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February 3, 1950: Morgan Fairchild Was Born and Became a Television Fixture in the 70s and 80s

Photo: Mary Evans/Ronald Grant/Everett Collection

On February 3, 1950, Morgan Fairchild was born in Dallas, TX. With her glamorous persona and striking good looks, along with strong acting skills, she became a fixture on television in the 1970s and 1980s. Off-screen, she was an early champion of AIDS awareness and research. Turning 68 years old today, she is still an advocate for healthcare and humanitarian causes today.

Born Patsy Ann McClenny, she started acting at age 12 and had her first on-screen acting experience in 1966. She was hired to be Faye Dunaway’s body double in “Bonnie and Clyde.” Dunaway could not drive a stick shift, so Fairchild drove in the many car scenes.

Photo: Avco Embassy Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

She took on the professional name of Morgan Fairchild and had her daytime TV soap opera debut in “Search for Tomorrow” in 1972. Audiences loved her performance as the gorgeous, but murderous, Jennifer Pace. Aside from playing this role, Fairchild began a series of primetime TV show appearances, including on “Happy Days” and “Kojak.” After playing Jenna Wade in “Dallas,” she continued to have cameos on some of the hottest shows on TV at the time, including “Simon and Simon,” “Magnum P.I.” and “The Love Boat.” She even had a recurring role on “Mork and Mindy” as Mindy’s high school nemesis, Sandy Taylor.

In the 1980s, Fairchild emerged as a primetime TV star in her own right. She played spoiled adopted daughter Constance in NBC’s “Flamingo Road.” Then she played Racine, the head of a modeling agency, in the short-lived 1984’s “Paper Dolls.” One of her most well-known parts was on “Falcon Crest” as the glamorous and schizophrenic lawyer, Jordan Roberts. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Fairchild continued to be a fixture on nighttime TV, often playing cold-hearted women.

Photo: ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images

In the 1990s, Fairchild decided to break character and take on comedy. She played Sandra Bernhard’s lesbian lover on an episode of “Roseanne” and also played Chandler Bing’s mother on “Friends.” Her guest spot as actress Julia St. Martin on “Murphy Brown” earned her an Emmy nomination in 1989.

Today, Fairchild lives in L.A., where she is still a Hollywood fixture as well as a political activist. She was an early advocate for AIDS awareness and research she lost her friend Rock Hudson to the disease. She does philanthropic work for AmFAR and the AIDS Project LA. She is also a key spokesperson for various important causes today, including women’s rights and environmental protection.

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