When you think “classic TV icon,” you think of Morgan Fairchild. A prime-time TV staple, Fairchild has a seemingly never-ending resume…not that she obtained that impressive resume just by luck alone. It took years of determination for Fairchild to make it in the business, but what most people don’t know is just how much she overcame.
This star didn’t only deal with the typical problems struggling actors face. Behind her iconic beauty are two terrifying stories that she kept to herself for years…until now. As an aspiring actress in the ’70s, Morgan Fairchild had no idea that she wouldn’t only face fame in the big city, but trauma, too…
Once she became “Morgan Fairchild,” she moved to New York City to pursue an acting career. It didn’t take long after her gutsy move to New York to nab a few acting gigs, and it all comes down to a quality that would come in handy later in life: determination.
Fairchild had her first primetime TV role in the show Search For Tomorrow. Afterwards, she popped up in all kinds of TV programs: Happy Days, Kojak, The Bob Newhart Show, and others where she had multi-episode arcs.
Happy Days/CBS Television Distribution
She worked steadily throughout the ‘70s, but it wasn’t until 1980 that she secured her most critically acclaimed TV role: Constance Weldon Carlyle on the soap opera Flamingo Road. It was this part that catapulted Fairchild to stardom.
Flamingo Road/Lorimar Produtions
Despite the rave reviews for Flamingo Road (and Fairchild’s Golden Globe-nominated performance), the show was canceled after two seasons. The cancellation would have been disappointing for anyone, but for Fairchild, it was particularly heartbreaking.
After all, she’d overcome more obstacles than most aspiring actresses in order to break into the business…more obstacles than most people know. Fairchild only recently revealed the terror she faced as a young actress, and it’s far worse than crummy auditions.
La La Land/Lionsgate
According to Fairchild, she was kidnapped…twice. The first kidnapping took place in New York in the 1970s. She was a fresh face from Texas, but it may not have been her naivety to the dangers of the city that got her into trouble.
Tim Boxer/Getty Images
Instead, it was just bad luck. As Fairchild tells it, she was walking down the street when she realized she wasn’t alone. “All of a sudden, a big guy comes up next to me,” she said. This normally wouldn’t have been a reason to panic…right?
Scary Movie/Dimension Films
She tried to ignore the man walking a little too close to her, but that was hard to do after his backup arrived. “Then another big guy comes up on the other side of me,” Fairchild recalled. That’s when she had a terrifying realization.
“Once he came up, I kind of knew I was in trouble.” Before she knew it, the two men had grabbed her “by the elbow” and “shoved” her into a waiting cab. As she struggled to escape, she noticed something horrible about one of the men.
“I had…seen the gun in the waistband,” she revealed, but the next thing she knew, the gun was against her head. The taxi sped off with Fairchild and her kidnappers in tow. That’s when Fairchild, still facing a gun, learned who the men were.
Taxi Driver/Columbia Pictures
“One was a pimp, one was a pusher,” she described. “I know because they told me.” Obviously, this information was far from encouraging. She had to figure out how to get away, and fast. “I had no idea how I could get away from these guys.”
“I saw my life flash in front of my face,” she said. As a last resort, Fairchild did the one thing she could do better than anything else: act. “I wasn’t about to let them see how scared I was,” she said.
Watch What Happens Live/Bravo
So, she started to talk. “Every time they’d tell me something I would make a wisecrack,” she described. After a few minutes of this, the guys looked at each other and said something Fairchild hadn’t even dared to hope for.
“She’s funny. Let’s let her go,” Fairchild remembered them saying. “They gave the [driver] some money, and said ‘Take her wherever she wants to go.’” Fairchild talked her way out of “being a statistic,” and it wasn’t the last time she had to do so.
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York/20th Century Fox
Years later, around the time Fairchild started filming for Flamingo Road, she was faced with another near-death experience, and of a familiar variety: She was kidnapped. This time, however, she wasn’t on the bustling streets of New York.
Instead, she was in the privacy of her hotel room. According to Fairchild, she was just minding her own business when a man suddenly broke into her room. What he wanted wasn’t unusual: money. The problem was, there was no money in her room.
Once he realized the burglary had been botched, the man panicked and did pretty much the only thing that could have made the situation worse: He kidnapped Fairchild. As she tells it, he took her from the hotel and threatened to kill her.
