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Loni Anderson is a TV actress notable for her sexy role as Jennifer Marlowe on the series WKRP in Cincinnati.
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Loni Anderson's big break came in 1978, when she landed a role on the sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati and became a sex symbol almost overnight. Her role in the 1983 stock-car racing comedy Stroker Ace changed her life again. While on set, she met and fell in love with co-star Burt Reynolds, who was a star at the time, and her marriage to Reynolds put the duo in the spotlight as a Hollywood power couple.
Actress Loni Kaye Anderson was born on August 5, 1946, in St. Paul, Minnesota, to Carl Anderson and Maxine Kallin. From a young age, Loni stood out as a brunette beauty. As a senior in high school, Anderson was named Valentine Queen of her school's winter formal.
Anderson entered the University of Minnesota in 1963 to study art. She worked her way through school by winning beauty pageants—namely the Miss Roseville beauty pageant contest, which allowed her to represent her hometown at the Miss Minnesota competition. She was a runner-up for the crown, but she added several wins to her name during this time, including the Miss Thermo-Jac Clothing, Miss County Style Ford and Queen of the Hole-In-One titles.
In 1964, at the age of 18, Anderson married fellow Minnesotan Bruce Hasselbeck. Shortly after their nuptials, Loni and Bruce welcomed daughter Deidra. But the romance was short-lived, and Anderson and Hasselbeck divorced in 1966. It was a difficult time for Anderson, who had to take a teaching job to support herself and her new baby while completing her college education.
Anderson also developed an interest in acting, and started making appearances in local commercials and theater shows. Still dark-haired, she played in several early '70s productions such as Born Yesterday, Send Me No Flowers, Can-Can, The Star-Spangled Girl and Fiddler on the Roof.
In 1973, Anderson remarried to another aspiring actor, Ross Bickell. The ambitious couple decided to move away from Minnesota to Los Angeles in 1975 to pursue more film and TV work. Loni dyed her locks their trademark blonde during this period, and landed minor roles on shows such as Barnaby Jones (1973), The Bob Newhart Show (1972) and Three's Company (1977).
Loni Anderson's big break in showbiz came in 1978, when the actress landed a role on the popular sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati. Actor Howard Hesseman, who played the character of Dr. Johnny Fever, and Anderson, who played sultry radio station receptionist Jennifer Marlowe, became the breakaway stars of the show. Anderson became a sex symbol almost overnight, and a pinup photo of the actress in a bikini was one of the best-selling posters of the 1970s. Yet, far from a dumb blonde, Anderson insisted that she be able to play her character as a bright, sensitive woman before signing for the part. Her vision paid off, and the star earned two Emmy nominations and three Golden Globe nominations for her performance.
While her professional life thrived, Anderson's personal life was on the rocks.
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