Candice Bergen is an Academy Award-nominated and Emmy Award-winning American actress and former fashion model, best known for her starring role on the television sitcom Murphy Brown, and as William Shatner's legal partner, Shirley Schmidt, on the dramedy Boston Legal.
Bergen was born in Beverly Hills, California, the daughter of Frances Westerman — who was known professionally as Frances Westcott when she was a Powers model — and radio ventriloquist Edgar Bergen.
Her paternal grandparents, Johan Henriksson Berggren and Nilla Svensdotter Osberg, were Swedish-born immigrants who anglicised their surname.
As a child Bergen was often referred to as Charlie McCarthy's little sister, which irritated her (Charlie McCarthy being her father's star dummy).
Bergen first appeared at age 11 with her father on Groucho Marx's quiz show You Bet Your Life in 1958, as Candy Bergen. She said that when she grew up she wanted to design clothes.
Bergen has written articles, a play, and a memoir. She has also studied photography and worked as a photojournalist. Bergen also worked as a fashion model but soon began acting.
Despite initial rocky reviews, she appeared in such films as Carnal Knowledge and Starting Over, for which she received Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for best supporting actress.
Bergen was the first female guest host on Saturday Night Live. She went on to host on the show five times, including twice in the show's inaugural 1975 season.
On Murphy Brown, Bergen played a tough television reporter. Although the show was a successful comedy, it tackled important issues: Murphy Brown, a recovering alcoholic, became a single mother and later battled breast cancer.
In 1992, then Vice President Dan Quayle criticised primetime TV for showing the Murphy Brown character "mocking the importance of fathers by bearing a child alone and calling it just another lifestyle choice."
While his remarks became comedic fodder, they paved the way for a subsequent episode to explore the subject of family values within a diverse set of families.
Remaining true to the show's humour, Murphy arranges for a truckload of potatoes to be dumped in front of Quayle's residence (a reference to an infamous incident in which Quayle spelled the word "potato" with an e, as "potatoe," an archaic spelling).
In real life, however, Bergen agreed with at least some of Quayle's observations, saying Quayle's speech was "a perfectly intelligent speech about fathers not being dispensable and nobody agreed with that more than I did," according to the Associated Press.
Bergen's run on Murphy Brown was extremely successful; between 1989 and 1995 she was nominated for an Emmy Award seven times and won five. After her fifth win, she declined future nominations for her role as Murphy Brown.
After playing the role of the successful journalist, Bergen was offered the chance to work as a real-life journalist. After the run of Murphy Brown ended in 1998, CBS gave her the opportunity to cover some stories for 60 Minutes, an offer she declined.
She expressed that acting was her profession, journalism was meant for her television character, and should not cross over into her own professional life.
After Murphy Brown, Bergen hosted Exhale with Candice Bergen on the Oxygen network. She also appeared in character roles in films, most notably Miss Congeniality as the sweet-yet-demented pageant host Kathy Morningside; she also portrayed the mayor of New York in Sweet Home Alabama.
In 2003, she appeared in the movie View from the Top.
In January 2005, Bergen joined the cast of Boston Legal as Shirley Schmidt, a founding partner in the law firm of Crane, Poole & Schmidt. Bergen received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her performance on the show in 2006.
She has also made guest appearances on numerous television shows, including Seinfeld, Law & Order, Family Guy, Will & Grace (playing herself), and Sex and the City, in which she played Enid Frick, Carrie Bradshaw's editor at Vogue.
She is also well-known for starring in a long-running "Dime Lady" ad campaign for the Sprint phone company.
Bergen attended the University of Pennsylvania, but acknowledges that her failure to take her education seriously resulted in her being asked to leave.
Bergen and then-boyfriend Terry Melcher lived at 10050 Cielo Drive, which was later occupied by Sharon Tate and her husband, Roman Polanski. Tate and four others were later murdered in the home.
A political activist, Bergen accepted a date with Henry Kissinger but was unable to influence his views.
In 1981, she married French film director Louis Malle. They had a daughter, Chloe Malle, in 1985, and were married until his death by cancer in 1995.
Bergen has traveled extensively, and speaks French fluently. She is a vegetarian and is now married to New York real estate magnate and philanthropist Marshall Rose.
Bergen as Shirley Schmidt in Boston Legal