Susan Blakely

Last updated
Susan Blakely
Born (1948-09-07) September 7, 1948 (age 70)
Years active1972–present
Spouse(s)Todd Merer
(m. 1969; div. 1981)
Steve Jaffe
(m. 1982–Present)

Susan Blakely (born September 7, 1948) is an American actress and model. She is best known for her leading role in the 1976 ABC miniseries Rich Man, Poor Man , for which she received a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama. Blakely also has appeared in films including The Towering Inferno (1974), Report to the Commissioner (1975), Capone (1975), The Concorde ... Airport '79 (1979), and Over the Top (1987).

American Broadcasting Company American broadcast television network

The American Broadcasting Company (ABC) is an American commercial broadcast television network that is a flagship property of Walt Disney Television, a subsidiary of the Disney Media Networks division of The Walt Disney Company. The network is headquartered in Burbank, California on Riverside Drive, directly across the street from Walt Disney Studios and adjacent to the Roy E. Disney Animation Building, But the network's second corporate headquarters and News headquarters remains in New York City, New York at their broadcast center on 77 West 66th Street in Lincoln Square in Upper West Side Manhattan.

Rich Man, Poor Man is a 1976 American television miniseries based on the 1969 novel of the same name by Irwin Shaw that aired on ABC in one- or two-hour episodes mostly on Monday nights over seven weeks, beginning February 1. It was produced by Universal Television and was the second time programming of this nature had been attempted. The first TV miniseries, QB VII, had aired — also on ABC — in 1974. These projects proved to be a critical and ratings success and were the forerunner for similar projects based on literary works, such as Roots and Shōgun. The film stars Peter Strauss, Nick Nolte and Susan Blakely.

The Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama is an award presented annually by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA). The award honors the best performance by an actress in a drama television series.


Early life

Blakely was born in Frankfurt, Germany, the daughter of American parents, Mary Louise, a former art teacher, and Colonel Larry Blakely, a career Army officer. [1] [2] After she attended University of Texas at El Paso, she moved to New York and studied acting with Warren Robertson, Lee Strasberg, Sanford Meisner [3] at the Neighborhood Playhouse [ citation needed ] and later studied with Charles Conrad in Los Angeles. She currently studies with Warner Loughlin. She began a professional modeling career in 1967 at Ford Modeling Agency. [2] [4]

Frankfurt Place in Hesse, Germany

Frankfurt is a metropolis and the largest city of the German federal state of Hesse, and its 746,878 (2017) inhabitants make it the fifth-largest city of Germany after Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, and Cologne. On the River Main, it forms a continuous conurbation with the neighbouring city of Offenbach am Main, and its urban area has a population of 2.3 million. The city is at the centre of the larger Rhine-Main Metropolitan Region, which has a population of 5.5 million and is Germany's second-largest metropolitan region after the Rhine-Ruhr Region. Since the enlargement of the European Union in 2013, the geographic centre of the EU is about 40 km (25 mi) to the east of Frankfurt's central business district. Like France and Franconia, the city is named after the Franks. Frankfurt is the largest city in the Rhine Franconian dialect area.

Germany Federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north, and the Alps, Lake Constance and the High Rhine to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.

United States Army Land warfare branch of the United States Armed Forces

The United States Army (USA) is the land warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the seven uniformed services of the United States, and is designated as the Army of the United States in the United States Constitution. As the oldest and most senior branch of the U.S. military in order of precedence, the modern U.S. Army has its roots in the Continental Army, which was formed to fight the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783)—before the United States of America was established as a country. After the Revolutionary War, the Congress of the Confederation created the United States Army on 3 June 1784 to replace the disbanded Continental Army. The United States Army considers itself descended from the Continental Army, and dates its institutional inception from the origin of that armed force in 1775.


Blakely arrived in Hollywood in the early 1970s, and began appearing in supporting roles in films including Savages , The Way We Were , and The Lords of Flatbush . Her first major role was as Patty Simmons in the 1974 disaster film The Towering Inferno . The following year, she played the female lead roles in films Report to the Commissioner alongside Michael Moriarty, and Capone opposite Ben Gazzara.

<i>Savages</i> (1972 film) 1972 film by James Ivory

Savages is a 1972 Merchant Ivory Film directed by James Ivory and screenplay by George W. S. Trow and Michael O'Donoghue, based on an idea by Ivory.

<i>The Way We Were</i> 1973 film by Sydney Pollack

The Way We Were is a 1973 American romantic drama film directed by Sydney Pollack and starring Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford. Arthur Laurents wrote both the novel and screenplay based on his college days at Cornell University and his experiences with the House Un-American Activities Committee.

<i>The Lords of Flatbush</i> 1974 film directed by Martin Davidson

The Lords of Flatbush is a 1974 American drama film about street teenagers in leather jackets from the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York.