Dallas/Warner Bros. Television Distribution
Much like her other experience, however, it wasn’t long before she was freed. It’s unclear why the kidnapper let her go, but one thing is for sure: Fairchild’s quick-thinking and determined attitude probably had something to do with it…
Mork & Mindy/CBS Television Distribution
Despite both terrifying experiences, Fairchild went on to act in popular shows of the time: Falcon Crest, Murphy Brown, and Friends, among others. She was known for playing strong women, and now we know how much real-life experience she brought to each role.
Fairchild’s near-death experiences have only made her a stronger person and actor, and believe it or not, she’s not the only celebrity who has faced the unimaginable but survived despite the odds. Like Fairchild, one star suffered for years in silence…
Kathleen Turner knows you may not recognize her. The truth is, the actress hasn’t looked like her old self in quite some time, not since the ‘80s, when she smashed onto the scene as one of Hollywood’s newest sex symbols…
The 1981 thriller Body Heat made her an international star practically overnight. “I was the new trophy in town,” Kathleen reflected. But being a trophy, she learned, isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be.
She made one hit after the other, most notably Romancing the Stone, Prizzi’s Honor, and Peggy Sue Got Married. All three movies earned her Golden Globe nominations — two of which she won — and she was even nominated for an Academy Award.
The 42nd Annual Golden Globe Awards, 1985
In a five-year span, Kathleen had become one of Hollywood’s biggest box-office draws. She wasn’t only a pretty face, but a reliable talent who constantly earned rave reviews…not just from award shows, but from her male co-stars, as well.
According to the actress, some of her male co-stars competed to see “who could get [her] first.” Tabloids covered her love life more than her actual career, and her trophy-status only rose in 1988 with her most iconic role yet.
Voicing Jessica Rabbit in Who Framed Roger Rabbit was the perfect role for the actress, whose trophy-status reached new heights with the role. But being a “trophy” is hard work, especially when, out of nowhere, your body decides to rebel against you.
In 1992, Kathleen was filming Serial Mom when she started experienced “inexplicable pains and fevers.” At first, she tried to brush them off as symptoms of over-work or exhaustion. But after a year, the pain only increased.
Traveling, walking on stage, and acting on a movie set — all tasks that had once been so easy were suddenly impossible. “My body could respond only with excruciating pain whenever I tried to move,” she explained. Even simple tasks turned into anxiety-inducing obstacles.
“I couldn’t hold a glass to get a drink of water,” she said. “I couldn’t pick up my child…my feet would blow up so badly that I couldn’t…walk on them.” But after a year of pain, Kathleen finally got her answer.
She was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and told she would end up in a wheelchair. This would rattle anyone, but as a young actress made famous in part by her looks, it was a professional death sentence…not that she told anyone.
Instead of revealing her debilitating health struggles, Kathleen suffered in silence. The world had taken notice of her sudden disappearance from Hollywood, but without knowing the details of her illness, all they saw was one thing: An unrecognizable Kathleen Turner.
A combination of chemotherapy, steroids, and swelling greatly changed Kathleen’s appearance, something the tabloids picked up on right away. “The press were merciless,” she has said. When it comes to their speculations, “merciless” barely covers it.
“They snipped that I had become fat…because I was an angry, washed-up diva, an out of control has-been,” Kathleen explained, even though her bodily changes “were not within my control,” she said. She searched desperately for a way to alleviate the pain…
When asked how she coped, she was frank. “Oh, I abused alcohol,” she said. “Because it’s a great painkiller, let me tell you.” Rumors spread that Kathleen’s weight gain was caused by her alcoholism, and she did nothing to stop the rumor-mill.
“I couldn’t publicly refute them because I believed it was worse to have people know that I had this terrible illness,” she admitted. She “felt it was imperative” that no one knew the truth. Her greatest fear was having her secret slip…
“They’d hire me if they thought I was a drunk, because they could understand drinking, but they wouldn’t hire me if I had a mysterious, scary illness they didn’t understand,” she explained. But alcohol and arthritis aside — the roles just weren’t there.
Her career harshly declined as she struggled to find medication that eased the pain. She appeared in low-budget films and critical flops, all the while seeing unflattering paparazzi photos of herself plastered on magazines at the supermarket.
The ‘90s continued in a similarly painful fashion for Kathleen…until hope finally arrived in the early 2000s. Cutting-edge treatments made her rheumatoid arthritis go into remission, and for the first time in almost a decade, she could move.
Kathleen had a new lease on life — not that Hollywood noticed. She took on roles that addressed her new image head-on: She played Chandler’s father on Friends, and revived her stage career with a lauded performance in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
She’s also written two memoirs, and the most recent one — Kathleen Turner on Acting: Conversations about Film, Television, and Theater — contains words of wisdom that apply not only to aspiring actors, but to anyone going through something seemingly insurmountable.
