Morgan Fairchild has been a working professional actress since 1973, when she appeared in four shows at what is now the Alhambra Theatre & Dining, then moved to New York and landed a role on the CBS soap opera “Search for Tomorrow.”
She’s stayed busy ever since, appearing in 150 movies and TV shows. So you might expect that her Twitter account, which has more than 50,000 followers, would be full of news about show business. It isn’t.
“I don’t care about red carpet stuff,” said the actress, who is in town to star in the comedy “The Dixie Swim Club” at the Alhambra.
Instead she tweets about issues she cares about: climate change, politics, foreign policy, terrorism.
“Actress Morgan Fairchild knows more about terrorism than 99.9 percent [of] Americans—and most members of Congress,” David Corn, the Washington bureau chief of Mother Jones magazine, wrote for The Nation in 2007.
She traces her political activism to a childhood fascination with science.
“I’m a science nerd,” she said.
Growing up, she dreamed of becoming a doctor or a paleontologist. But marriage at 17, followed by divorce six years later, sent her down a different path.
Still, while she was starring in the short-lived but initially quite successful prime time soap “Flamingo Road,” which aired on NBC from 1980 to 1982, she was studying anthropology at UCLA in her free time.
When news broke in 1985 that actor Rock Hudson was dying of AIDS, Fairchild, who had been studying epidemiology as a hobby, became a go-to source of information — she appeared twice on ABC’s “Nightline” to talk about it and sometimes substituted for her friend, surgeon general C. Everett Koop, at AIDS events. She also became an outspoken activist on behalf of those dealing with the disease.
This caused her agent and many of her friends much consternation.
“I know I lost work,” she said. “And I lost friends because I would visit hospices. People stopped inviting me to dinner because they thought I’d touch their plates and spread the virus.”
Still her career rolled on. She was a regular on the dramas “Paper Dolls,” “Falcon Crest” and “Fashion House.” She appeared in the mini-series “North and South” and “North and South: Book II.
She appeared in such movies as “The Seduction,” “Pee Wee’s Big Adventure,” “Red Headed Stranger,” “Gospa,” “Holy Man” and “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.”
She created the role of Jenna Wade on “Dallas,” and guest starred on such dramas as “Barnaby Jones,” “Police Woman,” “Murder She Wrote,” “Love Boat,” “Simon & Simon,” “Magnum P.I.,” “Hotel,” “Touched by an Angel,” “7th Heaven,” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and “Bones.”
She had recurring roles in the comedies “Mork and Mindy,” “Roseanne,” “Cybill” and “Friends” and was nominated for an Emmy for her guest performance on “Murphy Brown.” She said her own friends cautioned her against taking the role of Chandler Bing’s mother since she was in her mid-40s at the time.
But her theory is that “every five years you have introduce yourself to a new audience.”
She’s done plenty of theater over the years, starting at 10 in Dallas. Her work in commercials brought her the opportunity in 1966, when was 16, to work as Faye Dunaway’s double during the filming of “Bonnie and Clyde.” In 2005 she starred as Mrs. Robinson in a national tour of the play “The Graduate.” And earlier this summer, she played the same role as she is playing at the Alhambra in “The Dixie Swim Club” in Kansas City.
She enjoys theater, she said, “because the feedback from the audience is more immediate.”
Charlie Patton: firstname.lastname@example.org