Intimate Portrait - Season 8

Lifetime (ended 2004)


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Episode Guide

  • Lucille Ball
    Lucille Ball
    Episode 30
  • Suzanne Pleshette
    Suzanne Pleshette
    Episode 29
    Suzanne Pleshette: Bold Broad When Suzanne Pleshette first entered into the world, doctors were forced to take extraordinary steps to save her. Born without a heartbeat, she was given an adrenaline shot to get it started. That spark ignited the little girl who grew up to be a frank, feisty woman who led a glamorous life. Pleshette, the daughter of a ballerina and the head of a fabled New York theater, was destined for a life in entertainment. She enrolled in the "Fame" High School of the Performing Arts and went on to study at the legendary Neighborhood Playhouse. The aspiring actress soon began getting parts in plays, and soon won the role of a lifetime, replacing Ann Bancroft in the Broadway production of "The Miracle Worker." Pleshette fell for heartthrob Troy Donahue and the couple married in 1964, but the actor's alcoholism led to the dissolution of the marriage just nine months later. The sultry star soon took up with the very married David Janssen of TV's "The Fugitive," but when he refused to leave his wife she married businessman Tommy Gallagher in 1968. Her career proved more stable as she took turns starring with some of Hollywood's biggest names, including Steve McQueen in "Nevada Smith" and James Garner in "Support Your Local Gunfighter". The bawdy, brash Pleshette became a favorite on Johnny Carson's show after she remarked, " I did nine westerns. I can't ride but I mount with great authority." Her wicked humor convinced comedian Bob Newhart to cast the saucy star as the wife on his new sitcom in 1972. Pleshette accepted, but there was a catch: No kids on the show. The request stemmed from her real-life situation; the actress had miscarried and would never get pregnant again. A TV show about a childless couple was groundbreaking--allowing the focus to be on careers and adult relationships--and the actors' obvious chemistry made the sitcom an instant hit. Newhart was slight and quiet, and the strong, vocal Pleshette was his perfect foil. The show lasted six stellar seasons. Throughout the '80s and '90s, Pleshette worked regularly on television. But in 2000, the actress' personal life took a turn for the worst when her husband died from e. coli poisoning after surviving a bout of cancer. Thankfully, Pleshette reunited with her old love, actor Tom Poston, also of "The Bob Newhart Show," who had lost his wife. The two decided to join a support group together, and soon, after forty years apart, they rekindled their romance and were married in May of 2001. Pleshette is enjoying a professional comeback as well, appearing as Karen's emotionally stunted mom on "Will and Grace," a role she has parlayed into a starring turn on the new sitcom "Good Morning Miami". It appears now that Pleshette's is a tale of all's well that ends well.moreless
  • Diane Lane
    Diane Lane
    Episode 28
    Diane Lane: A Star Is Reborn It was Diane Lane's destiny to crave the spotlight: Her mother was an aspiring nightclub performer, and her father was an acting coach. These starry-eyed parents had dreams of Hollywood fame for their little girl, and at the age of six she was cast in an off-off-Broadway play about ancient Greek mythology. From then on, Lane spent summers traveling without her parents to appear in regional theater productions. At one show, the prepubescent thespian dazzled a Hollywood director, who cast her in 1979's "A Little Romance," opposite the legendary Sir Laurence Olivier. At 14, she graced the cover of Time for a story on young breakout performers. Lane had a lot to live up to, and she certainly tried, working nonstop in movie after movie. Unfortunately, her films floundered at the box office — even the much-hyped "The Cotton Club" (1984) with heartthrob Richard Gere. After six years in show business and 13 films under her belt, the 18-year-old Lane decided to quit the biz. Once her professional life was on hiatus, Lane's personal life kicked into full gear. At 19, she fell for a charming actor named Christopher Lambert, and four years later, on March 27, 1988, the couple tied the knot. Around the same time, Lane decided to give Hollywood a second chance. She appeared in the critically acclaimed 1989 TV series "Lonesome Dove," for which she earned her first Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries. In September 1993, Lane gave birth to daughter Eleanor Jasmine. Unfortunately, her marriage fizzled a year later, and the single mom threw herself into motherhood and her work. But it would take another six years before her comeback was complete. In 1999, she played against type as an adulterous 1960s Jewish housewife in "Walk on the Moon" and won accolades from the critics. After a string of good movies, including "The Perfect Storm" and "My Dog Skip," Lane was tapped to portray another cheating spouse in the 2002 movie "Unfaithful." She plays the wife of Richard Gere's character who falls in lust with a young Frenchman. Her powerful performance stunned audiences, and now Lane's reputation as a formidable talent is stronger than ever before.moreless
