The Show “Murphy Brown”, The Cast, Pictures, And Trivia!
This series is about a reporter, Murphy Brown (Candice Bergen), who works for a fictional newsmagazine show called, “FYI”.
Murphy is a single, hard-nosed reporter who doesn’t take anything from anyone! In the first episode, she is returning from a stint at the Betty Ford Clinic, due to her alcohol addiction.
She has also just quit smoking, so she has a lot to overcome and is not in the mood to deal with any new problems. Unfortunately this simply is not to be.
While she was away, Miles Silverberg (Grant Shaud) was appointed the new executive producer of FYI. A 25 year old whom Murphy does not want or respect, although he is anxious to try and earn it if at all possible. Then there is the woman who was Murphy’s temporary replacement, Corky Sherwood (Faith Ford). Corky is pretty and sweet but not very bright, when it comes to her knowledge (or rather lack thereof) of world affairs. But due to a hearty response from the audience, the network brass has decided to keep her on, a decision that Murphy finds intolerable. And to top things off, she goes home at the end of the day only to find that her house, which was supposed to have been repainted while she was gone, is in a complete state of disarray and unfinished. The painter she hired, Eldin Bernecky (Robert Pastorelli), turned out to be more artist than painter, and decided to use her house to express himself. Although at first Murphy is annoyed by this, she quickly adapts to both Eldin’s artwork, as well as Eldin himself.
Despite the changes that have occurred in her absence, Murphy does have familiar hangouts and old friends that she can lean on and escape to. Her best friend and co-worker Frank Fontana (Joe Regalbuto), is always there for her and manages to make her feel better even when situations in her life seem overwhelming. Then there is Jim Dial (Charles Kimbrough), the veteran anchor of the show as well as one of her oldest friends. Jim can be a bit stiff at times, but is supportive and caring of Murphy, and affectionately refers to her as “Slugger”. Lastly there is “Phil’s”, Murphy and her friends’ favorite place to eat, relax or get a scoop on a story. Of course none of this would be possible without the gruff, wise and all-knowing owner, Phil. Phil is much more than the owner of the popular watering hole, and he is an institution in Washington. Nothing happens that he doesn’t know about! Nothing. He and Murphy are close and count on one another, not only for friendship, but also for each other’s ability to be honest with the other, regardless of the situation.
Murphy Brown (Candice Bergen)-Murphy is a recovering alcoholic, former smoker and tough as nails woman reporter, who has managed to do the almost impossible…become “one of the boys”. She is intelligent, sharp-tongued and prone to bursts of anger at almost any moment. She is able it seems, to handle any situation that comes her way, with the possible exception of dealing with her parents. Despite having a reputation for being somewhat unsympathetic, the direct opposite is seen on many occasions. She is a strong supporter of women’s rights and does not appear to agree with or approve of a variety of politicians or their decisions. She also has a tendency to become banned from the White House during each President’s term in office for one reason or another. Murphy however, is as strong and loyal a friend as there is, and as dedicated and honest a reporter as is humanly possible. Like everyone, she has her problems, but she always fights tooth and nail to overcome them. And this includes her inability to keep a secretary for more than a few days!
Frank Fontana (Joe Regalbuto)-Frank is Murphy’s best friend, and occasional competition. He is the risk-taking investigative reporter of the bunch, but also the one who seems to have the most insecurities. These run the gamut from problems with women and relationships to worrying about the toupee that the producers force him to wear on the show. Due to these and other issues, Frank has spent a good portion of his life in therapy. He is however, kind and supportive and willing to do what he can to help others. And his relationship with “Murph” as he calls her is very important to him.
Jim Dial (Charles Kimbrough)-Jim is the somewhat stoic anchor of the show, who on a few occasions, goes back to his roots and reports a story or two. He is a reporter from back in the days when they used a pencil and paper, had integrity and got their experience on the job. Jim is married to Doris, (Janet Carroll) who’s demeanor is somewhat similar to his in that neither one of them are apt to show their emotions very quickly. Jim is easily embarrassed when it comes to talking about either very personal issues or feminine problems of any kind. He is decent, reliable, and follows his beliefs without being easily swayed.
Corky Sherwood (Faith Ford)-Corky is a former Miss America from a small town in Louisiana. She is attractive and almost sickeningly sweet at times, with a perkiness that often makes her the target of her fellow co-workers. Though she is intelligent, she at first simply does not have a clear understanding of the world and its events. This does change over time. And though in the beginning, Murphy cannot imagine a friendship with the sometimes gullible and completely opposite Corky, they eventually grow quite close.
