Loni Anderson

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Loni Anderson
Lonnie Anderson 2019 (cropped).jpg
Anderson in 2019
Loni Kaye Anderson

(1945-08-05) August 5, 1945 (age 77)
Years active1966–present
  • Bruce Hasselberg
    (m. 1964; div. 1966)
  • Ross Bickell
    (m. 1973; div. 1981)
  • (m. 1988; div. 1994)
  • (m. 2008)

Loni Kaye Anderson (born August 5, 1945)[1] is an American actress. She played receptionist Jennifer Marlowe on the CBS sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati (1978–1982), which earned her three Golden Globe Awards and two Emmy Award nominations.

Early life[edit]

Anderson was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota, the daughter of Klaydon Carl "Andy" Anderson, an environmental chemist, and Maxine Hazel (née Kallin), a model. She grew up in suburban Roseville, Minnesota. As a senior at Alexander Ramsey Senior High School in Roseville, she was voted Valentine Queen of the Valentine's Day Winter Formal of 1963.[2] As she states in her autobiography My Life in High Heels, her father was going to name her Leiloni, but realized that when she got to her teen years, it was likely to be twisted into "Lay Loni"—so it was changed to simply Loni.[3][page needed]


Her acting debut came with a bit part in the film Nevada Smith (1966), starring Steve McQueen. After it, she was virtually unemployed as an actress for nearly a decade, then she received guest roles on television series in the mid-1970s. She appeared in two episodes of S.W.A.T., then on the sitcom Phyllis, and the detective series Police Woman and Harry O.

She auditioned for the role of Chrissy on the sitcom Three's Company. She did not win the role, but in 1978 guest-starred as Susan Walters on a season two episode,[4] an appearance that 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 (1978–1982). She was offered the role when producers saw a poster of her in a red swimsuit—a pose similar to Farrah Fawcett's famous 1976 poster. Hugh Wilson, the sitcom's creator, later said Anderson got the role because her body resembled Jayne Mansfield's and because she possessed the innocent sexuality of Marilyn Monroe.

Although the series suffered in the Nielsen ratings throughout most of its four-year run, it had a strong following among teens, young adults and disc jockeys. Owing to her rising popularity as the series' so-called "main attraction", Anderson walked out on the sitcom during the 1980 summer hiatus, requesting a substantial salary increase. While she was renegotiating her contract, she starred in the television film The Jayne Mansfield Story (1980). When the network agreed to her requests, she returned to the series and remained until its cancellation in 1982. It has 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 film All Dogs Go to Heaven (1989).

Anderson in 1985

In the mid-to-late 1980s, Anderson was teamed with Wonder Woman actress Lynda Carter in the 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), both of which received little attention. After starring in Coins in the Fountain (1990), Anderson received considerable praise for her portrayal of comedian 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 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 sitcom Designing Women in 1991, producers offered Anderson a role as Burke's replacement, which never came to pass because the network refused to pay Anderson the salary she had requested. She agreed 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 sitcom Nurses, playing hospital administrator Casey MacAffee. Although her entering the series was an attempt to boost the series' ratings, the series was canceled shortly thereafter. Anderson has returned to guest-starring on several popular television series, such as playing the "witch-trash" cousin on Sabrina the Teenage Witch and as Vallery Irons' mother on V.I.P. She also appeared in the comedy film A Night at the Roxbury (1998).

In April 2018, Anderson was seen promoting WKRP in Cincinnati and other television series on the MeTV television network.

Personal life[edit]

Anderson has been married four times. Her first three husbands were Bruce Hasselberg (1964–1966), Ross Bickell (1973–1981), and actor Burt Reynolds (1988–1994).[5] On May 17, 2008, she married musician Bob Flick, one of the founding members of the folk band The Brothers Four.[6][7] They had originally met at a movie premiere in Minneapolis in 1963.[8]

Anderson has two children: a daughter, Deidra[9] (fathered by Hasselberg),[10][11] and a son, Quinton (born in 1988), whom she and Reynolds adopted.[12][13][14] She also has a sister, Andrea.[9] Anderson's autobiography My Life in High Heels was published in 1995.

