Cybill Shepherd

Cybill Shepherd
Cybill Shepherd

Shepherd at 42nd KVIFF, April 2007
Born Cybill Lynne Shepherd
February 18, 1950 (1950-02-18) (age 61)
Memphis, Tennessee, United States
Occupation Actress, singer
Years active 1970–present
Spouse David Ford (m. 1978–1982) «start: (1978)–end+1: (1983)»"Marriage: David Ford to Cybill Shepherd" Location: (linkback://
Bruce Oppenheim (m. 1987–1990) «start: (1987)–end+1: (1991)»"Marriage: Bruce Oppenheim to Cybill Shepherd" Location: (linkback://
Partner Peter Bogdanovich (1971-1978)
Robert Martin (1994-1998)

Cybill Lynne Shepherd (born February 18, 1950) is an American actress, singer and former model. Her best known roles include starring as Jacy in The Last Picture Show, as Betsy in Taxi Driver, as Madeleine Spencer in Psych, as Maddie Hayes on Moonlighting, as Cybill Sheridan on Cybill, and as Phyllis Kroll on The L Word.


Early life

Shepherd was born in Memphis, Tennessee, the daughter of Patty (née Shobe), a homemaker, and William Jennings Shepherd, who managed a home appliance business.[1] Named after her grandfather Cy and her father Bill, Shepherd won the 1966 "Miss Teenage Memphis" contest at age 16, and the 1968 "Model of the Year" contest at age 18, making her a fashion star of the 1960s, resulting in fashion modeling work through high school and after.[2]


According to Shepherd's autobiography, it was a 1970 Glamour magazine cover that caught the eye of film director Peter Bogdanovich. His then-wife Polly Platt, claimed that it was she who upon seeing the cover in a check-out line in a Ralphs grocery store in southern California, said "That's Jacy,"[3] referring to the role Bogdanovich was casting — and ultimately offered to Shepherd — in The Last Picture Show (1971).

First experience of fame

Shepherd was cast opposite Charles Grodin in The Heartbreak Kid (1972). She played Kelly, the beautiful, sunkissed 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.[4]

Also in 1972, Shepherd posed as a Kodak Girl for the camera manufacturer's then ubiquitous cardboard displays.[5]

In 1974, Shepherd again teamed with Peter Bogdanovich for the title role in Daisy Miller, based on the Henry James novella. The film — a period piece set in Europe — proved to be a box office failure. Her next film, At Long Last Love (1975), a musical again directed by Bogdanovich, also flopped.

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 Robert De Niro's character, Travis Bickle, becomes enthralled.

After a series of less successful roles, including The Lady Vanishes, the remake of Alfred Hitchcock's 1938 film of the same name, she dropped out of show business from 1978 to 1982.[6]

Return to Hollywood

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. A lighthearted combination of mystery and comedy, the series won Shepherd two Golden Globe awards.[7]

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 films.

In 1997, she won her third Golden Globe award[7] 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 soaps—was loosely modeled on herself (including portrayals of her two ex-husbands).

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.[8]

In 2003, she guest-starred on 8 Simple Rules as Cate Hennessy's (portrayed by Katey Sagal) sister.

She has played Martha Stewart in two television films: 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. In 2008, she joined the cast of the USA Network television series Psych as Shawn Spencer's mother, Madeleine Spencer.

On November 7, 2008, TV Guide reported that Shepherd will guest-star in a February episode of the CBS drama Criminal Minds.[9]

In the fall of 2010, Shepherd appeared in an episode of ABC's new show, No Ordinary Family.[10]

In November 2010, Shepherd guest-starred in an episode of CBS' $h*! My Dad Says.[11]

Political activism

Throughout her career, Shepherd has been an outspoken activist for issues such as gay rights[12] and abortion rights.[13][14] In 2009, Shepherd was honored by the Human Rights Campaign in Atlanta to accept one of two National Ally for Equality awards.[15] She has been an advocate for same-sex marriage[16] and parental rights.[citation needed]

She was present at the opening of the National Civil Rights Museum in her hometown of Memphis, for which she lent some financial support.[17]

Personal life

In her autobiography[18] 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 Cyrus Zachariah and Molly Ariel Shepherd-Oppenheim[1] during the fourth season of Moonlighting. They were divorced in 1990. By 1996, she was engaged with Bobby Martin, a multi-instrumentalist who played with Frank Zappa.


