Loni Anderson displays on turning into a intercourse image after ‘WKRP in Cincinnati’ fame: ‘I embrace it’

Loni Anderson reflects on becoming a sex symbol after ‘WKRP in Cincinnati’ fame: ‘I embrace it’

2021-05-16 14:30:19

EXCLUSIVE: When Loni Anderson took on a job that might ceaselessly change her life, she wanted a brand new look that might be to dye for.

The actress, probably the most recognizable blondes in TV historical past, is definitely a brunette. And identical to stars earlier than her, Anderson underwent a hair transformation for the position of Jennifer Marlowe in “WKRP in Cincinnati.” The sitcom, which chronicled the misadventures of a radio station in Ohio, aired from 1978 till 1982.

As titillating and clever Marlowe, Anderson cemented her standing as a beloved TV intercourse image, a title she continues to carry. And whereas she was tempted to return to the darkish aspect, she’s nonetheless a bubbly, buxom blonde.

The 75-year-old spoke to Fox Information about altering her tresses, her favourite reminiscence from “WKRP,” in addition to how she actually feels about her intercourse image standing right this moment.

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A quick glimpse of Loni Anderson as a brunette for ‘The Love Boat,’ circa 1980.
(Photograph by Walt Disney Tv by way of Getty Pictures Photograph Archives)

Fox Information: Some individuals could also be stunned to study that you simply’re truly a brunette.

Loni Anderson: I do know, it’s so fascinating. I used to be a brunette actress in ’75. So should you see outdated reruns, you’ll be able to see the transformation of my hair. I used to be each colour within the rainbow. I even tried to be a redhead. However the blonde factor occurred as a result of the cameraman saved telling me my hair was too darkish. It absorbed the sunshine and it was like an ink blob. And so, I began experimenting with completely different colours from the pharmacy. And the lighter my hair bought, the extra work I bought. Bizarre, proper? *laughs*.

When the “WKRP” pilot got here alongside, I wasn’t fairly blonde. Hugh Wilson, who created the present, stated, “Let’s make her appear to be Lana Turner and be the neatest particular person within the room.” I’ve to let you know that in ’78 that was extraordinary. Ladies now would say, “We could be glamorous and good.” However not in ’78. These issues simply didn’t go collectively again then. Particularly as a blonde. I then went to an expert hairstylist and stated, “Make me a blonde.” And that’s how my blondeness started. I all the time thought, “I’ll return to my darkish hair.” But it surely simply didn’t occur. I used to be who I used to be and I used to be a blonde.  

I bear in mind I went to Grant Tinker, the top of NBC after we did “WKRP” and stated, “I actually need to do that film. Might I do it with black hair?” And he stated, “No – I didn’t rent Loni Anderson to have black hair.” *Laughs*. I noticed I had created this picture. However I feel younger actresses right this moment could be chameleons. They will get away with altering their look and trip. However there was a time while you had a picture and that was it.

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Loni Anderson's life forever changed when she became a blonde.

Loni Anderson’s life ceaselessly modified when she turned a blonde.
(Photograph by CBS by way of Getty Pictures)(Photograph by CBS by way of Getty Pictures)

Fox Information: How necessary was it so that you can break the blonde stereotype and present which you can be glamorous, but additionally witty and clever?

Anderson: Oh, it was so necessary to me. I had been a revered brunette actress. And I simply couldn’t imagine the distinction after I turned a blonde. I bear in mind as an experiment I wore a blonde wig on a Monday evening for a theater bar the place everybody went. No person handled me the identical. I had a number of drinks lined up in entrance of me from individuals who had been sending me drinks, however no one paid any consideration to what I needed to say. I simply wasn’t within the dialog. I used to be handled extra like an object. So on the time, I made a decision possibly I shouldn’t go blonde as a result of blondes weren’t revered.  

So after I went in to learn “WKRP” I used to be on my little soapbox. I stated, “I don’t need to do that. I feel this half is window dressing. I’m simply not .” I believed they’re by no means going to rent me for the rest as a result of I’m so snotty. I felt it was necessary for the character to not simply be a blonde. It was actually Hugh Wilson and Grant who had been within the room that stated, “You understand what? We prefer it. Let’s do it.” I felt so instrumental that they listened to the idea of this glamorous one who may be the neatest particular person. And you already know what? It was fantastic. I had an enormous feminine following due to that. And that has all the time been considered one of my most treasured reminiscences, realizing that it did impact ladies.