Miles Silverberg (Grant Shaud)-Miles is the executive producer of FYI. And since he was given the job without Murphy’s input or approval, this only makes his job harder. He is a Jewish yuppie that has only had experience in public television. He is 25, an overachiever and anxious to prove what he can do. Of course he is also terrified of Murphy, and though he wants to gain her respect, is unsure of just how to do that. He is naive and seems always to be a bundle of nerves, wondering if he made the right decisions, despite being highly intelligent and usually having sound judgment. When it comes to the opposite sex however, his judgment does tend to fail him on occasion.
Eldin Bernecky (Robert Pastorelli)-Eldin is the house painter that Murphy hired to paint her home. But Eldin considers himself an artist. After coming home to a mural on her kitchen ceiling, she decides to keep him on. And once the job for which she hired him is finished, they both find ways for him to stay and do more. She quickly comes to rely on him as both someone to talk to, and someone that she can trust.
Phil (Pat Corley)-Phil is the owner of “Phil’s”, the bar and grill located conveniently across the street from FYI. Phil is the man you go to when you want to know anything that goes on in Washington D.C. He knows everyone and everything. He even claims to know who “Deep Throat” was. (The identity of Deep Throat of course was unknown to the world until 2005, which was seven years after the filming of Murphy Brown ended.) Phil is married to Phyllis and they have several children. Although at times, he can be somewhat brusque, underneath he is a caring, concerned man whom everyone loves and trusts.
This show is incredibly funny, heart-warming, entertaining and yes, even educational at times. The characters all blend together perfectly and the storylines are amazing. Also, the recurring cast on this series is particularly enjoyable. Throughout its 10 years on the air it always brought you a laugh, and sometimes even brought a tear to your eye. I give this show 9 out of 10.
Murphy Brown–Candice Bergen
Charles Kimbrough–Jim Dial
Corky Sherwood–Faith Ford
Frank Fontana–Joe Regalbuto
Miles Silverberg-Grant Shaud
Eldin Bernecky-Robert Pastorelli
Recurring Cast Years
John-John Hostetter 1988-1997
Kay Carter-Shepley-Lily Tomlin 1996-1998
Carl Wishnitski-Ritch Brinkley 1988-1997
Stan Lansing-Garry Marshall 1994-1997
Miller Redfield-Christopher Rich 1989-1997
Peter Hunt-Scott Bakula 1993-1996
Eugene Kinsella-Alan Oppenheimer 1989-1992
Doris Dial-Janet Carroll/Concetta Tomei 1990-1998
Phil Jr.-Pat Finn 1995-1997
Jerry Gold-Jay Thomas 1989-1998
Audrey Cohen-Jane Leeves 1989-1993
Marv-Ernest-Frank Taylor 1990-1996
Bobby-Peter Chew 1991-1995
McGovern-Paula Cale 1995
Will Forrest-Scott Bryce 1990-1992
Bartender-Fred Stoller 1991-1996
Avery Brown-Dyllan Christopher 1994-1995
Avery Brown-haley Joel Osment 1997-1998
Andrew J. Lansing-Paul Reubens 1995-1997
Matthew-Matt Griesser 1996-1997
Jake Lowenstein-Robin Thomas 1988-1996
Mitchell Baldwin-Julius Carry 1992-1996
Avery Brown Sr.-Colleen Dewhurst 1989-1990
Bill Brown-Darren McGavin 1989-1992
Walter Cronkite as himself 1989-1997
Robert Pastorelli (Eldin Bernecky) died in 2004, in his home at Hollywood Hills of a heroin overdose. Pastorelli had been a drug addict many years before and had recovered. But sadly, he fell victim to it once again, costing him his life.
After Candice Bergen had received five Emmy Awards for her role as Murphy Brown, she then declined to accept any further nominations for that particular role.
Grant Shaud (Miles Silverberg) who plays the executive producer of the fictional FYI, actually graduated from the University of Richmond in real life with a degree in journalism.
Lily Tomlin has confirmed that she has been in a romantic relationship with comedy writer, Jane Wagner for the past 42 years, since 1971.
Faith Ford and Jane Leeves were roommates at one time. Leeves of course had a recurring role on “Murphy Brown” as Miles Silverberg’s girlfriend, Audrey Cohen.
Pat Corley actually got his start in entertainment while still in his teens as a ballet dancer for the Stockton Ballet
Joe Regalbuto (Frank Fontana) was on the popular nighttime soap opera “Knots Landing” for two seasons.
Charles Kimbrough (Jim Dial) is married to “Alice” actress, Beth Howland, who played Vera.