  • Jennifer Lopez (J Lo)
    Jennifer Lopez: Do-It-All Diva Jennifer Lynn Lopez, aka J.Lo, was born into a loving Puerto Rican family in the Bronx, New York. Her mother, a kindergarten teacher, passed on her love of musicals to her three daughters, who used to create productions of their own. The performing bug hit the middle Lopez daughter hard, so much so that the young J.Lo left Baruch College during her first year to pursue her passion full-time. It didn't take long for her auditioning to prove fruitful. In 1990, Lopez earned a spot as a Fly Girl, a dancer on the hit sketch comedy show "In Living Color." She packed her bags and moved to Los Angeles. After two years as a Fly Girl, Lopez yearned for more. She left the show and became a backup dancer for Janet Jackson. She also scored minor roles in TV pilots. But her big break came in 1995, with a role in the movie "Mi Familia," which was about an immigrant Mexican family. Lopez's well-received performance led to steady acting work. The novice then snagged the much-coveted role of slain Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla in the film "Selena." It was a hit that earned Lopez praise and a Golden Globe Award nomination. She had officially arrived. In February 1995, Lopez married boyfriend Ojani Noa, but the go-getter's hectic modeling and acting schedule contributed to the couple's breakup after only eight months. Lopez recovered by focusing on her other big dream: a career as a singer. Her first album, "On the 6," was released on June 9, 1999. It went triple platinum, produced a number one hit and garnered a Grammy Award nomination. On a roll, Lopez continued singing and returned not only to acting but to the altar. After her relationship with Sean Combs, aka P. Diddy, fizzled, she married dancer Chris Judd in September 2001. Four months later, in January 2002, Lopez achieved the unthinkable: a simultaneous number one album ("J.Lo" ) and number one film ("The Wedding Planner"). The megastar used her unstoppable fame to launch her own clothing line, fragrance and restaurant. Unfortunately, her union with Judd wasn't as strong as her career. The two parted ways after a mere seven months. But Lopez didn't have to wait long for love to come along again. She soon began dating her friend actor Ben Affleck, whom she met while they were shooting the film "Gigli." The tabloid-material twosome became inseparable, and they paired up for another movie, "Jersey Girl," as well as for a more permanent union. They announced their engagement in October 2002.moreless
  • Elizabeth Taylor
    Elizabeth Taylor
    Episode 26
    Elizabeth Taylor: Grand Dame of Hollywood Elizabeth Taylor was born in London, but her family relocated to Los Angeles when she was young. Taylor's mother, a sometime stage actress, realized that her daughter's luminous face and smoldering violet eyes were just right for Hollywood and began taking the girl to auditions. At the age of nine, Taylor was cast in the film "There's One Born Every Minute." Three years later, she appeared in the 1944 movie "National Velvet" and became an international star overnight. Barely an adolescent and already a screen icon, the radiant Taylor had the world's most eligible bachelors at her feet. She married her first husband, hotel heir Nicky Hilton, in 1950, but within a year his violent drinking put an end to the marriage. In 1951, Taylor married actor Michael Wilding, with whom she had two sons. Five years later, she divorced Wilding and married producer Mike Todd, a man twice her age. The couple welcomed the birth of daughter Liza, but their happiness would be short-lived; a year later, Todd was killed in a plane crash. Taylor lost herself in her work, turning in an Oscar-winning performance in "Butterfield 8." Now widowed with three children, Taylor found comfort with crooner Eddie Fisher, whom she married in 1959. Her career weathered the scandal of breaking up the marriage between Fisher and starlet Debbie Reynolds — the parts still poured in. The biggest coup was nabbing the title role in "Cleopatra," opposite Richard Burton. The co-stars experienced instant chemistry, despite the leading man's reputation for being a womanizer and a boozer. Taylor divorced Fisher in 1964 and tied the knot with Burton that same year. The tempestuous couple tied the knot and spent most of the '60s working and traveling, with the press hounding their every move. In 1966, Taylor and Burton teamed up again on-screen, in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf?" The script, about a disturbed couple and their addictions, mirrored the real-life duo's own travails, and