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The Morgan Fairchild Thread

Discussion in 'Sundry Prime Time Soaps' started by ClassyCo, May 19, 2020.

  1. ClassyCo

    ClassyCo Soap Chat Addict EXP: 6 Years

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    So I decided today to change my profile picture to showcase actress Morgan Fairchild, who guest-starred on a succession of television shows from the 1970s to the 1990s. She routinely played glamorous roles, but often poked fun at her glamorous image in some more campy shows and movies.

    I always find it strange that Morgan Fairchild had no regular roles on a television series outside of Flamingo Road and Paper Dolls, both which suffered from indifferent reviews, poor ratings, and had premature cancellations. She also had a season-stint on Falcon Crest, but outside of these three shows, she was basically a guest star in the shows in which she appeared.

    She has not done anything terribly significant in the theatrical realm, as in theatrical motion pictures, either. I know she starred in The Seduction back in the early 1980s. Even though the film was not a critical or financial success, Academy Award-winning actress Bette Davis was apparently a fan of Fairchild's work in the film, and even sent her a letter congratulating her work. She's showed up in other movies, of course, but nothing that one could really write home about.

    Morgan Fairchild certainly had "The Look" to be a television star in the 1980s, but all the shows in which she was featured as a star had short runs. It just leaves me scratching my head every time I think about it. She was beautiful, and she definitely had the talent to have had a role on some of the more glitzy dramas, but it never came to pass.

    I guess I'm gearing the primary focus of this thread toward actress Morgan Fairchild, naturally, but also to how her career could have been better-utilized. Of course, since this is Soap Chat, I was wondering how any of you image how she could have fit into a show like Dynasty or The Colbys, or how her shows, such as Paper Dolls, could have survived the cancellation ax. Let's use our creativity here and rewrite Fairchild's career and use her to her greatest potential.

    So... what's on your brains?

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2020
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  2. Barbara Fan

    Barbara Fan Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I was lucky to meet Morgan Fairchild at Fan Source in 2008, i didnt expect to like her and thought she would be cold and aloof - but I was wrong and I did like her , she was smart, she was clever, astute, politically aware and she impressed me. She spoke at length about Dack Rambo and appeared very fond of him too
     
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  3. ClassyCo

    ClassyCo Soap Chat Addict EXP: 6 Years

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    I know she's made some appearances at the Hollywood Show, too. I would like to meet her myself.
     
  4. tommie

    tommie Soap Chat Mega Star EXP: 3 Years

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    I dunno
    I just think it comes down to her choosing unfortunate projects - Flamingo Road was on NBC that never seemed to be able to launch a prime time soap and FR was the closest they seemingly got to a successful one; they ended up moving it to Tuesdays in the second season where it just didn't do as well in favour of airing Monday Night movies. Paper Dolls was just way too cluttered with no real center, so it wasn't odd that viewers never took to it. Her foray into daytime with The City seemed doomed to fail and she quickly left that project before it was cancelled. Her stint on Falcon Crest was also supposedly cut short due to Simon MacCorkindale leaving and from the cliffhanger you could tell the writers probably were originally planning for both to be back.

    Honestly, I wish she had stayed on Dallas as Jenna. I certainly feel like she would've taken Jenna in a more interesting direction than Priscilla did - then again, would the male-dominated writers room have kept a stronger Morgan Fairchild Jenna around for five seasons? I sort of doubt it.
     
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  5. ClassyCo

    ClassyCo Soap Chat Addict EXP: 6 Years

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    I have often said that I would have preferred it had CBS, Lorimar, Leonard Katzman, or whoever would have done what needed to be done to get Morgan Fairchild back as Jenna Wade when the decision was made to make her a regular on Dallas in 1983. I don't have anything concrete to justify why she wasn't brought back, but I do have a few theories. For one, I don't think the producers were entirely open to bringing too strong of a female presence on the show, and Morgan would definitely have given Jenna an edge that the writers might have found too threatening to go up against the likes of Hagman's J.R. It was clear they didn't want Jenna to be the villain of the show, and Morgan doesn't seem to be anyone's first choice to play the heroine. Likewise, I've often felt that the producers felt that bringing in Priscilla Presley would generate a certain amount of publicity to give the show a shot in the arm ratings-wise. Stunt casting, to put it simply. But like I said, those are just two theories of mine, but I would certainly have liked to see what Morgan could have done with the character as the series moved on into the mid-to-late 1980s. Would she have survived on the show and stuck around until the end? Who knows?

    For the longest time, I often read that it was Morgan Fairchild that was going to be brought into a tenth season of Dynasty had ABC green-lit the series in 1989. The side-act concerning a mysterious woman in a limo was rumored to have been Fairchild, although some thought it was an attempt by the producers to bring Diahann Carroll back. There was a fan-made introduction to Dynasty made several years ago that included Fairchild as the newest star of the show's never-produced tenth year. I personally think I would have liked Morgan joining the rest of the Carrington/Colby clan, but I'm not too positive as to how she would have been brought in. I use to ponder the thought that she could have been linked to Sammy Jo (Heather Locklear) or Krystle (Linda Evans), especially considering the writing was softening Sammy Jo in those later seasons. She could have spiced up the acid tongue spats had she been brought on, especially if the rumors to Joan Collins quitting were true.

