Mackenzie Phillips Biography
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Also Known As: Laura Mackenzie Phillips
Born in: Alexandria, Virginia
Famous as: Actress
Spouse/Ex-: Keith Levenson, Jeff Sessler (m. 1979–1981), Shane Fontayne (m. 1986–2000)
father: John Phillips
mother: Susan Adams
children: Shane Barakan
U.S. State: Virginia
City: Alexandria, Virginia
Laura Mackenzie Phillips is an American actor, singer, and writer, best known for her roles in the movie ‘American Graffiti’ and the sitcom ‘One Day at a Time.’ Her love for music made her start singing and performing at a tender age. Born into a dysfunctional family, she was exposed to the dark side of stardom, replete with drugs and alcohol. Her father’s lifestyle and addiction issues, too, influenced her. She has thus battled drug addiction throughout her life. She has been clean since 2008 and has penned two books depicting her life’s journey and her survival story from drug abuse. She currently works as a rehabilitation counselor and empowers drug users with her powerful journey to self-discovery and redemption.
- Laura Mackenzie Phillips was born on November 10, 1959, in Alexandria, Virginia, to John Phillips, a rock musician and the lead vocalist of the band ‘The Mamas and the Papas,’ and Suzy Phillips-January (or Susan Adams), a secretary at the ‘Pentagon’ and a former ballerina. After her parents’ divorce, when she was 3, she and her biological brother began living with her mother in her small apartment on weekdays. On weekends, they would be with their father and stepmother, Michelle, in their huge mansions or accompany their father on music tours. Her father’s popularity and extravagant rock-star lifestyle left a negative impact on her. Since an early age, her life was marred by drug and alcohol abuse.
- She was enrolled at ‘Highland Hall Waldorf School’ in Northridge, California. At the age of 12, following in her father’s footsteps, she formed a band with her classmates. Her celebrity father’s musical background and her own fame from starring in the movie ‘American Graffiti’ made people around her treat her differently. She also attended the ‘Hollywood Professional School,’ but was later expelled for her harsh remarks against the school.
- Her acting career began when film producer Fred Roos spotted her at one of her band’s performances and requested her father to allow her to audition for the movie ‘American Graffiti,’ directed by ‘Star Wars’ creator George Lucas. She auditioned and was chosen from a pool of 250 contestants. She then bagged small one-episode roles on TV shows such as ‘Go Ask Alice’ (1973), ‘Movin' On’ (1974), and ‘Baretta’ (1975). She also appeared in the 1975 film ‘Rafferty and the Gold Dust Twins.’
- Her first breakthrough role was for the TV show ‘One Day at a Time’ (1975), which catapulted her to fame and brought her a huge pay package. However, her rampant substance abuse caused two harmful overdoses and spoiled her wonderful career. She was late and unsystematic for her rehearsals and was arrested for disorderly conduct in 1977. She went for a 1.5-month break on the insistence of the producers of the show, before getting fired in 1980, when there were no significant improvements in her behavior. After her rehabilitation at the ‘Fair Oaks Hospital’ in 1981, she was rehired by the producers. However, her cocaine issue relapsed in 1982, causing her to collapse on the set. This became the primary reason for her final departure from the show. The show’s future storyline was written excluding her character.
- She was joined by her father, John, in reviving his old band as ‘The New Mamas and the Papas.’ Interestingly, she filled in her stepmother’s shoes and toured with the newly reformed band in the early 1990s, while still battling addiction. Finally, in 1992, she went through a long and rigorous drug rehabilitation program for 9 months. Between 1992 and1999, she was cast in minor roles in TV series such as ‘Beverly Hills, 90210’ (1994), ‘NYPD Blue’ (1996), and ‘Chicago Hope’ (1998).
- She played a fictional rock star performing original songs in the ‘Disney Channel’ series ‘So Weird’ (1999–2001) and was subsequently cast in the ‘Disney Channel’ original movie ‘Double Teamed’ (2002). Thereafter, she appeared in small TV roles.
- She was eventually cast in the ‘One Day at A Time’ reboot in 2017, as a counselor, coincidently reflecting her real-life struggles. Later, she had a recurring role in the famous ‘Netflix’ series ‘Orange is The New Black’ (2018).
- She currently works as a substance abuse counselor at the famous treatment facility ‘Breathe Life Healing Center.’
- Some of her memorable roles were those of ‘Carol Morrison’ in ‘American Graffiti’ (1973), ‘Julie Horvath’ in ‘One Day at a Time’ (1975–1983), and ‘Molly Phillips’ in ‘So Weird’ (1999). She has written a personal memoir, ‘High on Arrival’ (2009), and has detailed her recovery from drug addiction in ‘Hopeful Healing: Essays on Managing Recovery and Surviving Addiction’ (2017).
- Mackenzie Phillips has married thrice. In 1979, at the age of 19, she got married to 25-year-old rock group manager Jeffrey Sessler. They divorced in 1981.
- She walked the aisle with English rock guitarist Michael Barakan, known as “Shane Fontayne,” in 1986. In 1987, the couple had a son, Shane Barakan. They separated in 2000.
- Since 2005, she is married to actor Keith Levenson.
- She has an older biological brother, Jeffrey (actor); two half-sisters, Bijou Phillips (actor) and Chynna Phillips (singer); and one half-brother, Tamerlane Phillips (actor).
- After the release of her autobiography in September 2007 and her subsequent appearance on ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show,’ she made shocking revelations of drug use at the age of 11 and an incestuous relationship with her father.
- She has had trouble with the law throughout her life. She often got arrested for cocaine possession and disorderly conduct in the past.
- Her nickname is “Mack.”
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