The outside shot of Murphy’s house is the same building used on the “Wonder Woman” series intended to be the home of Diana Prince.
An article in the “Ladies Home Journal” magazine in 2000, suggested that the CBS network originally wanted the part of Murphy Brown to be played by actress Heather Locklear.
Faith Ford (Corky Sherwood) was in the series, “Hope & Faith”.
The Murphy Brown series had several running jokes throughout its ten year run. One of the funniest and most interesting was the fact that Murphy could not seem to keep a secretary. During the show’s run, there were a total of 93 secretaries.
Grant Shaud lived with on-screen girlfriend Jane Leeves in real life. Both before and during the time that she acted on the show.
During the last episode of season four, the character of Murphy Brown gives birth to her son Avery, as a single mother. At about the same time, Vice President Quayle actually criticized the Murphy Brown show during a televised debate. His basic issue with the show was that it was advocating single motherhood and thereby the downfall of family values by Murphy having a baby out of wedlock. In the season 5 premiere, the Murphy Brown producers and writers fought back. A clip of the debate was shown on the episode and a good deal of the dialogue had to do with making fun of the Vice President and his remarks. Later, although the character of Avery was just that, a character, Vice President Quayle sent him a stuffed elephant.
Pat Corley (Phil) served in the United States Army during the Korean War.
Before acting, Candice Bergen (Murphy Brown) was a fashion model. She also studied photography, worked as a photojournalist, wrote many articles, as well as a play and a memoir titled, “Knock Wood”.
Candice Bergen once lived with the son of Doris Day (Terry Melcher) at the address of 10050 Cielo Drive in Los Angeles. Later, it was inhabited by Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate. Two of the victims of the now famous 1969 case, where five people were murdered in that house by followers of Charles Manson. The house has since been completely demolished.
Faith Ford has Graves Disease, which is having an overactive thyroid.
Charles Kimbrough is part of the 2012 Roundabout Theater Company’s Broadway revival of “Harvey”. Kimbrough plays the part of William R. Chumley, M.D. The lead in the play, Elwood P. Dowd, is played by “The Big Bang Theory” actor, Jim Parsons.
This is a quote from Candice Bergen. “I may not be the greatest actress but I’ve become the greatest at screen orgasms.” “Ten seconds of heavy breathing, roll your head from side to side, simulate a slight asthma attack and die a little.”
Colleen Dewhurst who played Murphy’s mother, Avery, died on the show. This was done because Dewhurst herself had died in real life at the age of 67, due to cervical cancer. Dewhurst died only two days before she won her fourth Emmy. It was for her role as Murphy’s mother, Avery.
Candice Bergen was also on the popular series “Boston Legal”, as lawyer Shirley Schmidt.
Faith Ford published her own cookbook in 2004, entitled “Cooking with Faith”.
Joe Regalbuto played the part of Frank Fontana on three different television shows: Murphy Brown, Family Guy and Ink.
Robert Pastorelli dreamed of becoming a professional boxer, but a car crash on his 19th birthday ended that for good.
Candice Bergen‘s parents were Frances and Edgar Bergen. Her mother was a Powers model, and her father was a ventriloquist, actor and comedian.
Pat Corley died sadly, of congestive heart failure in 2006. He was 76 years old. His wife of 48 years, Iris Carter, had died only the year before. They had 5 children together and 12 grandchildren.
After Murphy Brown had ended, Bergen was asked by CBS to report stories for the television show “60 Minutes”. She turned them down however, because she did not wish for the lines between journalist and actor to be blurred or confused.
Lily Tomlin won the incredibly prestigious Mark Twain Prize for humor in 2003, from the Kennedy Center.
Due to her political activism Bergen accepted a date from Nobel Peace Prize winner, Henry Kissinger. She was also a part of a “Yippie” prank in 1967, where she and Abbie Hoffman (social and political activist who was also the co-founder of Youth International Party or “Yippie”) as well as others, tossed dollar bills onto the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. This caused a temporary shut-down.
Candice Bergen was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 2010.
Like her character, Corky Sherwood on Murphy Brown, Ford is also from Louisiana.
Towards the end of the Murphy Brown series, Joe Regalbuto directed more than twenty of the series’ episodes.
Some have asked Candice Bergen just who Murphy Brown was modeled after, her reply: “Mike Wallace in a dress”.
In 2012, the cast of Murphy Brown reunited on the show “Good Morning America”, after being on the TV Land awards and being presented with the Impact Award. The group has remained friends throughout the years and are still friends today.