    As a side thought, she could have possibly given The Colbys (or Dynasty II: The Colbys, whichever title you guys prefer) an extra edge, and perhaps help the show climb up the viewership chart. Of course this theory is shaky, considering the shows she had previously headlined were not ratings winners. Even though Paper Dolls, another ABC show, failed to gain an audience, I still find it baffling that Morgan was not among the names mentioned to come into television's glitzy new melodrama. As it's been said time and time again, she embodies that over-the-top, glamorous soapy drama, but sadly never found her niche about the shows circling the networks back in her heyday. Had she been in California, I see her being a socialite that Miles Colby (Maxwell Caulfied) falls for, particularly after his relationship with Fallon (Emma Samms) hit the rocks. Of course, I haven't seen all of The Colbys, so I'm not too sure how my side story here would have worked in what all they already had going on.

    It's almost impossible to think of Morgan Fairchild on a show like Knots Landing. In theory, she would have stuck out like the sorest of thumbs in a serial centering around middle class families living in a scenic little subdivision by the beach. But had the story and character been developed right, she could have slid in and been a rival for Abby (Donna Mills), or she could have even been Paige's (Nicollete Sheridan) older half-sister from her mother Anne (Michelle Phillips). Like I said, the story would have to been done precise for it to all work out properly.

    But this is all what could have been.

    I've got to finish Flamingo Road and Paper Dolls so I can better weigh how she does we a series that was tentatively slated to be hers.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2020
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  6. Carrie Fairchild

    Carrie Fairchild Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    Here's a thread with bit of background as to why Morgan didn't return to Dallas.

    http://soapchat.net/threads/morgan-fairchild-vs-lorimar.2436/
     
  7. ClassyCo

    ClassyCo Soap Chat Addict EXP: 6 Years

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    I went through this thread, but I did not see anything terribly concrete concerning why Fairchild was not brought back on Dallas. I know it's understood that she turned the offer down when the character was initially brought back, and I may be overlooking something, but I do not remember this thread discussing, in detail, precisely why she was not brought back to the show.

    And again this might be my error. I might be overlooking it.
     
  8. ClassyCo

    ClassyCo Soap Chat Addict EXP: 6 Years

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    I've been casually working my way through Flamingo Road, but considering Paper Dolls had just thirteen episodes, I think I will go ahead and binge that show and place my thoughts here for you all.
     
  9. Michelle Stevens

    Michelle Stevens 'The Lovely Michelle' EXP: 11 Years

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    I always enjoyed her as Syndey Chase on The City in the mid-1990's.

    [​IMG]
     
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  10. ClassyCo

    ClassyCo Soap Chat Addict EXP: 6 Years

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    During some downtime here at work today, I decided to watch some clips of Melrose Place. I was particularly watching some clips revolving around Heather Locklear as Amanda Woodward, who is generally credited as bolstering that show's lackluster ratings.

    Here's a thought:
    I've been wondering how Melrose Place and the character of Amanda would have worked had Morgan been brought in instead of Heather. Considering Morgan is eleven years older than Heather, the producers may have thought she was too much older than the rest of the core cast to interact with them.

    What are your thoughts concerning this theory of mine?

    Would it have worked?
     
  11. Barbara Fan

    Barbara Fan Super Moderator Staff Member

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    From Fan Source in 2008 (oct) perfect make up, i was envious x

    [​IMG]
     
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  12. ClassyCo

    ClassyCo Soap Chat Addict EXP: 6 Years

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    I've never seen this before, but I'd like to.
     
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  13. Daniel Avery

    Daniel Avery Super Moderator EXP: 20 Years Staff Member

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    ABC had a struggling soap called Loving on its schedule. It had never ignited great fan following but it limped along for years. ABC decided to do an experiment when it cancelled Loving, where instead of just axing the show and introducing a while new slate of characters and a new setting, they would slowly morph Loving into another half-hour soap. A serial-killer storyline on Loving would thin out a lot of major characters. Many other residents of the town would just pack up and leave. Once they unmasked the killer, the remaining (surviving) characters decided to pack up and move to New York City to start over. Their journey to New York was the point where Loving ended and the new show began in the same time slot. ABC originally called the new show "LOV NYC" with a "heart" symbol in the middle, but since most keyboards couldn't handle the heart symbol (and the title was really stupid anyway), they renamed it The City. The show was going to center around the Loving characters (and a bunch of new ones added) living in an apartment building owned by Sydney Chase, who was this high-end rich lady with that whole "Morgan Fairchild" thing going on...played by Morgan herself. In fact, they billed her as the "star" of the show, something very few soaps ever did for individual actors. I guess ABC felt that having a big-name star headlining the new show would help, since it would need a 'hook'. MF signed for one year, and after that period she left the show to do other things. I can't recall if that was the plan all along or if she just lost interest. Whatever, ABC filled the void of her departure by bringing in super-popular daytime actress Jane Elliot to reprise her role of Tracy Quartermaine from General Hospital. She didn't have "official" star billing like MF had, but she was unofficially the only thing worth watching on that show by that point.

