Crystal Bernard is a well-known American songwriter, singer, and actor, who has now retired from show business and is living a quiet life, away from the media. As a young girl, she started singing gospel songs in the church choir. Her song with her elder sister, Robyn, titled ‘The Monkey Song,’ was recorded when she was eight years old and it is popular to date. She is best known for playing the role of ‘Helen Chappell’ in the ‘NBC’ sitcom ‘Wings.’ Her other popular appearances on TV include serials and TV films such as ‘Happy Days,’ ‘The Love Boat,’ and ‘Meet the Santas.’ She has also acted in several movies such as ‘Young Doctors in Love,’ ‘Slumber Party Massacre II,’ and ‘Welcome to Paradise.’ She was initially interested in songwriting. She has released two studio albums and has a number of singles to her credit. Besides writing most of her songs, she has written songs for singers, such as Tracie Spencer and Lisa Stansfield. She is currently believed to be single, though she has had a number of affairs. Though there have been rumors of her having secretly married fellow singer Peter Cetera, there is no evidence to prove this rumor.
Childhood & Early Life
She was born Crystal Lynn Bernard on September 30, 1961, in Garland, Texas, US, to Dr. Jerry Wayne Bernard and Gaylon Fussell. Her father was a Southern Baptist, who traveled across the US, preaching and singing as a televangelist. She has four sisters, of whom she is the second-eldest. Her sisters’ names are Robyn, Scarlett, and Angelique. Robyn also grew up to be a part of show business.
The four sisters started singing gospel songs in the church choir at a tender age and even accompanied their father on some of his televangelist trips. Her song with her elder sister Robyn, titled ‘The Monkey Song,’ was recorded when Crystal was eight years old and has lived on till today.
Her younger days were spent in Oak Creek Village, Houston, Texas, where she attended the ‘Bammel Middle School.’ Later, she attended the ‘Spring High School’ and then enrolled at ‘Baylor University,’ where she studied international relations and acting. Her initial aim was to become a songwriter. However, she soon developed an interest in acting too. She also studied acting at the ‘Alley Theatre’ in Houston, Texas.
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She made her TV debut as ‘Kelly’ in the ‘NBC’ sitcom ‘Gimme a Break!,’ in 1982. Around the same time, she earned a role in the primetime TV serial ‘Happy Days,’ in which she appeared as ‘KC Cunningham’ in 16 episodes, between 1982 and 1983.
Thereafter, she appeared in various serials such as ‘Fantasy Island’ and ‘High School USA’ in 1983 and ‘The Love Boat’ from 1983 to 1985. Her other major role was that of ‘Amy Tompkins’ in 93 episodes of ‘It’s a Living’ that ran from 1985 to 1989.
Soon, she became a known TV star and appeared in a number of TV movies such as ‘Without Her Consent’ (1990) and ‘Miracle Child’ (1993). However, she is best known for her role as the strong-willed airport lunch-counter operator ‘Helen Chappell’ in 172 episodes of the ‘NBC’ sitcom ‘Wings.’ The show propelled her ratings and helped her earn immense appreciation from fans.
Her more recent TV performances have been for the TV movies ‘A Face to Kill for’ (1999), ‘Meet the Santas’ (2005), and ‘Grave Misconduct’ (2008).
Her film debut took place almost at the same time as her TV debut, in 1982. Her first film, ‘Young Doctors in Love,’ featured her with her ‘Happy Days’ co-star Ted McGinley. Her other movie performances were as ‘Courtney Bates’ in the horror movie ‘Slumber Party Massacre II’ (1987), as ‘Jean MacLemore’ in ‘Gideon’ (1999), and as ‘Cheryl’ in ‘Jackpot’ (2001).
Soon, her acting skills gained recognition, and she was invited to participate in the Los Angeles production of the play ‘Crimes of the Heart,’ in 1999. This was closely followed by her performance as ‘Annie Oakley’ in the ‘Marquis Theatre’ revival of the play ‘Annie Get Your Gun.’ Her latest theater appearance has been in the ‘West Coast’ premiere of ‘Barbra’s Wedding,’ opposite actor/playwright Daniel Stern.
Crystal Bernard has an impressive musical profile as a singer and songwriter too. She has two hit albums, namely, ‘Girl Next Door’ and ‘Don’t Touch Me There,’ released with the label ‘River North’ in 1996 and 1999, respectively. Her second album included a gospel song, which she had recorded with her father.
She co-wrote the song ‘If I Were Your Girl’ from the album ‘Head over Heels’ by Paula Abdul, with songwriter Rhett Lawrence. She also has a number of hit singles of her own and has appeared in the music videos ‘Have We Forgotten What Love Is’ (1996), ‘State of Mind’ (1997), and ‘Hey’ (1999).
She has written the lyrics for most of her songs and has also written songs for popular artists such as Tracie Spencer, Debbie, Angie Winans, and Lisa Stansfield. Although she is currently retired and avoids social media, she is still respected in the American entertainment industry.
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Some of Crystal Bernard’s noteworthy movies include ‘Young Doctors in Love’ (1982), ‘Slumber Party Massacre II’ (1987), ‘Gideon’ (1999), ‘Jackpot’ (2001), and ‘Welcome to Paradise’ (2007).
She has appeared in a number of TV serials and movies too, such as ‘Gimme a Break!’ (1982), ‘Happy Days’ (1982–1983), ‘Fantasy Island’ (1983), ‘The Love Boat’ (1983–1985), ‘It’s a Living’ (1985–1989), ‘Wings’ (1990–1997), ‘According to Jim’ (2003) ‘Meet the Santas’ (2005), and ‘Grave Misconduct’ (2008).
She has released two studio albums, namely, ‘Girl Next Door’ and ‘Don’t Touch Me There.’ Besides a number of singles, her music videos include ‘Have We Forgotten What Love Is’ (1996), ‘State of Mind’ (1997), and ‘Hey’ (1999).
Awards & Achievements
Her name was included in the ‘Hair Fan’s Hall of Fame,’ in 2003.
Personal Life & Legacy
Despite her Southern Baptist background, she is not a firm believer in the sacrament of marriage and has had several affairs without getting into any serious relationship or marriage. She is currently believed to be single.
Grammy-winner, Michael Shipley was one of her early boyfriends, but the relationship did not last long. She was also the former long-time girlfriend of producer Tony Thomas. However, they never married. Tony later married Ann Souder, but Crystal decided to remain single. Her name has also been associated with radio personality Rush Limbaugh and her ‘A Face to Kill For’ co-star Billy Dean. However, she seems to have no plans of getting married in the near future.
Crystal Bernard decided to retire from show business in 2008 and has been maintaining a low profile ever since. Recently, there were rumors of her secret marriage to fellow singer Peter Cetera, with whom she had performed a duet in 1995. However, the rumor has not been confirmed yet.
She is known for her Southern belle accent.
She is the brand ambassador of ‘O Premium Waters,’ a bottled-water company in Phoenix, Arizona.