Growing up with parents of the World War II generation, who both smoked, Anderson witnessed the effects of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a lung disease often caused by smoking. In 1999, she became a spokesperson for a COPD support organization named COPD Together.[15]



Year Title Role Notes
1966 Nevada Smith Brunette Saloon Girl uncredited
1976 Vigilante Force Peaches uncredited
1983 Stroker Ace Pembrook Feeny nominated—Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actress
nominated—Golden Raspberry Award for Worst New Star
1984 The Lonely Guy Herself uncredited
1989 All Dogs Go to Heaven Flo voice
1992 Munchie Cathy
1998 3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain Medusa
1998 A Night at the Roxbury Barbara Butabi

Television films[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1977 The Magnificent Magical Magnet of Santa Mesa Mrs. Daroon
1978 Three on a Date Angela Ross
1980 The Jayne Mansfield Story Jayne Mansfield
1980 The Fantastic Funnies self (host) [16]
1981 Sizzle Julie Davis [17]
1982 Country Gold Mollie Dean Purcell
1984 My Mother's Secret Life Ellen Blake
1985 A Letter to Three Wives Lora Mae Holloway
1986 Stranded Stacy Tweed [18]
1987 Blondie & Dagwood Blondie Bumstead voice
1988 Necessity Lauren LaSalle
1988 Whisper Kill Liz Bartlett
1988 Too Good to Be True Ellen Berent
1989 Sorry, Wrong Number Madeleine Stevenson
1989 Blondie & Dagwood: Second Wedding Workout Blondie Bumstead voice
1990 Coins in the Fountain Leah
1990 Blown Away Lauren
1991 White Hot: The Mysterious Murder of Thelma Todd Thelma Todd
1992 The Price She Paid Lacey
1994 Gambler V: Playing for Keeps Fanny Porter
1994 Without Warning Actress in opening movie segment uncredited[19]
1995 Deadly Family Secrets Martha

Television series[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1975 S.W.A.T. Miss Texas episode: "The Steel Security Blanket"
1975 S.W.A.T. Art Teacher episode: "Deadly Tide: Part 1"
1975 The Invisible Man Andrea Hanover episode: "Man of Influence"
1975 Harry O Linzy episode: "Lester Two"
1975 Phyllis Rita episode: "The First Date"
1975 Police Woman Waitress episode: "Farewell, Mary Jane"
1976 Police Story Waitress episode: "Odyssey of Death: Part 2"
1976 Barnaby Jones Dee Dee Danvers episode: "Deadly Reunion"
1976 Barnaby Jones Joanna Morgan episode: "Sins of Thy Father"
1976 The McLean Stevenson Show Mrs. Swenson episode: "Going His Way"
1977 The Bob Newhart Show Leslie Greely episode: "Carlin's New Suit"
1977 The Love Boat Barbie episode: "Lost and Found/The Understudy/Married Singles"
1978–82 WKRP in Cincinnati Jennifer Marlowe 89 episodes
nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy (1980–81)
nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (1980–81)
1978 The Incredible Hulk Sheila Cantrell episode: "Of Guilt, Models and Murder"
1978 Three's Company Susan Walters episode: "Coffee, Tea, or Jack"
1980 The Love Boat Passenger episode: "The Kinfolk / Sis and the Slicker / Moonlight and Moonshine / Affair"
1980 Fantasy Island Kim Holland episode: "The Love Doctor / Pleasure Palace / Possessed"
1984 Partners in Crime Sydney Kovak 13 episodes
1985 Amazing Stories Love episode: "The Guilt Trip"
1986–87 Easy Street L.K. McGuire 22 episodes
1990 B.L. Stryker Dawn St. Claire episode: "Grand Theft Hotel"
1991–92 The New WKRP in Cincinnati Jennifer Marlowe 2 episodes: "Where Are We Going?", "Jennifer and the Prince"
1993 Empty Nest Casey MacAfee 3 episodes
1993–94 Nurses Casey MacAfee 22 episodes
1995 Burke's Law Claudia Loring episode: "Who Killed the Highest Bidder?"
1995 Women of the House Loni Anderson episode: "Women in Film"
1996 Melrose Place Teri Carson 3 episodes
1997 Sabrina the Teenage Witch Racine episode: "Witch Trash"
1998 Clueless Barbara Collier episode: "Labor of Love"
1999 Movie Stars Audrey Wyatt episode: "Mothers & Brothers"
1999 V.I.P. Carol Irons episode: "Stop or Val's Mom Will Shoot"
2001 Three Sisters Janet episode: "Mother's Day"
2003–04 The Mullets Mandi Mullet-Heidecker 11 episodes
2006 So Notorious Kiki Spelling 8 episodes
2016 Baby Daddy Nana Lyle episode: "Not So Great Grandma"[20]
2016–18 My Sister Is So Gay Frances 12 episodes
2017 Love You More Jean Carlyle-Dixon TV pilot