Shepherd 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?"[19]

She also said in an interview: "I have wondered about 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."[20]

She has confessed to having a longtime crush on Salma Hayek and admits to having fantasized about her.[21]

Religious beliefs

Shepherd has described her religious beliefs as "a goddess-worshipping Christian Pagan Buddhist".[22]


Shepherd made the following claims in her autobiography:[18]

  • 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. She later canceled 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 co-star Don Johnson 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 costar 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.

Award nominations

Emmy Awards


In her autobiography,[18] Shepherd addressed rumors that she was jealous of her co-stars Bruce Willis and Christine Baranski for winning Emmy awards while she has not: "The grain of truth is this: Who doesn't want to win an Emmy?"

Golden Globe Awards


  • 1985 - Best Actress in a TV series, Comedy/Musical - Moonlighting
  • 1986 - Best Actress in a TV series, Comedy/Musical - Moonlighting
  • 1995 - Best Actress in a TV series, Comedy/Musical - Cybill



Television credits


  1. ^ a b Cybill Shepherd Biography (1950-)
  2. ^ UPI (1973-08-20). "Cybill Shepherd relaxes with her success". Sarasota Herald-Tribune.,2209579&dq=cybill+shepherd+successful-model&hl=en. Retrieved 2011-04-05. 
  3. ^ Polly Platt talks about the magazine cover discovery in the film documentary based on the Peter Biskind book, Easy Riders, Raging Bulls.
  4. ^ "The Heartbreak Kid (1972) — Rotten Tomatoes". Retrieved 2011-04-05. 
  5. ^ Nancy Martha West. Kodak and the Lens of Nostaglia London: University Press of Virginia, 2000, p. 53. ISBN 0813919592. Retrieved 2011-04-05. 
  6. ^ Bykowsky, Stuart (1985-01-09). "Cybill Shepherd: 'There is a freakdom to beauty'". Evening Independent. Retrieved 2011-04-05. 
  7. ^ a b "Cybill Shepherd - Awards". Retrieved 2011-04-05. 
  8. ^ "Best Sellers: Hardcover Nonfiction". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-04-05. 
  9. ^ Exclusive: Michael Biehn, Cybill Shepherd Cop Criminal Roles" TV Guide. November 7, 2008. Retrieved on November 7, 2008.
  10. ^ "No Ordinary Family Books Cybill Shepherd... and Bruce!". Retrieved September 1 , 2010. 
  11. ^ "Exclusive $#*!: Cybill Shepherd Guest-Starring on CBS Comedy". Retrieved November 3, 2010. 
  12. ^ "New video counters anti-gay message". Pittsburgh Post Gazette. 1993-04-21. Retrieved 2011-05-23. 
  13. ^ BBC (2004-04-26). "In Pictures : US Abortion March - Actresses Cybill Shepherd, Whoopi Goldberg and Ashley Judd were among those marching". BBC. Retrieved 2011-05-23. 
  14. ^ Cox News Service (1989-04-11). "Nationwide pro-choice rally planned". Eugene Register-Guard. Retrieved 2011-05-23. 
  15. ^ Cybill Shepherd at Atlanta HRC Dinner - Southern Voice
  16. ^ "Cybill Shepherd works with her daughter on 'The L Word'. Both play lesbians, and ignore each other's love scenes". 2008-04-01. Retrieved 2011-05-23. 
  17. ^ "Overview for Cybill Shepherd". TCM. Retrieved 2011-05-23. 
  18. ^ a b c Shepherd, Cybill (2001). Cybill Disobedience. Avon. ISBN 0-061-03014-7. 
  19. ^ 'The L Word' is a turn-on for Cybill.
  20. ^ Cybill Plays Out Lesbian Dreams On TV Show
  21. ^ Celebrity Snippets - Starpulse Entertainment News Blog
  22. ^ 'Cybill Rights', March 22, 2007, interview by Randy Shulman for Metro Weekly

External links

For the official website, see the Infobox.

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