Cybill Shepherd: American actress and singer (born: 1950) | Biography
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Cybill Shepherd
American actress and singer

Cybill Shepherd

Cybill Shepherd
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American actress and singer
Is Actor Model Beauty pageant contestant Autobiographer Stage actor Television actor Film actor Singer Television producer
From United States of America
Field Fashion Film, TV, Stage & Radio Literature Music
Gender female
Birth 18 February 1950, Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee, USA
Age 73 years
Star sign Aquarius
Children: Clementine Ford
Height: 1.7272 m
University of Southern California
Stella Adler Studio of Acting
East High School
star on Hollywood Walk of Fame  
Cybill Shepherd
The details (from wikipedia)


Cybill Lynne Shepherd (born February 18, 1950) is an American actress and former model. Her first film and breakthrough role was as Jacy in Peter Bogdanovich's coming-of-age drama The Last Picture Show (1971) alongside Jeff Bridges and Timothy Bottoms. She also had roles as Kelly in Elaine May's The Heartbreak Kid (1972), Betsy in Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver (1976), and Nancy in Woody Allen's Alice (1990).

On television, Shepherd played Maddie Hayes on the detective comedy-drama Moonlighting (1985–1989) opposite Bruce Willis, for which she won two Golden Globes for Best Actress in a Comedy/Musical TV Series out of three such nominations. She later starred as Cybill Sheridan on Cybill (1995–1998), for which she won her third Golden Globe Award as Best Actress in a Comedy/Musical TV series. Her first major TV role was as Colleen Champion in the one season of the night-time drama The Yellow Rose (1983). Her later television roles included Phyllis Kroll on The L Word (2007–2009), Madeleine Spencer on Psych (2008–2013), Cassie in the television film The Client List (2010), and Linette Montgomery on The Client List (2012–2013).

Early life and career

Shepherd was born February 18, 1950, in Memphis, Tennessee, the daughter of Patty (née Shobe), a homemaker, and William Jennings Shepherd, who managed a home appliance business. Cybill was named using a name blend that referred to her grandfather Cy and her father Bill. While attending East High School, Shepherd won the "Miss Teenage Memphis" title and represented the city at the 1966 Miss Teenage America pageant at age 16, where she won the congeniality award. She competed at the 1968 "Model of the Year" contest at age 18, making her a fashion star of the 1960s and resulting in fashion model assignments through high school and afterward.

Cybill Shepherd in a photo from Teen from 1970

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

First experience of fame

Her first film was The Last Picture Show, also starring Jeff Bridges and Timothy Bottoms. The film became a critical and box office hit, earning eight Academy Awards nominations and winning two. Shepherd was nominated for a Golden Globe. Shepherd was cast opposite Charles Grodin in The Heartbreak Kid (1972). She played Kelly, a young woman for whom Grodin's character falls while on his honeymoon in Miami. Directed by Elaine May, it was another critical and box office hit. Also in 1972, Shepherd posed as a Kodak Girl for the camera manufacturer's then-ubiquitous cardboard displays.

In 1974, Shepherd again teamed up with Peter Bogdanovich for the title role in Daisy Miller, based on the Henry James novella. The film—a period piece set in Europe—was a box office failure. That same year, she launched a singing career, releasing a studio album Cybill Does It...To Cole Porter for MCA Records. It was panned by Village Voice critic Robert Christgau, who wrote: "Her voice is surprisingly pleasant, but you'd never know how these songs sparkle. Since Cole didn't like to . . . do it with (or 'to') women very much, maybe the 'do' is as hostile as it sounds."

In 1975, she made her next film, At Long Last Love, a musical that was directed by Bogdanovich, but, like Daisy Miller, it 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.

A series of less-successful roles followed, including The Lady Vanishes, a remake of Alfred Hitchcock's 1938 film of the same name. Already sitting in on an acting class taught by Stella Adler, Shepherd was offered work at a dinner theater in Norfolk, Virginia, and turned to friend Orson Welles for advice. He encouraged her to get experience on stage in front of an audience, anywhere but New York or Los Angeles, away from the harsh big-city critics and so she moved back to her home town of Memphis to work in regional theatre.

Return to Hollywood

In 1982, Shepherd returned to New York and to the stage when she played alongside James MacArthur in a theatre tour of Lunch Hour by Jean Kerr. The following year, Shepherd went back to Los Angeles and was cast as 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 on Moonlighting (1985–1989), which became the role that defined 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.

