Cybill Lynne Shepherd (born February 18, 1950) is a Golden Globe Award-winning American actress, singer, and former fashion model.

Her best known roles include starring as Jacy in The Last Picture Show, Maddie Hayes in Moonlighting, as Cybill Sheridan in Cybill, as Betsy in Taxi Driver and as Phyllis Kroll in The L Word.

Youth[edit | edit source]

Shepherd was born in Memphis, Tennessee to William Jennings Shepherd and Patty Shobe. Named after her grandfather Cy and her father Bill, Shepherd won the 1966 "Miss Memphis" contest at age 16, resulting in fashion modeling work through high school and after.

Career[edit | edit source]

She quickly made a name for herself as a curvy 'real woman', which was a departure from the trend at the time of Twiggy-type waifs. This led to regular work as a magazine cover girl, and it was a 1970 Glamour magazine cover that caught the eye of Polly Platt, the screenwriter and film producer who was then the wife of film director Peter Bogdanovich. Upon seeing the cover in a check-out line in a Ralphs grocery store in southern California, Platt was reported to have said "That's Jacy",[1] referring to the role Bogdanovich was casting - and ultimately offered to Shepherd - in The Last Picture Show (1971). Shepherd's role as the sexual ingenue would prove to be one of the most explosive and promising debuts of any film actress.

During the filming, the then 21-year-old was required to film a nude scene in a pool. Still photos obtained from that nude scene appeared in Playboy magazine without Shepherd's consent. She sued and ultimately she and Playboy reached an out-of-court settlement, setting a precedent regarding public figures.

Also during the filming of The Last Picture Show, Shepherd began an affair with Bogdanovich that would last on and off for eight years. In her autobiography, she also acknowledged that she had affairs with her co-star Jeff Bridges, the screenwriter Larry McMurtry, and with location manager Frank Marshall, whom she gives the pseudonym of "Producer."

First experience of fame[edit | edit source]

Shepherd was cast opposite Charles Grodin in The Heartbreak Kid (1972). She played Kelly, the beautiful, sun-kissed young woman whom Grodin's character falls for while on his honeymoon in Miami. Directed by Elaine May, it was a critical and box office hit, showing off comedic talents.

Also in 1972, Shepherd posed as a Kodak Girl for the camera manufacturer's then ubiquitous cardboard displays.

In 1974, Shepherd again teamed with Peter Bogdanovich for the title role in Daisy Miller, based on the Henry James novella. The role - a period piece set in Europe - was a challenging one, especially for a relatively inexperienced Shepherd. It proved to be a box office failure.

Unfortunately, before Daisy Miller was released, filming was already underway on the even bigger Bogdanovich flop At Long Last Love (co-starring Burt Reynolds). The film was a musical in which Bogdanovich filmed all of the songs live while the camera rolled on each scene, as opposed to the conventional studio-recording of songs prior to production on most movie musicals. This approach was unpleasant on film, and it became a career-hampering mis-step for all involved.

Shepherd returned with good reviews for her work in Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver (1976). According to Shepherd, Scorsese had requested a "Cybill Shepherd type" for the role. She portrayed an ethereal beauty with whom De Niro's title character becomes enthralled.

After a series of less successful roles, including The Lady Vanishes, the remake of Alfred Hitchcock's 1938 movie of the same name, she dropped out of show business from 1978 to 1982.

Return to Hollywood[edit | edit source]

Back from Memphis, Shepherd won the role of Colleen Champion in the night-time drama The Yellow Rose (1983), opposite Sam Elliott. Although critically acclaimed, the series lasted only one season.

A year later, Shepherd was cast as Maddie Hayes in ABC's Moonlighting (1985-1989), which became the role that would define her career. The producers knew that her role depended on having chemistry with her co-star, and she was involved in the selection of Bruce Willis. They quickly became one of the most celebrated television duos. A lighthearted combination of mystery and comedy, the series won Shepherd two Golden Globe awards.

She starred in Chances Are (1989) with Robert Downey Jr. and Ryan O'Neal, receiving excellent reviews. She then reprised her role as Jacy in Texasville (1990), the sequel to The Last Picture Show (1971), as the original cast (including director Peter Bogdanovich) reunited 20 years after filming the original. She also appeared in Woody Allen's Alice (1990), and Eugene Levy's Once Upon a Crime (1992), as well as several television movies.

In 1997, she won her third Golden Globe award, for CBS' Cybill (1995-1998), a television sitcom, in which the title character - Cybill Sheridan, an actress struggling with hammy parts in B movies and bad soap operas - was loosely modeled on herself (including portrayals of her two ex-husbands). As she had on Moonlighting, she was involved in casting another unknown co-star (Christine Baranski) who proved to be an asset to the show's popularity.

