Arriving on the set of Ladies of the ’80s: A Divas Christmas felt like a homecoming for Loni Anderson, who stars with three old friends and one new one in the upcoming holiday film.
“We had all been on CBS,” explains the actress, best known for playing sultry but shrewd receptionist Jennifer Marlowe on WKRP in Cincinnati from 1978 to 1982. “So, we did a lot of socializing back then even though we weren’t on the same shows.”
In the new film, premiering on Lifetime December 2 at 8 p.m. ET, Loni joins former Dallas star Linda Gray, Falcon Crest’s Morgan Fairchild and Knots Landing’s Donna Mills and Nicollette Sheridan playing five soap opera grande dames who reunite to film a holiday special.
The project ignites old rivalries, revives friendships and sprinkles their lives with holiday magic and romance. “I like feel-good movies — and this one was so different,” Loni, 78, tells Closer exclusively. “I was like: Where do I sign up?”
With a long career that has included movies as well as a hit TV series, Loni has nothing left to prove. She looks for new projects that promise a good experience. “This is a point in my life where I would rather not have drama,” Loni says. “I want to have a fun time with fun people. I am looking for the joy in whatever I’m doing.”
She admits she’d love a chance to play against type someday. “I always wanted to play someone inherently evil and mysterious,” confesses the actress, who is also still drawn to comedies. “The most tempting role is if I get to be funny around funny people,” she says.
Since 2008, Loni’s been married to musician Bob Flick. She first met this founding member of the folk group the Brothers Four back in the 1960s. “I was 17 and he was 24. I was just crazy about his music,” remembers Loni.
“Then we had a whole span of time where we didn’t see one another. I saw him on PBS, of all things, doing one of those pledge shows.” Loni reached out, sparks reignited and the rest is history!
The actress is also very close to her two adult children, daughter Deidra, from her first marriage, and son Quinton, whose father was her Stroker Ace costar Burt Reynolds. Although the couple’s 1994 divorce was a tabloid sensation, Loni looks back at the 12 years they were together with affection.
“I’m the kind of person who chooses the happy memories, because it’s ridiculous to dwell on the negative,” she says of Burt, who passed away in 2018. “He was my friend first, he was my friend at the end. He introduced me to some of the most glamorous people I never would have met. And we have this wonderful son.”
As the holiday season gets rolling, Loni is looking forward to the time she’ll spend with her family. “The cooking is big!” she says. “We have all these family recipes, and we always congregate in the kitchen. The main tradition is that we are all together.”