Shepherd in 1985

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 (and director Peter Bogdanovich) reunited 20 years after filming the original. She 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 for Cybill (1995–1998), a television sitcom in which the title character, Cybill Sheridan, an actress struggling with hammy roles in B movies and bad soap operas, was loosely modeled on herself (including portrayals of her two ex-husbands).

In 2000, Shepherd's bestselling autobiography, 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, was published. That same year, Shepherd hosted a short-lived syndicated talk show version of the book Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, but left the show in early 2001. In 2003, she guest-starred on 8 Simple Rules as the sister of Cate Hennessy (portrayed by Katey Sagal). She has played Martha Stewart in two television films: Martha, Inc.: The Story of Martha Stewart (2003) and Martha: Behind Bars (2005).

From 2007 until it ended, Shepherd appeared on The L Word as Phyllis Kroll for the show's final three seasons. In 2008, she joined the cast of Psych as main character Shawn Spencer's mother, Madeleine Spencer. On November 7, 2008, Shepherd guest-starred in a February episode of the CBS drama Criminal Minds. In 2010 Shepherd appeared in an episode of No Ordinary Family and in November of the same year she guest-starred in an episode of $h*! My Dad Says.

Shepherd appeared alongside Jennifer Love Hewitt in the 2010 television film The Client List and then in the 2012-13 series based on the film.

In July 2012, Shepherd made her Broadway debut in the revival of Gore Vidal's The Best Man at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre alongside James Earl Jones, John Stamos, John Larroquette, Kristin Davis, and Elizabeth Ashley to positive reviews.

Shepherd appeared as a mother grieving the death of her daughter in Do You Believe? (2015), a Christian-themed movie produced by Pure Flix Entertainment.

Political activism

Shepherd with President Ronald Reagan in 1988

Throughout her career, Shepherd has been an outspoken activist for issues such as gay rights and abortion rights. In 2009, she was honored by the Human Rights Campaign in Atlanta with one of two National Ally for Equality awards. She has been an advocate for same-sex marriage.

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

Personal life

In her autobiography, Shepherd revealed that she called her mother in 1978, crying and unhappy with the way her life and career were going. Her mother replied, "Cybill, come home." Shepherd went home to Memphis, where she met and began dating David M. Ford, a local auto parts dealer and nightclub entertainer. She became pregnant, and the couple married that year. Their daughter, Clementine Ford, was born in 1979. The marriage ended in divorce in 1982.

In 1987, Shepherd became pregnant by chiropractor Bruce Oppenheim and married him. They had twins, Cyrus Zachariah and Molly Ariel Shepherd-Oppenheim, born during the fourth season of Moonlighting. The couple divorced in 1990.

In June 2012, Shepherd became engaged to Andrei Nikolajevic. By 2015, the engagement had been called off.

Religious beliefs

Shepherd has previously described herself as "a goddess-worshipping Christian Pagan Buddhist".

In October 2014, Shepherd said that she had returned to her Christian faith.


Shepherd made the following claims in her autobiography:

  • She dated Elvis Presley in the early 1970s and cared for him, but could not handle his dependence on drugs, and ultimately chose 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.
  • 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 later said she regretted turning him down.
  • 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. He never spoke to her again.
  • Shepherd and her Moonlighting co-star Bruce Willis were tempted to become lovers off-screen, but agreed not to since both knew it could hurt the series.


Emmy Awards


  • 1986 - Outstanding Lead Actress - Drama Series - Moonlighting
  • 1995 - Outstanding Lead Actress - Comedy Series - Cybill
  • 1996 - Outstanding Lead Actress - Comedy Series - Cybill
  • 1997 - Outstanding Lead Actress - Comedy Series - Cybill

In her autobiography, 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 in this controversy was that of course I was envious. 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


  • 1971 - Most Promising Newcomer (Female) - The Last Picture Show
  • 1987 - Best Actress in a TV series, Comedy/Musical - Moonlighting
  • 1996 - Best Actress in a TV series, Comedy/Musical - Cybill