    I'm not sure whether you're aware of it or not, but Fairchild rose to fame thanks to a showcase role on Search for Tomorrow in the late 1970s. Jennifer Pace was alternately the villainess/seductress and the town nutcase during Fairchild's time on the show, and though it was slightly before my time, my mother used to mention 'Jennifer' whenever she saw Fairchild in anything else, since the role was so memorable. I recall as a child watching her character either fall through or jump through a plate-glass window and being horrified. One of her other "greatest hits" is on youtube:



    Register or to view Spoiler content!
     
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  14. Michelle Stevens

    Michelle Stevens 'The Lovely Michelle' EXP: 11 Years

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    If my memory is correct Morgan's character Sydney Chase died from falling down an elevator shaft or something to that effect. I don't know Morgan's reasons for leaving but they made it clear she was dead. I always enjoyed her work on all other programs I've seen her on.
     
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  15. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson SoapLand Battles Moderator EXP: 18 Years

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    Morgan talks about her kidnapping:


    Btw, I think she looks more natural beautiful in this video.
     
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  16. tommie

    tommie Soap Chat Mega Star EXP: 3 Years

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    I dunno
    I mean, I had issues with Heather Locklear's Amanda going after cardboard caricature Billy, so I can't imagine how I would've felt about a 20 year older Morgan persuing him (and the rest of the male cast!).

    That was towards the end when the show was cancelled though and they were wrapping up the storylines. I really enjoyed The City (Loving never aired here) and was disappointed to see it go. They did tease about Sydney potentially showing up again, but that obviously didn't happen. Plus, with soaps someone who dies off screen is never really dead are they (or even those who die on screen *glares at DAYS*)?
     
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  17. Carrie Fairchild

    Carrie Fairchild Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    I suppose the main thing I took from the responses to the thread was Snarky's contribution, where he saw Morgan on a talk show and she said she was offered the role of Jenna again (for a hefty salary) but turned it down as intuitively she knew returning to Dallas was the wrong thing to do. If this was the case, it's hard to know what her career plan was at that point. She'd done one feature film in 1982 (The Seduction) so was she holding out for more big screen roles? Around the time that Jenna was reintroduced in 1983, Morgan was mainly doing guest spots and TV movies. The following season, she was back in soapland on Paper Dolls and again the following year on Falcon Crest. Maybe she just liked the variety?

    I think she would've been that bit too much older than the rest of the cast for it to work. Despite the actor's ages, they were all supposed to be twentysomethings whereas Morgan was 40+. Kind of like when Heather returned in the Melrose Place continuation in 2009, she just felt a bit out of place. I could definitely have seen her in MP in another role. Something like the Mackenzie Hart role that Morgan Brittany played. Or at a stretch, the Hillary Michaels role that Linda Gray played (I know there's only 11 years between Morgan and Heather but this is the world of soap).
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2020
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  18. ClassyCo

    ClassyCo Soap Chat Addict EXP: 6 Years

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    I must have browsed over Snarky's post because I sure do not recollect reading that. I'm sure there were a few reasons that Morgan did not want to return to Dallas. I could see that they probably fought for her to some degree, but she might have felt the show was too male-dominated to come back to. She may have worried about Jenna being too weak a character, or she could very well have been holding out for her own TV series or maybe even a career on the big screen. Of course, in 1983, those dreams were not out of reach for her, but naturally we know now that those things never happened.

    It's interesting that you mention she possibly wanted variety in her body of work. I could easily see an actor, whether Fairchild or any other, choosing not to be tied to a specific role, but yet have a filmography that is diverse. Morgan was stereotyped in the glamorous troupe, but she did seem to be able to shift her persona from melodrama, to camp, to comedy. They all seemed to fit her image well.
    I figured Morgan would have been too old to play Amanda, considering the majority of the cast were touted as twenty-somethings. That makes sense. It was only a thought.

    On the other hand, I could also see her in another Melrose Place role (considering she owned that over-the-top melodramatic image), or perhaps in a leading role on Models Inc. Maybe if the spin-off had not centered on Amanda's mother it could have centered on her devious sister or cousin, played by Morgan Fairchild. It may not have worked too well that way (but hey, their idea did not work, either), so maybe with some tweaking Fairchild could have been edged as the star of Models Inc., and maybe she could have helped it survive longer.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2020
  19. Daniel Avery

    Daniel Avery Super Moderator EXP: 20 Years Staff Member

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    I recall an episode of Murphy Brown where she played a glamorous TV star who had taken the role of a TV journalist and wanted to follow Murphy around to observe and learn how to play that role better. It felt like they wrote the role specifically for MF, and of course the writer got to pack the show with in-jokes about the TV business and how women in Morgan and Candice's age range had to put up with a lot of BS. And who can forget Tommy Flanagan, the pathological Liar character on Saturday Night Live, constantly declaring to one and all that he was married to "Morrrrgan Fairchild...who I sleep with!"
     
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