Taylor won another Oscar® for her powerful performance. She and Burton divorced in 1974, but the couple remarried a short time later. However, their second stab at marriage lasted less than a year. By 1976, Taylor had fallen for rising Virginia politician John Warner, who would become her next husband. But in the lonely role of a senator's wife, Taylor turned to food and alcohol for consolation. In 1981, Taylor decided it was time for a change. The resilient star sobered up, lost weight and headed for Broadway. At 49, she made her stage debut, in "Little Foxes," to rave reviews. In 1982, Taylor left Warner behind, but not the campaigning life. After learning that her good friend Rock Hudson had AIDS, Taylor became a committed crusader against the deadly disease. While back in rehab in 1988, Taylor met her next husband, construction worker Larry Fortensky; they were wed in 1991 and stayed together for five years. Taylor was making headway as a successful perfume entrepreneur, but in 1997, she was diagnosed with a brain tumor and took time out to attend to her health. In 2000, the other famous Elizabeth, the queen of England, anointed Taylor as a Dame of the British Empire. Today, the feisty Dame Taylor continues her mission of AIDS advocacy.moreless
  • Sharon Osbourne
    Sharon Osbourne
    Episode 25
    Sharon Osbourne: Heavy-Metal Matriarch London-born Sharon Osbourne (née Arden) was the apple of her father's eye. Dad was a music manager who worked with rock icons such as Little Richard and Chuck Berry. At age 15, Osbourne quit school to work full-time for her father as a receptionist. At 23, the ambitious young woman packed her bags for Los Angeles to open another branch of dad's business. One of her first tasks was to collect money from recently fired metal sensation Ozzy Osbourne. When Osbourne found the rock star, he was strung out on alcohol and drugs and knocking on death's door. Sympathetic to his suffering because of her own struggles with alcohol, Osbourne decided to help Ozzy get back on his feet by managing his career. In 1980, Ozzy released his first solo album, which went platinum. Despite being married, the newly crowned "Prince of Darkness" fell in love with his manager, who had turned his flailing career right side up. In 1981, Ozzy divorced his wife; the following year he exchanged vows with Osbourne in a July 4 ceremony on a beach in Maui. But as one bond formed, another fizzled, as Osbourne and her dad went to war over Ozzy's career. Cut off from her parents, Osbourne decided to create a family of her own. In September 1982, the couple had their first child, daughter Aimee, followed by daughter Kelly in 1984 and son Jack in 1985. Osbourne thrived as a mother, but her life wasn't all peaches and cream. Ozzy was once again hitting rock bottom with his substance abuse. One night in 1989, Osbourne was attacked by her strung-out husband. She pressed attempted-murder charges against him but later dropped them on the condition that Ozzy enter rehab. Afterward, the couple slowly rebuilt their marriage. In 1995, Osbourne reached new heights of professional success when she launched Ozzfest, a heavy-metal tour headlined by her husband. But on a more personal level, Osbourne was struggling with overeating — the 5'2" businesswoman had ballooned to 224 pounds. Fed up with herself, Osbourne opted for stomach surgery on the eve of her 47th birthday. As a result, she shed 100 pounds. In early 2002, Osbourne, feeling good about herself inside and out, approached MTV with the idea of a reality-TV show based on her family's everyday antics. "The Osbournes" premiered in the spring of 2002, and the edgy series became an instant hit. The second season of the show garnered the kooky family $58 million. Even sweeter for Osbourne was her reconciliation with her father. However, Osbourne's perfect life came crashing down when she was diagnosed with colon cancer. The doting mother and wife underwent three months of chemotherapy, but she still found it in her heart to take in the teenage son of a friend who had recently died of the same disease. Surrounded by her loving extended family, Osbourne is recouping nicely; she is doing so well that she will begin hosting her own TV talk show in the fall of 2003.moreless
  • Toni Braxton
    Toni Braxton
    Episode 24
  • Pat Benatar
    Pat Benatar
    Episode 23
  • Dixie Chicks
    Dixie Chicks
    Episode 22
  • Melissa Sue Anderson
  • Joan Van Ark
    Joan Van Ark
    Episode 20
  • Barbara Eden
    Barbara Eden
    Episode 19
