Aug. 5th, 1945
St. Paul, Minnesota, USA
Loni Anderson's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
A buxom, bedimpled, pert-nosed knockout, Loni Anderson took an assured place on one of the TV sex symbol pedestals during the late 70s and early 80s. A breakout hit in her Emmy-nominated role as "Jennifer Marlowe" on the TV sitcom "WKRP in Cincinnati" (1978), she later became a soap-styled fixture in mini-movies. All eyes were peeled on this worthy pin-up who helped to bring back the glossy platinum-blonde allure of Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield and Mamie Van Doren. A stylish, highly appealing actress whose hourglass figure and piled-on, bleached-blonde mane belied an enviable IQ, Loni strove for much more as she tried to parlay her newly found fame into a viable dramatic career. She met with a measured degree of success as she recreated the lives of such artificial sex sirens as Mansfield and Thelma Todd on TV, but got bogged down in TV-movie retellings of famous movie classics (Three Coins in the Fountain (1954), Sorry, Wrong Number (1948), Leave Her to Heaven (1945)) that couldn't help but pale in comparison. This attempt at seriousness was further hampered by messy tabloid headlines in her private life.
Loni Kaye Anderson was born with very dark (jet black) hair in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1946. An art student at the University of Minnesota, she entered (and won) beauty contests on the sly (including a "Miss Minnesota" runner-up placing in 1964). Married and divorced before she reached the age of 21, Loni took on a teaching position to support herself and baby daughter (Deidre) while completing college. Developing an interest in acting, she went the route many aspiring thespians do -- apprenticing in local commercials and theater shows. Still dark-haired, she played in several early 70s productions such as "Born Yesterday" (as Billie Dawn), "Send Me No Flowers", "Can-Can" and "The Star-Spangled Girl". She even played "Tzeitel" in "Fiddler on the Roof" and appeared in a production of "The Threepenny Opera".
Re-married in 1973 (to another actor, Ross Bickell), the couple decided to move away from Minnesota to Los Angeles in 1975 and actively pursue film and TV work. Pounding the proverbial pavement, she eventually went blonde and this, plus her gorgeous looks, helped her to secure minor but sexy roles on such shows as "S.W.A.T." (1975), "Police Woman" (1974), "Barnaby Jones" (1973), "Three's Company" (1977) and "The Bob Newhart Show" (1972). By the time she nabbed the "Jennifer" role on "WKRP" (and, with it, two Emmy nominations), she had grown quite admirably as an actress.
She and Howard Hesseman became the breakway stars of the TV sitcom and Loni skyrocketed to sexy status. On the other hand, her instant fame led to the breakup of her second marriage in 1981. Loni found hit-and-miss success outside the parameters of her comedy series. She was front-and-center in a number of TV-movies, notably playing tragic Hollywood sex sirens Jayne Mansfield in The Jayne Mansfield Story (1980) (TV), opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger as her muscle-bound husband Mickey Hargitay, and Thelma Todd, in White Hot: The Mysterious Murder of Thelma Todd (1991) (TV), whose untimely death in 1935 is still questioned. Loni also appeared lusciously alongside Bob Hope (I), brightening up several of his classic TV specials. On the minus side, she fizzled in her teaming up with equally sexy "Wonder Woman" (1976) star Lynda Carter in the tepid, short-lived series "Partners in Crime" (1984) and then played a former Las Vegas showgirl who inherits a bundle in the sitcom misfire "Easy Street" (1986). She also was given a chance to work in feature films such as Stroker Ace (1983). While her performance in that film was panned, it did have her meeting and co-starring opposite megastar Burt Reynolds (I).
Appearing in routine, mini-movie soap operas (via her own production company), if anything, kept Loni in the public eye as a serious-minded actress, but it was an uphill battle to rise above her manufactured image as a fantasy bombshell. Not helping things was her high-profile marriage to Reynolds in 1988, which began blissfully enough (and produced adopted son Quinton), then dissolved quickly into a nasty divorce that damaged the reputations of both stars.
In recent years, Loni has shown incredible perseverance. As always, the stalwart beauty continues to play up the glam but has since downplayed the dramatics. She seems more focused these days on having innocuous fun, playing a number of hearty vixens in sitcoms and series guest spots. Over time, she has enjoyed such lightweight sitcoms as "Nurses" (1991), "The Mullets" (2003) and as Tori Spelling's materialistic mom in "So noTORIous" (2006), which did not get the seal of approval from Tori's real-life mom.
- Auditioned for _"Three's Company" (1977)_ (qv).
- Is of Swedish descent.
- Loni says that when she was a teenager, her mother was very struck by an attractive actor on TV and told Loni that was the kind of guy she ought to marry. The star's name was 'Burt Reynolds (I)' (qv).
- Is a natural-born brunette.
- Engaged to her former flame, 'Bob Flick (II)' (qv). They first met when she was 17 years old and a model. They dated for six months. Planning to marry later in 2008 [January 16, 2008].
- Measurements before second reduction operation: 38E-25-36. After 1995 reduction surgery: 38C-25-36. (Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine) At time of 1995 surgery reported to be a 34DD. (Source: National Enquirer).
- As a high school senior, was voted Valentine Queen of her school's winter formal.
- Loni possesses a massive collection of Snow White miniatures and other Disney memorabilia, animation art, dolls, music boxes, plates and dachshund figures (which she inherited from her mother) that occupies a sizable room in her home.