“What I hope for is to have people take risks…[and] make choices and not just accept,” she explained. Kathleen may look different nowadays — something she wants you to “get over” already — but she’s just as strong, talented, and compelling as ever.
This advice resonated with so many of Kathleen’s ’80s peers, especially one star whose path mirrored Kathleen’s closely, from the rise to the fall. She, too, recently opened up about how she fell from Hollywood’s graces — and what she’s doing about it.
Born Margaret Hyra, the young beauty initially eyed a career in journalism. She studied that field at UConn and NYU until her lucrative part-time job convinced her to seek out a different path.
Meg made a few bucks acting on the side, but her perspective totally shifted when she started booking regular roles. Following a recurring part in the soap opera As the World Turns, she chose to drop out of college with just a semester left.
As the next few years saw Meg bounce around small turns in TV shows, it wasn’t until 1986 that she introduced herself to mainstream audiences. A supporting role in the blockbuster Top Gun suddenly put her in the same echelon as Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer.
Top Gun/Paramount Pictures
In the late 1980s through the ’90s, Meg established herself as queen of the rom-com. She frequently collaborated with Tom Hanks, in classics like Joe vs. the Volcano, Sleepless in Seattle, and You’ve Got Mail. She’s also behind one of the most iconic moments in film.
Movie buffs may ultimately remember Meg best for When Harry Met Sally. Audiences experienced just as much pleasure as Meg pretended to have in the iconic deli scene. She wasn’t just making headlines for her acting work either.
Meg married fellow actor Dennis Quaid in 1991 after they starred in the movies Innerspace and The D.O.A. together. In this new chapter of her life, she started taking more creative risks.
One of these risks, her foray into voice acting, paid off big time. She headlined Fox’s Anastasia, which won over enough moviegoers to break Disney’s stranglehold on animated flicks. However, not all of Meg’s gambled worked out for her.
Meg came under fire as she transitioned from romantic comedies to serious drama. Not even the additional star power of Diane Keaton and Lisa Kudrow could rescue the drudgery of Hanging Up, the tale of three sisters bonding after their father’s death.
With the new millennium arriving, the flops only continued. Meg floundered with Russell Crowe in Proof of Life, though the harsh reviews weren’t even the worst part. Rumors of an affair with Crowe followed her, tainting her personal and professional reputation.
That drama led to Meg’s split with Dennis in 2001. Meanwhile, her forays into strange new genres continued. Erotic thrillers, boxing flicks — it just didn’t pan out. And what was worse was that some projects that could’ve defined her career totally fizzled out.
Years prior, she memorably passed on the lead in Pretty Woman. While Julia Roberts was eternally grateful, that iconic part could’ve kept up Meg’s marketability through her string of flops. Then, there were big roles that never came to pass.
With the behemoth sitcom How I Met Your Mother about to end, CBS planned a spinoff called How I Met Your Dad. Meg provided the future voice of the main character — played by Greta Gerwig — but the network killed the show after a disappointing pilot.
Not long before, critics called Meg Ryan “America’s Sweetheart.” Then, a few years into the 2000s, she could barely get a guest spot. She didn’t have a husband, so she turned to the other man in her life.
Meg had always been close to her son Jack, who made a name for himself with an appearance in The Hunger Games. When she vented about her lack of opportunities, Jack encouraged her to keep taking risks, particularly one she always had on her mind.
After countless hours of being bossed around in front of the camera, Meg wanted to try her hand at directing. Understandably, she felt nervous before making this leap, so she called up an old friend.
She recruited Tom Hanks for 2016’s Ithaca, in which she also starred. Though not all critics adored it, Meg called it one of her most fulfilling experiences. However, behind-the-scenes developments prevented her from hopping back into the director’s chair.
Meg had too much going on in her personal life — especially with a new daughter! After adopting Daisy a few years earlier, the actress needed to set aside extra time as her daughter came of age. Plus, she had a bit of romance to enjoy as well.
You couldn’t call Meg the Cougar in this relationship because she was dating the legendary John Mellencamp! In 2018, they tied the knot and took some time to enjoy each other’s company before delving into their next big projects.
With so much going on, Meg will doubtlessly return to the silver screen once she’s ready. After all, performers often step away from the camera for a variety of reasons; others, though, don’t have a choice.
Throughout the ’90s, if a movie was billed as a comedy, you better believe Jim Carrey’s name was attached in some way. But as he accrued more and more roles, he eventually took a stand that nearly landed him on the sidelines with Meg.