    Barbara Eden: TV's Genie She was talented and lucky enough to land the lead role on the hit TV show "I Dream of Jeannie," but in her personal life, Barbara Eden's wishes did not always come true. As a child, Eden was painfully shy, due in part to a vision problem that forced her to wear an eye patch. Luckily, the girl's adoring mother drew her out of her shell by encouraging her to sing while they washed dishes together. After graduating from high school in 1949, Eden began to study music at a San Francisco college, but when she discovered the joy of acting classes, she found her true calling. In the early '50s, Eden relocated to Los Angeles to try her luck as an actress. After some lean days, Eden landed a recurring part on "The Johnny Carson Show" and then the classic comedy "I Love Lucy." Lucille Ball encouraged her to develop her natural comedic talents. In the mid-1950s, Twentieth Century Fox signed Eden to a studio contract, and she appeared in a string of movies opposite such heartthrobs as Elvis Presley and Paul Newman. In 1957, Eden was cast in the TV adaptation of "How to Marry a Millionaire"; she played the part Marilyn Monroe had in the movie version. The actress' biggest break came in 1964, when her agent sent her the script for "I Dream of Jeannie" and she was offered the lead role of the wacky, wonderful genie. That same year, she and her then-husband, actor Michael Ansara, were expecting a child, and in August 1965, Matthew was born. In 1970, " I Love Jeannie" was cancelled, and Eden endured yet another disappointment when she learned that her second baby had died in her womb at seven-and-a-half months. Eden's marriage dissolved under the strain of that trauma. Soon afterward she married her second husband, a newspaper executive from Chicago, but they eventually divorced. Things began looking up for Eden again in the '80s, when she worked steadily on a variety of television projects and met her current husband, real estate developer Jon Eicholtz. Eden's relentless work ethic is what has sustained her during her rough times, including the roughest of them all: the death of her son in 2001 from a heroin overdose. With the love and support of her family and friends, she continues to do what gives her — and her audience — pleasure: act.moreless
  • Kathy Ireland
    Kathy Ireland
    Episode 18
  • Martina McBride
    Martina McBride
    Episode 17
  • Sarah Ferguson
    Sarah Ferguson
    Episode 16
  • Jamie-Lynn Sigler
    Jamie-Lynn Sigler
    Episode 15
  • Sherry Lansing
    Sherry Lansing
    Episode 14
  • Pam Dawber
    Pam Dawber
    Episode 13
  • Melody Thomas Scott
    Melody Thomas Scott
    Episode 12
  • Melissa Joan Hart
    Melissa Joan Hart
    Episode 11
  • Lauralee Bell
    Lauralee Bell
    Episode 10
  • Kristi Yamaguchi
    Kristi Yamaguchi
    Episode 9
  • Kellie Martin
    Kellie Martin
    Episode 8
  • Marion Ross
    Marion Ross
    Episode 7
  • Emma Samms
    Emma Samms
    Episode 6
  • Finola Hughes
    Finola Hughes
    Episode 5
  • Geraldine Ferraro
    Geraldine Ferraro
    Episode 4
  • Doris Roberts
    Doris Roberts
    Episode 3
  • Cynthia Nixon
    Cynthia Nixon
    Episode 2
  • Brandy
    Episode 1
    Brandy: Fairy-tale Princess Brandy Norwood has become the belle of her own ball, gaining fame as a chart-topping singer and the star of the sitcom "Moesha," and finding her own Prince Charming. As a little girl growing up in Mississippi, Brandy dreamed of stardom. By the time she was four years old, she had begun singing in her father's church choir. Encouraged by Brandy's undeniable talents, her dad began schooling her in a variety of musical styles and taking her to see concerts. She particularly enjoyed seeing Whitney Houston, whom she admired as a role model. When Brandy's father got a job in California, he began taking her and her brother, Ray J., on auditions. Ray got some parts, but Brandy didn't. At age 13, Brandy enrolled in Hollywood High School's performing arts program. She finally got her big break in the fall of 1993 when Atlantic Records — where she had unsuccessfully auditioned to be part of a girl band — offered her a recording contract. Her first album, the self-titled "Brandy," debuted a year later and went platinum. She was only 15 years old. In 1996, Brandy landed a starring role on a new UPN sitcom called "Moesha." She was proud to be playing a disadvantaged African-American girl who was portrayed as an intelligent, responsible individual. "Moesha" became the highest-rated show on the network. In 1997, Brandy teamed up with Whitney Houston to film a remake of "Cinderella" for ABC; she made history as the first black actress to play the lead part in the fairy tale. In 1998, Brandy released her second album, which included the Grammy Award–winning single "The Boy Is Mine." Brandy struggled to feel good about herself and succumbed to the pressure to be thin; she was eating very little. In 1999, Brandy was rushed to the hospital, where doctors diagnosed the dehydrated star with exhaustion. "I lost Brandy," she reflects. "I abandoned her for my career." Since "Moesha" went off the air in 2001, Brandy has achieved her heart's desire both professionally and personally. The talented performer has found time to work on her third album, and she's tied the knot — with music producer Robert Smith in June 2001.moreless