Childhood & Early Life
Loni Anderson was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota, on August 5, 1946, to Maxine Hazel and Klaydon Carl Anderson. Her mother worked as a model, while her father was an environmental chemist. Her mother had a major influence on Loni when she was growing up.
Loni was always fascinated with the world of entertainment. By the time she was 9 years old, she had made up her mind to become an actor. She soon told her mother about her wish to become an actor. Although her mother was supportive, the family lacked connections in the field. Thus, Loni had to work very hard to achieve her dreams.
Loni graduated from ‘Alexander Ramsey Senior High School’ in Roseville in 1963. She was always a diva in her school and earned a few beauty honors. After graduating high school, Loni joined the ‘University of Minnesota’ to study art.
As a teenager, she participated in several beauty competitions and ended up winning quite a few of them. She represented her hometown in the ‘Miss Minnesota’ competition and was the first runner-up there.
Loni fell in love with Bruce Hasselbeck from Minnesota during her early college years, and the couple got married in 1964. Loni gave birth to her daughter, Deidra, soon after. However, the couple divorced in 1966. Following this, Lori raised her daughter as a single mother.
Loni faced a lot of hardships when she was struggling to make her career while being a single mother. She also worked as a school teacher for a while, to make ends meet.
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In 1966, Lori was offered a small role in the film ‘Nevada Smith,’ which starred Hollywood superstar Steve McQueen. She auditioned for countless roles in the next few years. However, there was hardly any success.
For more than a decade after making her debut, she did not get any quality acting project. She continued to work as a teacher during this time.
In the mid-1970s, she bagged a few guest TV roles. In 1975, she appeared in small roles in two episodes of ‘S.W.AT.’ and in an episode of ‘Police Woman.’ In 1976, she made her film comeback with a small uncredited role in the film ‘Vigilante Force.’
In 1978, her life turned around after she starred in a guest role in two episodes of the popular sitcom ‘Three’s Company.’ That role, although short-lived, helped her bag a role in the sitcom ‘WKRP in Cincinnati,’ which became her first major breakthrough project.
In ‘WKRP in Cincinnati,’ Loni played the role of a receptionist named ‘Jennifer Marlow.’ It became the most-loved character on the sitcom. The sitcom, too, became one of the most successful series of the 1970s. Loni earned multiple ‘Golden Globe’ and ‘Emmy Award’ nominations for her role in the sitcom. The series ran until 1982, and Loni appeared in 89 episodes.
Loni appeared in several more series such as ‘The Incredible Hulk,’ ‘The Love Boat,’ and ‘Fantasy Island.’ She also appeared in two TV films, ‘The Jayne Mansfield Story’ and ‘Sizzle.’
In 1983, she earned the first major role of her film career. The role was that of ‘Pembrook Feeny’ in the action–comedy film ‘Stroker Ace.’ The film turned out to be a critical and commercial failure.
She then continued to appear on TV and played the leading role in the series ‘Partners in Crime’ in 1984. The series was short-lived and was on air for only 13 episodes.
Loni appeared as the lead in the 1986 sitcom ‘Easy Street.’ The series ran for 22 episodes and was considered a commercial and critical failure. Toward the late 1980s, Loni appeared in TV films such as ‘Whisper Kill’ and ‘Too Good to be True.’
In 1992, Loni made her comeback on the big screen with the comedy–drama film ‘Munchie,’ which was also the debut film of the acclaimed actor Jennifer Love Hewitt. Loni played a leading role in the film, which earned average collections at the box office.
In 1993, she returned to TV with a key role in the series ‘Nurses,’ which earned average ratings. Loni played the role of ‘Casey MacAfee’ for 22 episodes, and her performance was met with critical acclaim.
She later appeared in the series ‘Melrose Place’ and ‘Sabrina the Teenage Witch.’ In 2003, Loni made a major TV comeback with the sitcom ‘The Mullets,’ where she played one of the key roles. The sitcom was aired for 11 episodes and was later canceled due to poor ratings.
Following the debacle of ‘The Mullets,’ Loni almost disappeared from the acting arena. She was lately seen making small appearances in the series ‘Baby Daddy’ and ‘Love You More.’ She has also appeared in the web series ‘My Sister Is So Gay.’
Loni Anderson has married four times. Her first husband was Bruce Hasselbeck, with whom she had a daughter, Deidra. The couple divorced in 1966, after two years of marriage. Loni then got married to Ross Bickell in 1973. This marriage lasted until 1981.
In 1988, Loni got married to her ‘Stroker Ace’ co-star Burt Reynolds and adopted a son named Quinton. The couple got divorced in 1993. In 2008, Loni married musician Bob Flick.
Loni has been actively involved in various charitable causes, primarily related to spreading awareness about chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a lung disease. Both her parents were regular smokers and suffered from the illness.
Her personal life has been a matter of speculation for her fans since her rise to stardom. In 1997, Loni published her autobiography, ‘My Life in High Heels.’