From a young age, Jim Carrey always knew he wanted to be a comedian. With a knack for impressions and physical comedy, it wasn’t long before Jim was doing stand-up at local comedy clubs in the hope of being discovered.
And discovered he was, as legendary comedian Rodney Dangerfield quickly took a shine to the young joker and signed him as a supporting act. With his star on the rise, Jim decided to take his talents to Hollywood to see if he could make it big.
The Un-Natural Act
It wasn’t long before Jim’s popularity as a comedian took off, and by the early 80s, he was making regular appearances on An Evening at the Improv and The Tonight Show. But everything changed when in 1990, Jim became a regular cast member on the sketch comedy show In Living Color.
In Living Color
Jim and his expressive slapstick style of comedy became a huge hit, and his success on television launched him into starring roles in comedy classics like Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Dumb & Dumber, and The Mask. But this was only the beginning for young Jim Carrey.
Ace Ventura: Pet Detective / Dumb and Dumber / The Mask
After reprising his role as Ace Ventura in 1995’s Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls and starring as the Riddler in Batman Forever, Jim’s price tag reached an astonishing $20 million per film. In fact, Jim was so sought after that he even began to score leading-man roles in dramatic films like The Truman Show.
The Truman Show
Around the turn of the century, Jim began to shy away from comedies in favor of films he considered to be more “highbrow”. With his performance in 2004’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind receiving critical acclaim, it appeared that the comedian’s acting style was beginning to shift — and people were taking notice.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
During an interview that same year, Jim’s acting pursuits were called into question. Although he attributed his transition from goofy comedian to serious actor to the nature of the roles he was given, there was still no denying that Jim’s slapstick days were now behind him…for better or worse.
The latter proved to become a reality when in 2007, Jim starred in the psychological horror film The Number 23, which was both a critical and commercial disaster. While he’d bounce back a year later with the comedy Yes Man, this marked the first moment of decline in the storied actor’s career.
The Number 23
Though in the years to come, we saw him star in films like A Christmas Carol, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, and Dumb and Dumber To, Jim’s performances were receiving more and more mixed reviews. Then, in 2013, the floodgate holding Jim’s career in place finally burst.
A Christmas Carol / Mr. Popper’s Penguins / Dumb and Dumber To
Several months prior to the release of the film Kick-Ass 2, Jim took to Twitter to denounce his role in the project. Citing the recent shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the actor withdrew his support for what he believed to be an excessively violent film.
“I did Kick-Ass a month before Sandy Hook,” Jim tweeted, “and now in all good conscience, I cannot support that level of violence. My apologies to others involved with the film. I am not ashamed of it, but recent events have caused a change in my heart.”
Though some praised Jim for sticking to his morals, an overwhelming majority — including Kick-Ass creator Mark Millar and some of Jim’s co-stars — openly rebuked his comments. But this wouldn’t be the last time Jim’s mouth would get him into trouble.
In 2015, the comedian once again took to Twitter to share some of his more controversial beliefs. Not only was Jim not a fan of Kick-Ass, but apparently he was anti-vaccination as well.
“California Government says ‘yes’ to poisoning more children with mercury and aluminum in mandatory vaccines,” Jim declared, in reference to a recently passed California law. “This corporate fascist must be stopped.”
Public outrage was immediate, with many pointing out that mercury is no longer used in vaccines and that refusing to vaccinate children poses a serious risk to public health. Though he backtracked his comments in several follow-up tweets, the labeling of Jim as an anti-science nutcase had already begun.
In fact, Time magazine even published an article titled, “Jim Carrey, Please Shut Up About Vaccines”. As one would expect, this kind of bad publicity only made finding work more difficult for the already struggling actor.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Despite being brought on for an episode of Saturday Night Live, film and television studios seemed to have blacklisted Jim, leaving his 2015 filmography almost completely blank. Things were bad for the former megastar, but what came next was the final nail in his coffin.
Following the suicide of his ex-girlfriend Cathriona White, a lawsuit was brought against Jim by her family and estranged husband. They alleged that Cathriona took her own life using prescription drugs that Jim provided her with just days before her death.
Not only that, but Cathriona’s mother accused Jim of emotionally abusing her daughter, giving her STDs, and using “high-priced Hollywood lawyers” to intimidate her following their breakup. The case is still playing out in court, with Jim fighting desperately to repair his already shattered public image.
In late 2018, Jim made his return to acting in Showtime’s comedy-drama Kidding. While the former Hollywood heavyweight will likely never regain the kind of stardom he achieved early on in his career.