Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A Fine Romance by Candace Bergen

Candace Bergen. A Fine Romance. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2015.

Bergen auditioned for the TV series"Murphy Brown". She writes her audition "tanked" as she didn't have a comedic background. Diane English, a showwriter- producer, insisted Bergen was the right person and Bergen was hired. Bergen writes "in television, writer-producers are king---queen, in this case."

Bergen fund performing in a sitcom that "I was in a state of shock. It was a complete out of body experience, a dramatic difference format: four cameras filmed before a live audience."

On "Murphy Brown", the writers often worked past midnight for the Monday table reads.The scripts were good and there was no improvisation, Bergen writes.

A running gag on the show was Bergen's character was so difficult she had a different secretary each week. Among those portraying her secretary were Sally Field, Paul Reubens, Michael Kramer, and Bette Midler.

Bergen won five Emmys, the most anyone ever won for the same role. She withdrew her name during the show's seventh season.

The show "Murphy Brown" engaged in cultural commentary. The show became part of the culture. Vice President Dan Quayle criticized "Murphy Brown" for depicting a single woman raising a child. This created a national discussion.

Bergen loved her work. In the 7th season, some of the other cast returned from time off complaining about returning to the grind yet Bergen enjoyed working. What did trouble her was her husband was ill, in failing health, and then died.

After "Murphy Brown" ended, Bergen had an interview show on Oxygen called "Exhale with CandaceBergen". It ran for two seasons.

Bergen was in movies, yet as Bergen writes, "demand for me never returned to the degree it has been with "Muphy". Bcause I had become a click: a middle aged actress marginalized in her career. Jobs dry up. Visibility is gone." She would then be cast on the TV series "Boston Legal" with James Spader. Spader, she writes, "is truly eccentric, initially a bit prickly, hyper focused and hyper intelligent."

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