Year Title Role Notes
1971 The Last Picture Show Jacy Farrow Nominated—Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year – Actress
1972 The Heartbreak Kid Kelly Corcoran
1974 Daisy Miller Annie P. 'Daisy' Miller
1975 At Long Last Love Brooke Carter
1976 Taxi Driver Betsy
1976 Special Delivery Mary Jane
1977 Aliens from Spaceship Earth Herself Documentary
1978 Silver Bears Debbie Luckman
1978 A Guide for the Married Woman Julie Walker Television movie
1979 The Lady Vanishes Amanda Kelly
1979 Americathon Gold Girl
1980 The Return Jennifer
1984 Secrets of a Married Man Elaine Television movie
1985 Seduced Vicki Orloff Television movie
1985 The Long Hot Summer Eula Varner Television movie
1989 Chances Are Corinne Jeffries
1990 Texasville Jacy Farrow
1990 Alice Nancy Brill
1991 Which Way Home Karen Parsons Television movie
1991 Picture This: The Times of Peter Bogdanovich Herself Documentary
1991 Married to It Claire Laurent
1992 Once Upon a Crime... Marilyn Schwary
1992 Memphis Reeny Perdew Television movie
1992 Stormy Weathers Samantha Weathers Television movie
1993 Telling Secrets Faith Kelsey Television movie
1993 There Was a Little Boy Julie Warner Television movie
1994 Baby Brokers Debbie Freeman Television movie
1994 While Justice Sleeps Jody Stokes Television movie
1995 The Last Word Kiki Taylor
1997 Journey of the Heart Janice Johnston Television movie
1999 The Muse Herself
2000 Marine Life June
2002 Due East Nell Dugan Television movie
2003 Easy Riders, Raging Bulls Herself
2003 Martha, Inc.: The Story of Martha Stewart Martha Stewart Television movie
2004 Signs and Voices Herself
2005 Detective Karen Ainslie Television movie
2005 Martha: Behind Bars Martha Stewart Television movie
2006 Open Window Arlene Fieldson
2006 Hard Luck Cass
2009 High Noon Essie McNamara Television movie
2009 Mrs. Washington Goes to Smith Alice Washington Television movie
2009 Barry Munday Herself
2009 Another Harvest Moon Vickie
2009 Listen to Your Heart Victoria
2010 Expecting Mary Meg
2010 The Client List Cassie Television movie
2014 Kelly & Cal Bev
2015 Do You Believe? Teri
2015 She's Funny That Way Nettie Patterson
2019 Being Rose Rose
2020 Love Is Love Is Love Nancy


Year Title Role Notes
1983 Fantasy Island Liz Episode: "Return to the Cotton Club"
1983–84 The Yellow Rose Colleen Champion 22 episodes
1983 Masquerade Carla Episode: "Pilot"
1985–89 Moonlighting Madelyn 'Maddie' Hayes 64 episodes
Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy
People's Choice Award for Favorite Female Performer in a Television Series
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
1995–98 Cybill Cybill Sheridan 87 episodes
Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy
Nominated—People's Choice Award for Favorite Female Performer in a Television Series
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
2003 8 Simple Rules Aunt Maggie 2 episodes
2004 I'm With Her Suzanne 2 episodes
2007–09 The L Word Phyllis Kroll 18 episodes
2008–13 Psych Madeline Spencer 5 episodes
2008 Samantha Who? Paula Drake Episode: "So I Think I Can Dance"
2009 Criminal Minds Leone Gless Episode: "Cold Comfort"
2009–10 Eastwick Eleanor Rougement 5 episodes
2010 Drop Dead Diva Ellie Tannen Episode: "Queen of Mean"
2010 $h*! My Dad Says Charlotte Anne Robinson Episode: "Make a Wish"
2010 No Ordinary Family Barbara Crane Episode: "No Ordinary Visitors"
2012–13 The Client List Linette Montgomery 23 episodes
2012 Hot in Cleveland April Episode: "What's Behind the Door"
2012 Franklin and Bash Evanthia Steele Episode: "Jango and Rossi"
2013 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Jolene Castille Episode: "American Tragedy"
2018 The Comedy Central Roast Herself Episode: "Bruce Willis"


  • Cybill Does It...To Cole Porter (Paramount, 1974)
  • Mad About the Boy (Tombstone, 1976)
  • Cybill Getz Better (Inner City, 1976)
  • Vanilla (Gold Castle, 1979)
  • Somewhere Down the Road (Gold Castle, 1990)
  • Talk Memphis to Me (Drive Archive, 1997)
  • Songs from The Cybill Show (1999)
  • Live at the Cinegrill (2001)
  • At Home With Cybill (2004)
  • Jazz Baby Volumes 1–3 (2005)


  • At Long Last Love (soundtrack) (1975)
  • Moonlighting (soundtrack) (1987)
The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 28 Nov 2021. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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