Blakely gained wide critical acclaim with her leading role in the 1976 ABC television miniseries Rich Man, Poor Man , based on the 1969 novel of the same name by Irwin Shaw. For her performance, Blakely won that year's Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama and earned a nomination for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie. [5] She earned a second Emmy Award nomination the following year when she reprised her role in Rich Man, Poor Man Book II . [5] After her television success, she played leading roles in two movies in 1979: the disaster film The Concorde ... Airport '79 opposite Alain Delon, and the sport drama Dreamer with Tim Matheson.

<i>Rich Man, Poor Man</i> (novel) novel by Irwin Shaw

Rich Man, Poor Man is a 1969 novel by Irwin Shaw. It is the last of the novels of Shaw's middle period before he began to concentrate, in his last works such as Evening In Byzantium,Nightwork,Bread Upon The Waters, and Acceptable Losses, on the inevitability of impending death. The title is taken from the nursery rhyme "Tinker, Tailor". The novel was adapted into a 1976 miniseries.

Irwin Shaw American writer

Irwin Shaw was an American playwright, screenwriter, novelist, and short-story author whose written works have sold more than 14 million copies. He is best known for two of his novels: The Young Lions (1948), about the fate of three soldiers during World War II, made into a film of the same name starring Marlon Brando and Montgomery Clift, and Rich Man, Poor Man (1970), about the fate of two siblings after World War II. In 1976, it was made into a popular miniseries starring Peter Strauss, Nick Nolte, and Susan Blakely.

<i>Rich Man, Poor Man Book II</i> television series

Rich Man, Poor Man Book II is an American television miniseries that aired on ABC in one-hour episodes at 9:00pm ET/PT on Tuesday nights between September 21, 1976 and March 8, 1977. A sequel to Rich Man, Poor Man that had aired the previous season, it focused on the further exploits and conflicts of the Jordache family.

During 1980s and 1990s, Blakely played leading roles in many made-for-television movies. She portrayed Frances Farmer in the 1982 film based on Farmer's autobiography, Will There Really Be a Morning?, for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film. She played Eva Braun opposite Anthony Hopkins in the Adolf Hitler biographical film The Bunker (1981), and Joan Kennedy in The Ted Kennedy Jr. Story (1986). She appeared in such feature films as Over the Top (1987), My Mom's a Werewolf (1989), and Hate Crime (2005). She recently guest-starred on This Is Us and NCIS and in past years on Hotel , The Twilight Zone , Falcon Crest , Murder, She Wrote , Nip/Tuck , Brothers & Sisters , Southland , and Cougar Town . [6]

Frances Farmer American actress

Frances Elena Farmer was an American actress and television host. She appeared in over a dozen feature films over the course of her career, though she garnered notoriety for the various sensationalized accounts of her life, especially her involuntary commitment to psychiatric hospitals and subsequent mental health struggles.

The Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film or Best Actress – Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television is an award presented annually by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA). It is given in honor of an actress who has delivered an outstanding performance in a leading role on a miniseries or motion picture made for television for the calendar year. The award was first presented at the 39th Golden Globe Awards on January 30, 1982 to Jane Seymour for her role on East of Eden. Performances by actresses in a miniseries or television film were originally awarded in the Best Actress – Television Series Drama category before the creation of this category.

Eva Braun Longtime companion and later wife of Adolf Hitler

Eva Anna Paula Hitler was the longtime companion of Adolf Hitler and, for less than 40 hours, his wife. Braun met Hitler in Munich when she was a 17-year-old assistant and model for his personal photographer Heinrich Hoffmann. She began seeing Hitler often about two years later. She attempted suicide twice during their early relationship. By 1936, she was a part of his household at the Berghof near Berchtesgaden and lived a sheltered life throughout World War II. Braun was a photographer, and she took many of the surviving colour photographs and films of Hitler. She was a key figure within Hitler's inner social circle, but did not attend public events with him until mid-1944, when her sister Gretl married Hermann Fegelein, the SS liaison officer on his staff.

Personal life

In 1969, Blakely married a lawyer, Todd Merer, but divorced in 1981. In 1982, Blakely married media consultant, film and television producer Steve Jaffe. They reside in Beverly Hills. In 2003, Blakely created a semi-precious jewelry line from her own designs. [4]



1972 Savages Cecily
1973 The Way We Were Judianne
1974 The Lords of Flatbush Jane Bradshaw
1974 The Towering Inferno Patty
1975 Report to the Commissioner Patty Butler
1975 Shampoo Girl on StreetUncredited
1975 Capone Iris Crawford
1979 Dreamer Karen
1979 The Concorde ... Airport '79 Maggie Whelan
1987 Over the Top Christina Hawk
1987The SurvivalistLinda Ryan
1989 Dream a Little Dream Cherry Diamond
1989 My Mom's a Werewolf Leslie Shaber
1990 Out of Sight, Out of Mind Alice Lundgren
1992 Russian Holiday Susan Dennison
1994 Seven Sundays Alice
1999Gut Feeling
2001Crash Point ZeroBarbara Esmond
2002Hungry HeartsBarbi Harris
2004L.A. TwisterVivian
2005 Hate Crime Martha Boyd
2008 Grizzly Park Unhappy Camper
2008Mating DanceAbby's Mother
2010 The Genesis Code Beverly Truman
2011 Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2 Vivian Ashe
2013Green BriefsTheresa
2017DisplacementCarol Sinclair


