Five-time Emmy-winning actress Candice Bergen, now 68, admits she was TV’s highest-paid actress for many years after playing the title role in the hit CBS sitcom, Murphy Brown, which ran for ten years from 1988.
“The job security was amazing. And I never wanted it to end; doing Murphy Brown was incredibly fun”.
‘I made a lot of money. Most of this is the incomparable TV Money. Nothing like’.
After the first year of the hit TV show, when she won the Golden Globe and Emmy for Best Actress, her salary skyrocketed for over a decade and she kept that fact a secret.
Financial secrets prevailed in his upbringing by his model/actress mother and famous father, Edgar Bergen, best known for his ventriloquist whose sidekick was model Charlie McCarthy.
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Puppet Envy: In her new memoir, Candice Bergen writes that her father belittled her appearance and favored her model. She reveals that she used to sit on one of her father’s laps at the breakfast table and Charlie McCarthy used to sit on the other. “A slight pressure on the back of my neck gave me the signal to open and close my mouth so that he could ventriloquize me. Charlie and I chatted together in silence, while behind us dad provided the quick repartee for the two of us’
Success: Candice starred in the long-running TV hit Murphy Brown, here with co-star Grant Shaud
Happy Finally: Candice Bergen and Husband Marshall Rose at the 2014 Vanity Fair Oscar Party
Edgar has spent more time with the model than his firstborn, Candice. And when he died in 1978, his puny father left his only daughter out of his will – but not Charlie.
Charlie McCarthy received $10,000 on the condition that the funds be managed, invested, and reinvested to fund ventriloquist performances in the future.
Edgar wrote “I make this provision for sentimental reasons which to me are vital due to association with Charlie McCarthy who has been my constant companion and who has taken on the character of a real person and from whom I have never been separated even for a day’.
“I have sought my father’s approval all my life and here is proof that I will never get it,” the actress candidly reveals in her new memoir, A Fine Romance, published by Simon & Schuster.
Charlie McCarthy dominated Candy’s childhood.
She sat on one of her father’s laps at the breakfast table and Charlie sat on the other.
“A slight pressure on the back of my neck gave me the signal to open and close my mouth so that he could ventriloquize me. Charlie and I chatted together in silence, while behind us, Dad provided the lively repartee for both of us.
Charlie had his own room next to mine – and his was bigger.
Candy’s competition for her father’s affections wasn’t with a brother – it was with her ventriloquist EdBound to give Charlie McCarthy
“Those were unique circumstances to grow up in. Sometimes I have to congratulate myself on being a functioning human being,” she writes.
“Those were unique circumstances to grow up in. Sometimes I have to congratulate myself on being a functional human being.”
“I knew my dad loved me, but with his Swedish reserve, it wasn’t in his nature to tell me that,” Bergen writes.
He was not physically affectionate and when the girl decided to overcome her own terror of trying to say she loved him, her response to his declaration was a clap on the hand.
But the two would get on his plane together and he would key the girl up on phone books and let her fly the plane. They also went on fishing trips together and had long breakfasts on horseback while visiting Palm Springs.
“I was still hurt, shocked when I found out he left me out of his will.” She didn’t need the money, but it was an emotional affront.
Edgar also kept secrets for his wife – the contents of a safe in her office.
When Candice and her mother finally figured out the combination after her death, the name ‘Charlie’ transposed into numbers, the door opened to reveal fabulous jewelry that Edgar had bought and stored as investments and also to avoid paying taxes on them.
Mrs. Frances Bergen, known professionally as Frances Westcott after becoming “the Chesterfield girl” and the “Ipana (toothpaste) girl” in newspaper advertisements and on billboards, had no idea the existence of the large marquis diamond ring or the beautiful diamond. necklace with an egg-sized aquamarine.
Edgar never included her in any financial discussions, but after her death she became the “stock witch”, deftly quadrupling the estate’s value in twenty years.
Charlie McCarthy has always dominated Candice’s life.
She compared playing her award-winning title role in Murphy Brown to channeling her inner Charlie.
Murphy Brown’s character fit him like a glove and “gave me permission to be my brattiest, most bawdy self”.
His father was similarly schizophrenic – buttoned up, quiet and introverted – unless he was out with friends or had Charlie with him, an invitation to be risky and tell dirty jokes.
Director Louis Malle and actress Candice Bergen attend the premiere of ‘Dangerous Liaisons’ in 1988
“He belonged to a group of men called the Rancheros Visitadores. They would go horseback riding on the weekends and camp and tell stories and fart around a campfire.”
Then he would revert to his introverted self once back home.
Candice married the brilliant French director, screenwriter and producer Louis Malle in 1980. When she became pregnant with their first and only child, Chloé Malle, Candice wondered whether or not she would be able to tell the baby still in her belly that she loved him.
She never heard those words growing up and never got to tell her parents she loved them until late in life and into her thirties.
For thirty-nine years these feelings were suppressed until Chloe was born in 1985, then the child hijacked Candice’s feelings and turned her into a madwoman if she was separated from the child.
The little girl has become the love of her life, taking her away from Malle. He escaped from Los Angeles to work in France and New York. But the couple remained devoted and considered having a second child until Louis was diagnosed with myelofibrosis which developed into lymphoma and brain inflammation.
The disease was fatal.
“I was in a rage. I felt that my life, which had always been blessed, was suddenly held hostage by this whole other force.
Candice’s daughter, Chloe, is engaged and will marry in France, as her mother did with Chloe’s father, this summer
“I felt like my heart was breaking.”
She hid in the housekeeper’s room and cried at night. She sought primal scream therapy and was angry that her life was taken away from her and she became the Guardian.
Louis died in November 1995 at the age of sixty-three and Bergen confesses that she still thinks of him all the time.
“We loved each other completely, then we were separated by distance.”
Three years later, in 1998, she met Marshall Rose, former president of the New York Public Library, real estate developer, philanthropist and billionaire.
They married in June 2000 and writes that she found this new married life claustrophobic. She and Louis had lived together and separately with his work in Europe. Now, “Marsh” sought a closeness she found excessive and suffocating and reacted with tiny tantrums.
A look back at an analysis that helped her open up to the persistent tenderness of her second husband.
Feeling too old for the movies, feeling like a cliche, middle-aged actress with no job offers, she suffered from empty nest syndrome until the offer to star in Boston Legal in 2005 came along and saves her from her anguish.
These days, Bergen is accepting the thirty pounds she’s accumulated since marrying Marsh. She accepts that she is “a champion eater”. “No carbs are safe – neither is fat”.
Always a compulsive eater, as a young girl she consumed twelve peanut butter and jelly sandwich halves in less than ten minutes. She doesn’t overeat anymore after the gratuity, but still indulges in cookies and ice cream if she can find where the housekeeper hid them and parmesan cheese.
She writes that there is so much fat on her face that the skin is stretched to the max while clinging in folds under her chin.
She’s on medication for mini-strokes she first suffered while taping Boston Legal, but she’s no longer on the Prozac she was prescribed.
She gave up plastic surgery or fillers to look younger and settled into a loving and devoted relationship with Marsh.
A Fine Romance by Candice Bergen and published by Simon & Schuster is available on Amazon tomorrow.