Morgan Fairchild, who was actually born Patsy Ann McClenny, has been in the entertainment business since 1967, when she doubled for Faye Dunaway in Bonnie and Clyde. She continued to build her career in the '70s, with a role in the soap opera Search for Tomorrow and guest appearances on series like Kojak, Happy Days, and Police Woman. But it was in the '80s when Fairchild truly established herself as a glamorous pop culture icon, first by starring as Constance Weldon Carlyle in the primetime soap, Flamingo Road. Also in that decade, she appeared in the hit miniseries North and South and played Jordan Roberts on Falcon Crest, among many other credits.
Fairchild's bombshell looks and deftness with both comedic and dramatic material have contributed to the long, illustrious career she's still enjoying. Read on to learn what she's been up to since becoming one of the most recognizable stars of the '80s.
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She's continued acting on the big screen, the small screen, and the stage.
Fairchild has remained busy in her almost six-decade acting career. Some of her many, many movie roles include The Seduction, Pee-wee's Big Adventure, Naked Gun 33+1/3: The Final Insult, A Perfect Ending, and many television movies, including playing Mrs. Kringle in 2019's A Date Before Christmas Eve. The star is so famous that she often makes cameos as herself, as she did in Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2, and Bikini Model Academy.
On TV, Fairchild successfully made the leap from soap opera scandals to sitcom silliness, earning an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for her 1990 appearance on Murphy Brown. She also popped up in Lois&Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, Empty Nest, Cybill, Dharma&Greg, That '70s Show, My Name is Earl, Chuck, Bones, and Hot in Cleveland, just to name a few. Of course, Friends fans know her best as Chandler's romance novelist mother, Nora Tyler Bing—she played the recurring role across five episodes.
She's also performed on stage many times over the years. Earlier in 2022, Fairchild starred in a production of Don't Dress for Dinner at the New Theatre&Restaurant in Kansas City, Kansas.
She's an activist.
In addition to her onscreen presence, Fairchild is known for her activism and political awareness. She highlights this on her personal website, where you can see photos of her taking part in marches for protecting reproductive rights, taking environmental trips with U.S. politicians, and lobbying for more funding to AIDS research. She's used her celebrity to make headway on issues she's concerned about and made many TV appearances to raise awareness.
Fairchild is also a board member of the actors guild SAG-AFTRA and has served on various committees in the organization.
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She's been happily unmarried to her partner for 42 years.
Fairchild doesn't have any children, and she's only been married once—to late musician and inventor Jack Calmes from 1967 to 1973. But, since 1980, she's been in a relationship with businessman Mark Seiler. When she was asked by Closer Weekly in 2020 whether the couple would ever make it official by getting married, she answered, "Well, I don't know. But you know, it's definitely long-term commitment and we've been together for a long time … so we may just leave it the way it is right now. We're both getting older."
She doesn't think her looks have always been an asset.
In a 1996 interview with Texas Monthly, Fairchild reflected on the fact that she's been typecast over the years as wealthy mean girls. "[F]or whatever reason, everyone cheerfully told me that I looked like a [expletive]," she said. "And all this time I thought I looked like a cheerleader." She added that she doesn't think of her characters as villains, but instead as "complicated" individuals.
In a 2014 interview with OWN's Where Are They Now?, the actor claimed that, while many believe that she's been successful because of her looks, her appearance has actually hindered her career in some ways. "All lot of doors got closed to me [because of] the way I look," she said. "And so, it's very much in our business judged on what you look like as well as other things as to what category, what part you're going to be up for."
In the same interview, Fairchild attributed her "longevity in this business" to her willingness to move on to new phases of her career without being precious about her age or image. "When they offered me Friends, a lot of my girlfriends were saying, 'Oh, you shouldn't do that, you're too young to play that kid's mother,' but I made that jump," she explained. "You know, you have to be willing to say, hey, I'm getting older, and I'm going to make this jump."