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Now 68, Candice Bergen (in her daughter Chloe's apartment on New York City's Central Park West) tells PEOPLE she "noticed immediately" when men's attentions began to fade as she aged. "People were always lovely to me, but suddenly they were polite in a way they never had been before," she says. "I thought, wait a minute, what's going on here? I just sort of simmered quietly, trying to figure it out. You adjust."
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"I was on camera from the time I was born," says Bergen (in 1949), whose father, ventriloquist Edgar Bergen, often featured her in promo shots for his TV show. "It gave you a sense of entitlement because you were kind of a tiny celebrity unto your
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Before Starting Over in 1979, "I was never really allowed to be funny" onscreen, Bergen says. Her performance – which included off-key singing ("not a stretch for me") to try to win back her husband, played by Burt Reynolds – won her an Oscar nomination.
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"I modeled summers while I was in college," says Bergen. "I didn't do it enough to grow to hate it." Her father had made sure her looks never went to her head. "He said beautiful women commit suicide so I should develop my interests. It was a little dramatic. But I was forewarned, that's for sure."
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THE MURPHY BROWN GANG
"Heaven. It was a great group of people," says Bergen of her costars in the '90s hit comedy. "We took ski trips together – the core group was all friends."
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Her Murphy Brown character's decision to have a baby on her own prompted then Vice President Dan Quayle to issue much-ridiculed criticisms of the show in 1992 – and sparked a national conversation about single motherhood.
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The show "was as famous as I ever got," says Bergen, who won the Emmy for Best Actress in a Comedy Series in 1989. "The second it ended it was like they wiped the screen clean. With younger people it would be, 'Yes, and who are you?' I was like, 'Excuse me? Seriously?'"
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Bergen (with Mike Myers and Dana Carvey in a 1990 Wayne's World skit) hosted SNL five times between 1975 and 1990. "It was just the purest terror," she says. "But it was so much fun."
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ALL IN THE FAMILY
"My childhood photos, one weirder than the next," says Bergen (with her parents and pseudo-sibling, dummy Charlie McCarthy, in a Christmas promo shot for her ventriloquist dad's show). "Charlie was the breadwinner in the family – like a head of state. Every now and then I come across journals where there are things like, 'I want to kill him.'" When her father died he left $10,000 to Charlie – and nothing to Candice.
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MOTHER AND DAUGHTER
Initially "beyond ambivalent" about motherhood, Bergen took to it the minute Chloe, her daughter with first husband Louis Malle, was born. "I wouldn't leave her! Just not happening," Bergen remembers. Now 29 and an editor at Vogue, Chloe (here en route to a 2002 SNL cast party with her mom) will marry this summer at her late father's French estate, the same place her parents wed.
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A NEW START
Bergen wed real-estate developer Marshall Rose (with her and Chloe in 2007) in 2000. "Right after we got married I put on 25 or 30 lbs.," she says. "I refuse to cave in and deprive myself."
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Of Sandra Bullock, her costar in the 2000 hit, Bergen says "She's everything you think she is and more." And the two share a proud love of carbs. "I was talking to Sandra on the phone about a Gravity luncheon I attended a year or two ago and she said, 'The only two women at the table who were eating bread were you and me!' I don't even like being with women who don't eat. Because, come on."
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Bergen and boyfriend Terry Melcher, Doris Day's son, were living together at 10050 Cielo Drive in Benedict Canyon in 1969. "Terry wanted to record an album with Charles Manson," she says. "Then he got spooked and suddenly we were moving. I was like, in a few months? He said 'No, tomorrow.' We moved to his mother's house and one morning the telescope was missing from the deck. Terry got a message from Manson saying he'd taken it and knew where he lived. We didn't know what else he might be capable of." A few months later the Manson Family murdered Sharon Tate and four others – in the house at 10050 Cielo Drive.