run of the show, Bergen herself faced single parenthood when her husband, French film director Louis Malle, died of cancer in 1995.) In 1998, after a 10-year run, Murphy Brown left the airwaves, but Bergen remained a feminist icon and beloved personality, winning supporting film roles and even hosting her own TV talk show, Exhale With Candice Bergen. In 2005 she returned to the small screen as a series regular on Boston Legal, playing a high-powered lawyer.