Susan Blakely

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Susan Blakely
Born (1948-09-07) September 7, 1948 (age 75)
Years active1972–present
Todd Merer
(m. 1969; div. 1981)
Steve Jaffe
(m. 1982)

Susan Blakely (born September 7, 1948)[1] is an American actress. She is best known for her leading role in the 1976 ABC miniseries Rich Man, Poor Man, for which she received a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama and an Emmy nomination for Best Actress. Blakely also has appeared in films including The Towering Inferno (1974), Report to the Commissioner (1975), Capone (1975), The Concorde ... Airport '79 (1979) and Over the Top (1987).

Early life[edit]

Susan Blakely was born (on September 7, 1948, according to some sources) in Frankfurt, Germany, the daughter of an Army colonel.[2] After she attended University of Texas at El Paso, she moved to New York and studied acting with Warren Robertson, Lee Strasberg, Sanford Meisner[3] at the Neighborhood Playhouse[4] and later studied with Charles Conrad and Warner Loughlin in Los Angeles. She began a professional modeling career in 1967 at the prestigious Ford Modeling Agency appearing in hundreds of commercials.[5]


Blakely arrived in Hollywood in the early 1970s, and began appearing in supporting roles in films including Savages, The Way We Were, and The Lords of Flatbush. Her first major role was as Patty Simmons in the 1974 disaster film The Towering Inferno. The following year, she played the female lead roles in films Report to the Commissioner alongside Michael Moriarty, and Capone opposite Ben Gazzara.

Blakely with Peter Strauss in Rich Man Poor Man

Blakely gained wide critical acclaim with her leading role in the 1976 ABC television miniseries Rich Man, Poor Man, based on the 1969 novel of the same name by Irwin Shaw. For her performance, Blakely won that year's Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama and earned a nomination for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie.[6] She earned a second Emmy Award nomination the following year when she reprised her role in Rich Man, Poor Man Book II.[6] After her television success, she played leading roles in two movies in 1979: the disaster film The Concorde ... Airport '79 opposite Alain Delon, and the sport drama Dreamer with Tim Matheson.

During 1980s and 1990s, Blakely played leading roles in many made-for-television movies. She portrayed Frances Farmer in the 1982 film based on Farmer's autobiography, Will There Really Be a Morning?, for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film. She played Eva Braun opposite Anthony Hopkins in the Adolf Hitler biographical film The Bunker (1981), and Joan Kennedy in The Ted Kennedy Jr. Story (1986). She appeared in such feature films as Over the Top (1987), My Mom's a Werewolf (1989), and Hate Crime (2005). She recently guest-starred on This Is Us and NCIS and in past years on Hotel, The Twilight Zone, Stingray, Falcon Crest, Murder, She Wrote, Nip/Tuck, Brothers & Sisters, Southland, Two and a Half Men, In the Heat of the Night (1988 TV series), and Cougar Town.[7]

Personal life[edit]

In 1969, Blakely married a lawyer, Todd Merer. They divorced in 1981. In 1982, Blakely married media consultant, film and television producer Steve Jaffe. They reside in Beverly Hills, California.[8]



Year Title Role Notes
1972 Savages Cecily
1973 The Way We Were Judianne
1974 The Lords of Flatbush Jane Bradshaw
1974 The Towering Inferno Patty Duncan Simmons
1975 Report to the Commissioner Patty Butler
1975 Shampoo Girl on Street Uncredited
1975 Capone Iris Crawford
1979 Dreamer Karen
1979 The Concorde ... Airport '79 Maggie Whelan
1987 Over the Top Christina Hawk
1987 The Survivalist Linda Ryan
1989 Dream a Little Dream Cherry Diamond
1989 My Mom's a Werewolf Leslie Shaber
1990 Out of Sight, Out of Mind Alice Lundgren
1992 Russian Holiday Susan Dennison
1994 Seven Sundays Alice
1999 Gut Feeling
2001 Crash Point Zero [fr] Barbara Esmond
2002 Hungry Hearts Barbi Harris
2004 L.A. Twister Vivian
2005 Hate Crime Martha Boyd
2008 Grizzly Park Unhappy Camper
2008 Mating Dance Abby's Mother
2010 The Genesis Code Beverly Truman
2011 Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2 Vivian Ashe
2013 Green Briefs Theresa
2017 Displacement Carol Sinclair