Further reading[edit]

  • Anderson, Loni; Warren, Larkin (1995). My Life in High Heels. New York: Morrow. ISBN 978-0-688-14272-8. OCLC 32703710 – via archive.org— her autobiography{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: postscript (link)


  1. ^ "Loni Kaye Anderson, Minnesota Birth Index, 1935–2002". FamilySearch. Retrieved May 16, 2020.
  2. ^ "1963 Alexander Ramsey Senior High School Yearbook photos, pictures and photo tags". classmates.com. Retrieved October 13, 2017.
  3. ^ Anderson, Loni; Warren, Larkin (1995). My Life in High Heels. New York: Morrow. ISBN 978-0-688-14272-8. OCLC 32703710 – via archive.org.
  4. ^ Cormier, Roger (January 1, 2016). "16 Regal Facts About Three's Company". Mental Floss. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  5. ^ D'Zurilla, Christie (September 6, 2018). "Burt Reynolds and Loni Anderson: The ugly divorce that just wouldn't end". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 18, 2020. left divorce court in 1994
  6. ^ "Loni Anderson marries folk singer Bob Flick 15 years after divorce from Burt Reynolds". Star Tribune. May 18, 2008.
  7. ^ "Loni Anderson Biography". bio. A&E Television Networks. Retrieved June 16, 2016.
  8. ^ Orloff, Brian (June 26, 2008). "Loni Anderson's Sweet Happily Ever After". People Magazine. Retrieved November 10, 2019.
  9. ^ a b Dougherty, Margot; Marx, Linda; Balfour, Victoria; Armstrong, Lois (May 16, 1988). "Burt & Loni's Wedding Album". People. Retrieved November 10, 2019.
  10. ^ Schindehette, Susan (September 13, 1993). "What a Mess!". People. Retrieved November 10, 2019.
  11. ^ Lipton, Michael A. (September 15, 2003). "Red-Hot Grandmama". People. Retrieved November 10, 2019.
  12. ^ "Deidre Hall's Miracle." Archived December 3, 2005, at the Wayback Machine The American Surrogacy Center, Inc., 1996. Retrieved September 7, 2006.
  13. ^ "Burt and Loni, and baby makes glee". The Philadelphia Inquirer. September 3, 1988.
  14. ^ Nolasco, Stephanie (May 15, 2021). "Loni Anderson on 'Hollywood Museum Squares,' trying on Marilyn Monroe's dress: It 'gave me chills'". Fox News. Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  15. ^ Stephens, Stephanie (December 11, 2015). "Loni Anderson: Now's the Time to Give Back". Parade. Retrieved April 10, 2018.
  16. ^ "The Fantastic Funnies (1980)". Internet Archive. Retrieved February 16, 2022.
  17. ^ "Loni Anderson and 'Sizzle'". The Lewiston Daily Sun. Associated Press. November 27, 1981. Retrieved January 5, 2014.
  18. ^ "Stranded: Full Credits". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved September 26, 2019.
  19. ^ "Without Warning – Full Credits". tcm.com. Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
  20. ^ "Baby Daddy: Not So Great Grandma". zap2it.com. Tribune Media Entertainment. Retrieved June 10, 2017.

External links[edit]