Morgan Fairchild (born Patsy Ann McClenny February 3, 1950) appeared as Marla, a girlfriend of Nancy Bartlett, Roseanne and Jackie's friend and business partner with the Lanford Lunchbox restaurant on Roseanne. Morgan is a television actress who achieved prominence during the late 1970s and early 1980s with continuing roles in several television series, in which she usually conveyed a glamorous image. Fairchild has also performed in live theater and played guest roles in television comedies. She is a board member of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA).
Born Patsy Ann McClenny in Dallas, Texas, the daughter of Martha Jane (née Hartt), a high school English teacher who taught at Richardson High School (in Richardson, Texas), and Edward Milton McClenny. Fairchild has a younger sister, Cathryn Hartt, who is also an actress. As a younger child, she was seen on WFAA-TV's Mr. Peppermint Show with host Jerry Haynes. In her teens she was in the audience on WFAA-TV's Sump'n Else bandstand show. She auditioned three times to be in The Little Group, which was WFAA-TV's Sump'n Else show's dance group. While she was in her teens she was seen in several locally broadcast commercials scarlet fevef, which left her partially deaf.
Fairchild's first acting job was as a body double for Faye Dunaway during location filming for the film Bonnie and Clyde (1967). She took her new first name, Morgan, from the 1966 David Warner film Morgan: A Suitable Case for Treatment. Fairchild then moved to New York City, where she secured her first credited on-screen role as the maniacal Jennifer Pace in the daytime soap opera Search for Tomorrow from 1973 until 1977. From the mid-1970s, she began to make various appearances on episodic primetime television series such as Kojak, Happy Days, Police Woman, a few episodes of CBS Radio Mystery Theatre.
Fairchild played the role Jenna Wade in the soap opera Dallas for one episode in 1978. The character was later brought back, played briefly by Francine Tacker in 1980, before the role was assumed on a recurring basis by Priscilla Presley from 1983-88. In 1978, Fairchild made the television film The Initiation of Sarah and also had a recurring role on the ABC-TV sitcom Mork & Mindy. In 1980, she scored her first regular primetime role as Constance Weldon Carlyle on the soap opera Flamingo Road. Though the series had an impressive beginning, the ratings soon dropped and it was cancelled after two seasons. Fairchild was nominated for a Golden Globe award for her role.
After the cancellation of Flamingo Road, Fairchild continued to make guest appearances in a variety of episodic television series such as Hotel, Simon & Simon, Magnum, P.I. and The Love Boat. She also starred in the 1982 theatrical film The Seduction. In 1984, along with Joan Collins (who would also guest star on the series as Ronnie, Roseanne's rich cousin), she co-hosted the ABC-TV special Blondes vs. Brunettes, a one hour variety show that gentley poked fun at popular culture's blonde vs. brunette rivalry. In that same year she also co-starred in another primetime soap opera Paper Dolls playing modelling agency owner Racine. The series was cancelled halfway through its first season, but by this time, Fairchild was established as a television actress and in 1985 she joined the hit series Falcon Crest, playing the glamorous lawyer Jordan Roberts for a season. She also appeared in the miniseries North and South in 1985, and its sequel in 1986. 1985 was the year in which Jon Lovitz on Saturday Night Live created the "Tommy Flanagan, The Pathological Liar" character who claimed outlandish achievements for himself, culminating in the grand illusion that his wife was Morgan Fairchild. The obvious remoteness of such a possibility, and its mainstream comic appeal, was testimonial to the broad popularity and desirability of Fairchild at the time.
Fairchild continued to make appearances in films and television series throughout the 1980s, and garnered an Emmy Award nomination for her guest appearance in a 1989 episode of Murphy Brown.
In 1994, Fairchild appeared in an unexpectedly campy ad campaign for clothing retailer Old Navy, with Joan Collins and other formerly familiar faces on television. Her reprised role as the over-the-top glamour vixen was so successful that the company created numerous sequels around her persona.
In 1995, Fairchild returned to daytime soap operas as the catty Sydney Chase on TBS's The City. She played the role for a year, after which she went on to appear in General Hospital. She also made guest appearances on the hit sitcom Friends (as Chandler Bing's mother, Nora) and was a recurring guest star on the CBS sitcom Cybill as Andrea, a rival of Cybill Shepherd's character.
- Morgan Fairchild Biography at filmreference.com
- Family Tree of Morgan Fairchild
- Morgan Fairchild Biography - Facts, Birthday, Life Story, Biography.com, accessdate=2013-10-09.
- Morgan Fairchild Biography, TVGuide.com, 2012-11-28, accessed 2013-10-29.
- Terrace, Vincent. Encyclopedia of Television: Series, Pilots and Specials 1974-1984. New York: BASELine Publications, page 50