Mackenzie Phillips Biography

Actress (1959–)
Actress Mackenzie Phillips, daughter of rock musician John Phillips, starred in the CBS sitcom One Day at a Time and the Disney Channel's So Weird.


Actress Mackenzie Phillips was born on November 10, 1959, in Alexandria, Virginia. Her starring role on the CBS sitcom One Day at a Time made her an overnight success. Drug and alcohol abuse soon led to problems, however, and she was fired twice and went in and out of rehab before becoming completely clean and sober. She later starred on the Disney Channel's So Weird and wrote a book, High on Arrival.

Younger Years

Laura Mackenzie Phillips was born on November 10, 1959, in Alexandria, Virginia. Her parents, rock musician John Phillips and former ballerina Susan Adams, divorced when she was 3 years old and older brother Jeffrey was 5. John immediately remarried Holly Michelle Gilliam, and they went on to form the hit folk/rock band the Mamas and Papas with Cass Elliot and Denny Doherty.

Early Acting Career

When Mackenzie Phillips was 12, she and three schoolmates formed a band and were spotted by a casting agent at the Troubadour. Her performance won her an audition for a role in the 1973 film American Graffiti; she was cast in the movie, which quickly became a hit. Soon, Phillips was offered a starring role on the CBS sitcom One Day at a Time, co-starring Valerie Bertinelli. As the highest paid actress on the show, Mackenzie Phillips was reportedly commanding $47,500 a week from the sitcom. She was an overnight success.

Drug and Alcohol Abuse

All seemed well for Mackenzie Phillips, that is until the drug and alcohol abuse that had begun during her high school years took control of her life. In February 1980, she was fired from the sitcom.

After two nearly fatal overdoses, she checked herself into Fair Oaks Hospital to undergo treatment. When she completed her detox treatment Phillips began to preach against drugs. In 1981, the producers of One Day at a Time saw that she had cleaned up her act and welcomed her back on the show. However, in 1982, she resumed her cocaine use, and she was subsequently fired again in 1983.

Phillips continued using drugs for approximately a decade after that point. In 1992, she entered into a long-term drug rehab program at Little Hill Alina Lodge, undergoing intensive treatment for nine months. Once she was finally clean and sober for good, she was allowed to leave the center.

Later Career and Revelations from 'High on Arrival'

Mackenzie Phillips resumed her acting career in the late 1990s, starring in the Disney Channel series So Weird as a veteran rock musician juggling motherhood and a career comeback. In early 2000, she divorced her husband of three years, musician Michael Barakan.

In 2009, Phillips made waves when she reported her decade-long sexual relationship with her father, rock star John Phillips. The 49-year-old actress revealed the incidents of incest on The Oprah Winfrey Show, saying that after her father sexually assaulted her one evening at the age of 18, the couple continued the relationship while John toured. They ceased relations after Mackenzie discovered she was pregnant, and didn't know if John or then-husband Shane Fontayne was the father. This, and other revelations, was presented in Phillips new book, High on Arrival (2009) which she read from during the hour-long interview.

Fact Check

We strive for accuracy and fairness. If you see something that doesn't look right, contact us!