1976 Rich Man, Poor Man Julie PrescottMiniseries
Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama
Nominated — Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
1976 Rich Man, Poor Man Book II Julie PrescottMiniseries
Nominated — Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
1977Secrets Andrea FlemingTelevision film
1980Make Me an OfferJoyce WindsorTelevision film
1980A Cry for LovePolly HarrisTelevision film
1981The Oklahoma City DollsSally Jo PurkeyTelevision film
1981 The Bunker Eva Braun Television film
1983Will There Really Be a Morning? Frances Farmer Television film
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film
1984 The Hitchhiker MelodyEpisode: "Remembering Melody"
1985StingrayEvelyn DecterTelevision film
1985 The Love Boat Nicole Phillips2 episodes
1986 Blood & Orchids Marie FarrellTelevision film
1986 Annihilator LaylaTelevision film
1986The Ted Kennedy Jr. Story Joan Kennedy Television film
1987 The Twilight Zone Linda WolfeEpisode: "The Card/The Junction"
1985–1987 Hotel Marion Thorne / Dr. Ann Vargo / Allison3 episodes
1987 Fatal Confession: A Father Dowling Mystery Patricia ErdainTelevision film
1988Broken AngelCatherine CoburnTelevision film
1988April MorningSarah CooperTelevision film
1988Hiroshima MaidenBetty BennettTelevision film
1988 Ladykillers Lilah CorbettTelevision film
1988 In the Heat of the Night Claudia MerrillEpisode: "The Family Secret"
1990 The Incident BillieTelevision film
1990 Falcon Crest Anne Bowen3 episodes
1990 Dead Reckoning Alex BarnardTelevision film
1990Murder Times SevenGert KileyTelevision film
1991 And the Sea Will Tell Gail BugliosiTelevision film
1991BlackmailLucindaTelevision film
1991 Wildflower Ada GuthrieTelevision film
1992 Against Her Will: An Incident in Baltimore BillieTelevision film
1992 Intruders Leigh HollandMiniseries
1993No Child of MinePeggy YoungTelevision film
1994 Walker, Texas Ranger Meredith ClancyEpisode: "Deadly Vision"
1994The True Story of the Menendez MurdersLeslie AbramsonTelevision film
1989–1994 Murder, She Wrote Various4 episodes
1995 Step by Step Pam MarshallEpisode: "She Came in Through the Bedroom Window"
1995-2000 Diagnosis: Murder Various2 episodes
1996 Co-ed Call Girl Teri HalbertTelevision film
1996Color Me PerfectDr. Linda RyanTelevision film
1998Broken Silence: A Moment of Truth MovieMargaret CarlyleTelevision film
1998 7th Heaven Elizabeth BrownEpisode: "And a Nice Chianti"
2000 Chain of Command Meg DanforthTelevision film
2000The Perfect NannyDr. Julia BruningTelevision film
2000Her Married LoverLaura MannhartTelevision film
2001A Mother's TestimonyDonna MulroneyTelevision film
2001 Strong Medicine Camille CantrellEpisode: "Rebirth"
2005The Perfect NeighborJeannie CostiganTelevision film
2006 Cold Case Mollie FeliceEpisode: "Baby Blues"
2007 Side Order of Life Margot McIntyre3 episodes
2007 Nip/Tuck Valerie FarrellEpisode: "Everett Poe"
2008 Murder 101: New Age Camilla MeeraTelevision film
2008 Two and a Half Men Angie2 episodes
2010 Brothers & Sisters Celia CalmartinEpisode: "Faking It"
2009, 2011 Southland Linda Sherman2 episodes
2012 Cougar Town BetsyEpisode: "Ways to Be Wicked"
2013The Perfect BoyfriendClaraTelevision film
2017 NCIS Dr. Cadence DarwinEpisode: "Exit Strategy"
2017 Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Gigi PlimptonEpisode: "Josh Is Irrelevant."
2017-2018 This Is Us AnneRecurring role

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  1. "Susan Blakely profile" . Retrieved June 6, 2015.
  2. 1 2 Hal Erickson. "Susan Blakely - Biography, Movie Highlights and Photos". AllMovie. Retrieved June 6, 2015.
  3. Blakely, Susan. "Susan Blakely Official Home Page" . Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  4. 1 2 "Susan Blakely profile". Retrieved June 6, 2015.
  5. 1 2 "Susan Blakely". Television Academy. Retrieved June 6, 2015.
  6. "Susan Blakely signs for Cougar Town". Digital Spy. Retrieved June 6, 2015.