Cheryl Ladd’s Journey from ‘Charlie’s Angels’ to Today: ‘My Life is Big and Bright and Beautiful Again’

From pretty much the time she arrived on the scene, Cheryl Ladd has not been known as somebody who stands still. She exploded in the public consciousness with Charlie’s Angels in 1977 (“I’ve always said I was a seven-year overnight success,” she laughs) and went on from that phenomenon to starring in numerous TV movies, recording albums, hitting the Broadway stage, appearing on the big screen and embracing various business ventures. But as significant as all of that is, let no one forget that, significantly, 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of the Saturday morning cartoon Josie and the Pussycats.

“Oh, you got me,” Cheryl laughs in an exclusive interview, reflecting, “I was the singing voice of Melody. I was 19 when I arrived in Los Angeles and it was my first job, which I got on one of my first auditions. So it was a wonderful time for me. Within six months of arriving in L.A., I had a used Mustang car, an apartment with some girlfriends, $3,000 in the bank and I’m driving down Sunset Boulevard wondering, ‘Wow. Does it get any better than this?”

In a word, yes.

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Warner Bros

She was born Cheryl Jean Stoppelmoor on July 12, 1951 in Huron, South Dakota, the second daughter of Dolores and Marion Stoppelmoor, respectively a waitress and railroad engineer. Following high school, she became part of the band The Music Shop and played a variety of mid-western venues before making the life-altering decision to relocate to Los Angeles, ostensibly to follow a career in music.

“I need to give my parents credit, because they only thing they asked of us was that behave ourselves and don’t get in trouble, take our school work seriously and just be ourselves,” muses Cheryl. “’Just be who you are.’ They never told me what I could or could not be. To get that advice from your parents was a wonderful gift. And for me, I was a really creative person in a tiny town in South Dakota. I was going to have very limited opportunities there.”

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Moviestore/Shutterstock

She notes that when her sister, a couple of years older than her, graduated high school, their mother asked what she wanted and the response was a hope chest. Cheryl explains, “She was going to marry her high school sweetheart and they’re still married. That’s who she was. So she wanted a hope chest; she said ‘I’m going to have a family and I want to have a beautiful home and nice things,’ and my mother said, ‘Great.’ So when I was graduating from high school and my mother asked me what I wanted for graduation, I said, ‘luggage. I’m leaving. I can’t be me here. I There’s no work for me here in South Dakota.’ I had to go either to New York or California, and I was singing with a band, so we ended up in California and the rest is history.”

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