Year Title Role Notes
1976 Rich Man, Poor Man Julie Prescott Miniseries
Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama
Nominated — Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
1976 Rich Man, Poor Man Book II Julie Prescott Miniseries
Nominated — Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
1977 Secrets Andrea Fleming Television film
1980 Make Me an Offer Joyce Windsor Television film
1980 A Cry for Love Polly Harris Television film
1981 The Oklahoma City Dolls Sally Jo Purkey Television film
1981 The Bunker Eva Braun Television film
1983 Will There Really Be a Morning? Frances Farmer Television film
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film
1984 The Hitchhiker Melody Episode: "Remembering Melody"
1985 Stingray Evelyn Decter Television film
1985 The Love Boat Nicole Phillips 2 episodes
1986 Blood & Orchids Marie Farrell Television film
1986 Annihilator Layla Television film
1986 The Ted Kennedy Jr. Story Joan Kennedy Television film
1987 The Twilight Zone Linda Wolfe Episode: "The Card/The Junction"
1985–1987 Hotel Marion Thorne / Dr. Ann Vargo / Allison 3 episodes
1987 Fatal Confession: A Father Dowling Mystery Patricia Erdain Television film
1988 Broken Angel Catherine Coburn Television film
1988 April Morning Sarah Cooper Television film
1988 Hiroshima Maiden Betty Bennett Television film
1988 Ladykillers Lilah Corbett Television film
1988 In the Heat of the Night Claudia Merrill Episode: "The Family Secret"
1990 The Incident Billie Television film
1990 Falcon Crest Anne Bowen 3 episodes
1990 Dead Reckoning Alex Barnard Television film
1990 Murder Times Seven Gert Kiley Television film
1991 And the Sea Will Tell Gail Bugliosi Television film
1991 Blackmail Lucinda Television film
1991 Wildflower Ada Guthrie Television film
1992 Against Her Will: An Incident in Baltimore Billie Television film
1992 Intruders Leigh Holland Miniseries
1993 No Child of Mine Peggy Young Television film
1994 Walker, Texas Ranger Meredith Clancy Episode: "Deadly Vision"
1994 The True Story of the Menendez Murders Leslie Abramson Television film
1989–1994 Murder, She Wrote Various 4 episodes
1995 Step by Step Pam Marshall Episode: "She Came in Through the Bedroom Window"
1995-2000 Diagnosis: Murder Various 2 episodes
1996 Co-ed Call Girl Teri Halbert Television film
1996 Color Me Perfect Dr. Linda Ryan Television film
1998 Broken Silence: A Moment of Truth Movie Margaret Carlyle Television film
1998 7th Heaven Elizabeth Brown Episode: "And a Nice Chianti"
2000 Chain of Command Meg Danforth Television film
2000 The Perfect Nanny Dr. Julia Bruning Television film
2000 Her Married Lover Laura Mannhart Television film
2001 Baywatch Hawaii Madam Pele/The Hitchhiker/The Tour Guide Episode: "The Return Of Jessie"
2001 A Mother's Testimony Donna Mulroney Television film
2001 Strong Medicine Camille Cantrell Episode: "Rebirth"
2005 The Perfect Neighbor Jeannie Costigan Television film
2006 Cold Case Mollie Felice Episode: "Baby Blues"
2007 Side Order of Life Margot McIntyre 3 episodes
2007 Nip/Tuck Valerie Farrell Episode: "Everett Poe"
2008 Murder 101: New Age Camilla Meera Television film
2008 Two and a Half Men Angie 2 episodes
2010 Brothers & Sisters Celia Calmartin Episode: "Faking It"
2009, 2011 Southland Linda Sherman 2 episodes
2012 Cougar Town Betsy Episode: "Ways to Be Wicked"
2013 The Perfect Boyfriend Clara Television film
2017 NCIS Dr. Cadence Darwin Episode: "Exit Strategy"
2017 Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Gigi Plimpton Episode: "Josh Is Irrelevant."
2017-2018 This Is Us Anne Recurring role


  1. ^ The Associated Press (August 28, 2023). "Celebrity birthdays for the week of Sept. 3-9". ABC News.
  2. ^ Hal Erickson. "Susan Blakely - Biography, Movie Highlights and Photos". AllMovie. Retrieved June 6, 2015.
  3. ^ Blakely, Susan. "Susan Blakely Official Home Page". Retrieved December 31, 2016.
  4. ^ "Alumni". Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theater. 2020. Retrieved May 7, 2020.
  5. ^ TV Guide Magazine, August 24, 1974
  6. ^ a b "Susan Blakely". Television Academy. Retrieved June 6, 2015.
  7. ^ "Susan Blakely signs for Cougar Town". Digital Spy. September 21, 2011. Retrieved June 6, 2015.
  8. ^ "Susan Blakely profile". Retrieved June 6, 2015.

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