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Pictured left to right: Richard Sanders (as news director Les Nessman), Frank Bonner (as advertising salesman Herb Tarlek), Loni Anderson (as receptionist Jennifer Marlowe), Gordon Jump (as general manager Arthur 'Big Guy' Carlson), Howard Hesseman (as morning disk jockey Dr. Johnny Fever), Gary Sandy (as radio program director Andy Travis), Jan Smithers (as assistant and traffic coordinator Bailey Quarters) and Tim Reid (as nighttime disc jockey Venus Flytrap) star on WKRP in Cincinnati, a CBS television situation comedy about characters at a radio station. Originally broadcast September 18, 1978. 

Pictured left to proper: Richard Sanders (as information director Les Nessman), Frank Bonner (as promoting salesman Herb Tarlek), Loni Anderson (as receptionist Jennifer Marlowe), Gordon Leap (as common supervisor Arthur ‘Large Man’ Carlson), Howard Hesseman (as morning disk jockey Dr. Johnny Fever), Gary Sandy (as radio program director Andy Travis), Jan Smithers (as assistant and site visitors coordinator Bailey Quarters) and Tim Reid (as nighttime disc jockey Venus Flytrap) star on WKRP in Cincinnati, a CBS tv scenario comedy about characters at a radio station. Initially broadcast September 18, 1978. 
(Photograph by CBS by way of Getty Pictures)

Fox Information: What’s your favourite reminiscence out of your time filming “WKRP”?

Anderson: Gosh, I’ve so many. However there’s one spectacular scene I did with Frank Bonner, who performed the salesperson who was all the time after me. Jan Smithers, who performed Bailey Quarters, instructed me to simply accept a date with him and possibly I might scare him away and he would depart me alone. Nevertheless, it didn’t scare him. Now we have a scene alone in my residence, which was so superbly written. Frank is de facto poignant in it. It was such a beautiful scene to play as a result of he’s so proficient and gifted. We bought fan letters, the 2 of us, from Steve Allen and Jack Lemmon about that scene. So I feel that’s my favourite reminiscence.

Fox Information: Your character drew a number of feminine followers, however so many males beloved you too. How did you’re feeling about being a intercourse image?

Anderson: Oh sure, I bear in mind all of us did posters again then. All people all the time asks me, “What made you do a poster?” I might say, “As a result of sometime my grandchildren will take a look at this. And I’ll be capable to inform them that I actually seemed like that. What you noticed is what you bought *laughs*.”

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American actress Loni Anderson holds a poster of herself in a bikini, Los Angeles, circa 1979.

American actress Loni Anderson holds a poster of herself in a bikini, Los Angeles, circa 1979.
(Photograph by Michael Brennan/Getty Pictures)

However you already know, I had this dialogue with Ann-Margret. Will there ever be a time when our names received’t be adopted by “bombshell” or “intercourse image?” It turns into part of your identify. And you already know, I’d by no means thought I might attain that time. I used to be so severe. I used to be doing “Fiddler on the Roof” for 53 weeks on tour. I by no means thought I might be Loni Anderson, intercourse image. However I embrace it. I feel I used to be fortunate sufficient to have been in a position to play so many various issues and intercourse image was part of it. I took no matter my profession threw at me. So I embrace it. And my granddaughters suppose it’s a hoot!

Fox Information: What has saved you going as a performer?

Anderson: I’m all the time seeking to have time. And I like appearing. Actors by no means retire as a result of we like it a lot. It turns into your life, your pleasure. Comedy is my favourite. I’m all the time seeking to do one thing completely different and comedy attracts me essentially the most. I need to do one thing that challenges me.  

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Loni Anderson and her son Quinton Anderson Reynolds arrive at the debut of the Southern California location of Michael Feinstein's new supper club Feinstein's at Vitello's on June 13, 2019, in Studio City, California. 

Loni Anderson and her son Quinton Anderson Reynolds arrive on the debut of the Southern California location of Michael Feinstein’s new supper membership Feinstein’s at Vitello’s on June 13, 2019, in Studio Metropolis, California. 
(Photograph by Amanda Edwards/Getty Pictures)

Fox Information: What’s the most important piece of recommendation you’ll give to your youthful self?

Anderson: I might inform her, “Don’t hold wanting ahead to what’s coming, benefit from the climb.” There’s nothing extra fantastic than the climb, you already know? The wanting ahead to every day and creating one thing new, getting that job, occurring an audition, placing your self on the market – that is all nice. However you’ll be able to’t overlook to benefit from the climb. I suppose that’s one of the best factor you can do in relation to your life. Don’t overlook to benefit from the day whilst you’re wanting ahead to what’s going to occur subsequent week.

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