Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Shepherd's Back, and on the 'List'

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Shepherd's Back, and on the 'List'

Article excerpt

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- For Cybill Shepherd, her role on "The Client List" is all about happy endings.

After a career as a teen model in the late '60s, she made her transition to film as the muse to boyfriend-director Peter Bogdanovich in his critically beloved "The Last Picture Show," and then scored commercial and critical success again in director Elaine May's "The Heartbreak Kid" and Martin Scorsese's "Taxi Driver."

But two ambitious big-screen Bogdanovich disappointments ("Daisy Miller" and "At Long Last Love") were, in part, the reason she retired in the late '70s.

Ms. Shepherd returned with two successful TV series, the '80s detective comedy "Moonlighting" and the '90s sitcom "Cybill," the memories of both tarnished by stories of behind-the-scenes strife after Ms. Shepherd was snubbed by the Emmys and watched co-stars Bruce Willis and Christine Baranski go home with the gold.

She addressed those issues in her 2000 autobiography, denying behind-the-scenes arguments, but admitting: "The grain of truth is this: Who doesn't want to win an Emmy?"

Since then, the 62-year-old Ms. Shepherd has focused on family and work. Despite eternal leading-lady looks she took on a blast of colorful supporting character-actor roles. She's a regular in Lifetime's "The Client List," which last weekend saw its audience grow to 2.9 million viewers, making it the network's second-highest- rated Sunday series, right behind its perennial hit "Army Wives." In demographic-focused cable-network terms, it's a breakthrough hit.

In the series, Ms. Shepherd portrays the Bible-thumpin', tough- Texas-talkin' mama Linette with the tease-it-to-Jesus-hairdo. Her only child, Jennifer Love Hewitt's Riley, is forced to support her family working as a masseuse -- and not the kind her mama thinks.

"I think 'the iron butterfly' is how they referred to (the late first lady) Lady Bird Johnson. Of course that became 'steel magnolias,' so, definitely, Linette falls into that category," Ms. Shepherd said in a recent interview. …

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