In 2000, Shepherd's bestselling autobiography was published, titled Cybill Disobedience: How I Survived Beauty Pageants, Elvis, Sex, Bruce Willis, Lies, Marriage, Motherhood, Hollywood, and the Irrepressible Urge to Say What I Think, written in collaboration with Aimee Lee Ball.

She has played Martha Stewart in two TV movies: Martha, Inc.: The Story of Martha Stewart (2003) and Martha: Behind Bars (2005).

From 2007, Shepherd has been appearing on the Showtime drama, The L Word as the character Phyllis Kroll. She helped get her real-life daughter Clementine Ford the role of her on screen daughter.[2] She is going to play Shawn's Mother on upcoming Episodes of Psych.

Political activism[edit | edit source]

Throughout her career, Shepherd has been an outspoken activist for issues such as gay rights and abortion rights. She was present at the opening of the National Civil Rights Museum in her hometown of Memphis, for which she lent some financial support.

Personal life[edit | edit source]

In her autobiography,[3] she revealed that in 1978, she called her mother, crying, unhappy with the way her life and career were going, to which her mother replied, "Cybill, come home." She went home to Memphis, where she met and began dating local auto-parts dealer and nightclub entertainer David M. Ford. She became pregnant and they married that year. Their daughter Clementine Ford was born in 1979, but the marriage ended in divorce in 1982.

In 1987, she became pregnant by chiropractor Bruce Oppenheim and married him, giving birth to twins Zack and Ariel Shepherd-Oppenheim during the fourth season of Moonlighting. They were divorced in 1990.

She was engaged to musician Robert Martin and lived with him from 1994-1998. In her autobiography,[3] she gave him the pseudoynm "Howard Roark" and claimed that he ended the relationship during the couples' therapy session.

In 2002 Shepherd was diagnosed and successfully treated for melanoma which presented itself on her back. Since this time Shepherd has become an advocate for skin cancer awareness and sun safety practices.

Sexuality[edit | edit source]

Although Shepherd has not admitted to bisexuality, she has revealed her sexual curiosity and desire in various interviews about having a physical relationship with a woman.

In 2006, in an interview about The L Word she said more than once that she was "turned on" by the woman-woman sex scenes :

"If you look at what we know about men, women and our sexuality, a great majority of people are bisexual. So what's wrong with that?".[4]

She also said in an interview :

"I have wondered about it (lesbianism)... At various times in my life I wanted to be open to the possibility of having a woman as a lover. I am not actively pursuing it, but it is not over yet." [5]

She has confessed to having a longtime crush on Salma Hayek and admits she has been smitten with Hayek's looks for years. She said,

"I've fantasized about her for years." [6]

Religious beliefs[edit | edit source]

Shepherd has described her beliefs regarding Religion thus:[7]

I guess you could describe me as a goddess-worshipping Christian Pagan Buddhist.

Autobiography[edit | edit source]

Shepherd made the following revelations in her autobiography:[3]

  • She dated Elvis Presley in the early 1970s and cared for him but could not handle his dependence on drugs and ultimately chose her boyfriend, film director Peter Bogdanovich, over Presley.
  • She agreed to a date with actor Jack Nicholson to make Bogdanovich jealous. Later, she cancelled the date and Nicholson would not speak to her again, except to say "hi" at a party many years later.
  • She did not like working with Charles Grodin on The Heartbreak Kid (1972), and that it took her several years to like him enough to have a one-night stand with him.
  • Robert De Niro asked her out during the filming of Taxi Driver (1976). She turned him down, and he did not speak to her, except in character, for the rest of the filming.
  • She had a sexual encounter with her co-star Don Johnson that lasted several intense minutes during the making of the television miniseries The Long Hot Summer (1985).
  • The jazz musician Stan Getz came on to her during a recording session for her album, but she declined and he did not speak to her.
  • She and her Moonlighting co-star Bruce Willis almost became lovers off-screen, but they agreed that it would hurt the series, so they chose not to consummate their relationship on a physical level.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Polly Platt talks about the magazine cover discovery in the film documentary based on the Peter Biskind book, Easy Riders, Raging Bulls.
  2. Cybill Shepherd - The L Word, Clementine Ford, Jennifer Beals - Celebrity and Entertainment News |
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Shepherd, Cybill (2001). Cybill Disobedience. Avon. ISBN 0-061-03014-7. 
  4. Coming attractions -
  5. Cybill Shepherd - Cybill Plays Out Lesbian Dreams On Tv Show
  6. Celebrity Snippets - Starpulse Entertainment News Blog
  7. 'Cybill Rights', March 22, 2007 interview by Randy Shulman for Metro Weekly

External links[edit | edit source]

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