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Here’s What Happened to Actress Morgan Fairchild Throughout Her Amazing Career of Over 50 Years

Hollywood survival stories are always fascinating to watch unfold, and actress Morgan Fairchild‘s is definitely among them. Which is actually somewhat surprising when you consider that, given the types of roles that she played over the course of her career, she could have very easily been lost to the mists of time. Those roles, of course, have probably colored people’s perceptions of her and given the audience a fair share of preconceived notions of who she is.

“A bitch is what people think I am, in real life and on the screen,” she offered in a 1982 interview with The San Francisco Examiner. “A ruthless, sex symbol who’s going to claw her way to the top no matter what.”

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That doesn’t feel like an apt description of the real Morgan, beyond the pure determination that turned her into a TV superstar in the 1970s and 1980s, and allowed her career to continue to thrive on the big and small screens as well as the stage for all those years afterward.

“You have to keep reintroducing yourself to the audience,” she offered in explanation of her longevity during an interview with the Santa Cruz Sentinel. “Every five years there’s a new generation that comes of age where they start paying attention and identifying, and you just have to be there on the cutting edge of whatever that is. So I have this whole audience of teenagers who know who I am, who don’t know who any of the other vixens are. And they don’t know how old I am; they think I’m the Old Navy babe.”

She was born Patsy Ann McClenny on February 3, 1980, in Dallas, Texas, and her move toward acting came in a pretty strange way: as a child, she suffered from severe shyness, which became apparent to all when, while in fifth grade, she had to read a book report aloud and got so nervous, that she actually fainted. “When she was 9,” notes the Austin American-Statesman, “her mother felt something had to be done. So she was enrolled in what was called an ‘expression class,’ a sort of introduction to dramatic affairs for young children. From that, she moved on to more advanced work. By the time she was 12, she was working in theater companies around Dallas.”

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As a teenager, she also appeared in television commercials produced for the Dallas-Forth Worth television stations. Her first Hollywood break came when she worked as a body double for Faye Dunaway in 1967’s Bonnie and Clyde, especially in driving sequence since Morgan could drive a stick-shift and Faye couldn’t. She was also asked out on a date by the film’s star, Warren Beatty. “He reportedly has a reputation for saying and doing outrageous things to other women,” she told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journey in 1976, “but he was always very nice to me.”

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