Loni Anderson

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Loni Anderson
Loni Anderson 2012.jpg
Anderson in December 2012
Born Loni Kaye Anderson
(1945-08-05) August 5, 1945 (age 69)
Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States
Occupation Actress
Years active 1966; 1975–present
Spouse(s) Bruce Hasselberg (m. 1964–66)
Ross Bickell (m. 1973–81)
Burt Reynolds (m. 1988–93)
Bob Flick (m. 2008)

Loni Kaye Anderson (born August 5, 1945) is an American actress who is known for her four-year run as receptionist Jennifer Marlowe on the sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati (1978–1982).

Early life[edit]

Anderson was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota, the daughter of Maxine Hazel (née Kallin), a model, and Klaydon Carl "Andy" Anderson, an environmental chemist, and grew up in suburban Roseville. As a senior at Alexander Ramsey Senior High School in Roseville in 1963, she was voted Valentine Queen of Valentine's Day Winter Formal.[1] She attended the University of Minnesota.[2] As she says in her autobiography, My Life in High Heels, her father was originally going to name her "Leiloni" but then realized to his horror that when she got to her teen years it was likely to be twisted into "Lay Loni." So it was changed to simply "Loni".


Anderson in 1992

Her acting debut came in the 1966 film Nevada Smith, starring Steve McQueen. After that, she went virtually unemployed as an actress for nearly a decade, before she finally began achieving guest roles on episodic television shows in the mid-1970s. She appeared in two episodes of S.W.A.T., and later appeared on the sitcom Phyllis, as well as the detective shows Police Woman and Harry O. In 1978, she guest starred as Susan Walters on a season two episode of the popular sitcom Three's Company. Her appearance on the show brought her to the attention of the ABC network.

Anderson's most famous acting role came as the sultry receptionist Jennifer Marlowe on the sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati (1978–82). She was offered the role when producers saw the poster of her in a red bikini—a pose similar to Farrah Fawcett's famous 1976 pin-up. The sitcom's creator, Hugh Wilson, later admitted that Anderson got the part because her body resembled Jayne Mansfield and because she possessed the innocent sexuality of Marilyn Monroe. Although the series suffered in the Nielsen ratings throughout the majority of its four-year run, it had a strong and loyal following among teenagers, young adults, and disc jockeys. Owing to her rising popularity as the show's so-called "main attraction," Anderson walked out on the sitcom during the 1980 summer hiatus of the series, requesting a substantial salary increase. During her hiatus, at a time when she was renegotiating her contract, she starred as blonde bombshell Jayne Mansfield in the CBS made-for-television film The Jayne Mansfield Story (1980). After the network agreed to her meet her requests, Anderson returned to the show and remained with it until its cancellation in 1982. The series has since remained popular in syndication around the world.

Aside from her acting career, Anderson has become known for her colorful personal life, particularly her relationship and marriage to actor Burt Reynolds. They starred in the comedy film Stroker Ace (1983), which was a critical and box office failure. She later appeared as herself in the romantic comedy The Lonely Guy (1984), starring Steve Martin. She voiced Flo, a collie in the animated classic film All Dogs Go to Heaven (1989).

In the 1980s, Anderson's acting gradually declined. She was teamed with Wonder Woman actress Lynda Carter in the critically panned television series, Partners in Crime in 1984. She appeared in television adaptations of classic Hollywood films, such as A Letter to Three Wives (1985) with Michele Lee, and Sorry, Wrong Number (1989) with Patrick Macnee and Hal Holbrook, both of which received little attention. After starring in Coins in the Fountain (1990), Anderson received considerable praise for her portrayal of comedienne actress Thelma Todd in the television movie White Hot: The Mysterious Murder of Thelma Todd (1991). In the early 1990s, she attempted to co-star with her husband Burt Reynolds on his new CBS sitcom Evening Shade, but the network was not fond of the idea, thus replacing Anderson with Marilu Henner. After Delta Burke was fired from the CBS comedy Designing Women in 1991, producers offered Anderson a role as Burke's replacement, which eventually never came to pass because the network refused to pay Anderson the salary she had requested. She did, however, agree to return as Jennifer Marlowe on two episodes of The New WKRP in Cincinnati, a sequel to the original series. In 1993, Anderson was added to the third season of the NBC sitcom Nurses, playing hospital administrator Casey MacAffee. Although her entering the series was an attempt to boost the show's ratings, the series was cancelled shortly thereafter. Anderson has since returned to guest starring on several popular television shows, such as playing the "witch-trash" cousin on Sabrina, the Teenage Witch and as Valley Irons' mother on V.I.P. She also starred in A Night at the Roxbury (1998).

Personal life[edit]

Anderson has been married four times; her first three marriages were to: Bruce Hasselberg (1964–66), Ross Bickell (1973–81), and actor (and one-time co-star) Burt Reynolds (1988–93). On May 17, 2008, Anderson married musician Bob Flick, one of the founding members of the folk band The Brothers Four.[3][4] The couple had met at a movie premiere in Anderson's native St. Paul a few years after Flick's group hit No. 2 on the pop charts with "Greenfields" in 1960. The ceremony was attended by friends and family, including son Quinton Reynolds.

She has two children: a daughter, Deidra Hoffman[5] (from her first marriage),[6] who is a school administrator in California;[7] and a son, Quinton Anderson Reynolds (born August 31, 1988), whom she and Burt Reynolds adopted.[8][9] Her autobiography, My Life in High Heels, was published in 1997.

Growing up with parents who smoked and were affected by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD),[10] Anderson became the spokeswoman for the National Lung Health Education Program’s campaign and COPDTogether[10] to increase awareness about COPD[11] and caregiver support.[10]

Anderson was raised as a Lutheran.[12]





  1. ^ "classmates.com yearbooks Ramsey High School 1963". 
  2. ^ "Loni Anderson Biography (1945?-)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved 2010-07-27. 
  3. ^ "Loni Anderson marries folk singer Bob Flick 15 years after divorce from Burt Reynolds". Star Tribune. May 18, 2008. 
  4. ^ "Loni Anderson". Biography.Com. Retrieved October 11, 2011. 
  5. ^ Dougherty, Margot; Linda Marx; Victoria Balfour; Lois Armstrong (1988-05-16). "Burt & Loni's Wedding Album". People. Time Inc. Retrieved June 28, 2008. 
  6. ^ Schindehette, Susan (1993-09-13). "What a Mess!". People. Time Inc. Retrieved June 28, 2008. 
  7. ^ Lipton, Michael A. (September 15, 2003). "Red-Hot Grandmama". People. Time Inc. Retrieved June 28, 2008. 
  8. ^ "Deidre Hall's Miracle." The American Surrogacy Center, Inc., 1996. Retrieved September 7, 2006.
  9. ^ Burt and Loni, and baby makes glee (The Philadelphia Inquirer – September 3, 1988)
  10. ^ a b c "Loni Anderson — Caring for You". ABILITY Magazine. Dec 2013 – Jan 2014. 
  11. ^ "Ability Magazine: Loni Anderson interview by Chet Cooper and Gillian Friedman, MD". Retrieved April 5, 2012. 
  12. ^ "The Religion of Loni Anderson". Adherants.com. August 27, 2005. Retrieved June 6, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Loni Anderson and 'Sizzle'". The Lewiston Daily Sun. Associated Press. November 27, 1981. Retrieved January 5, 2014. 

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