Monday, June 21, 2021

Weird Scenes Inside the Resume of Candice Bergen

Most actors and actresses struggle for years to break into The Industry, spending a small fortune on acting lessons, photos, resumes, etc.  Most never make it, and eventually leave Hollywood behind.  Not Candice Bergen, though.  This gal literally had fame and fortune served up on a golden platter.  Nepotism could have opened some doors(her dad was a big name in The Industry), but that alone can't account for her success. 

Bergen launched a successful modeling career when she was in her late teens.  Her looks also had a lot to do with her flunking out of Penn, where she’d gotten A’s and F’s simultaneously.  But so what?  She was barely nineteen and a mini-celebrity.  “It was quite tantalizing what I was being offered out in the world.”  (Oscar nominated director)Sidney Lumet asked her to play the coolly beautiful lesbian Lakey in the film version of The Group. Esquire gave her an assignment to write about it.  Before The Group was even released she was given a co-starring role with Steve McQueen in The Sand Pebbles (a huge big budget production). 

Knock Wood by Candice Bergen, pg134 "Sidney Lumet had contacted me before I left college. ...he.. was interested in me for the part of Lakey." [Candice had experience in just two college plays at this time]

pg152  Producer Robert Wise recruits her to star opposite Steve McQueen

pg162  Fall 1965  she travels to Rome, Beirut, Damascus, Cairo, and Calcutta  before going to Taiwan in Nov 1965 to film The Sand Pebbles 

pg96   "I made other friends on Taiwan:  American bureau chiefs who briefed me on the island and generously took me on tours; US Military brass.. and Taipei's diplomatic circuit... "

Candice continues with her world travels:
pg169  1966  She travels to Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Rhodesia, and South Africa

pg171 Summer '66 in Greece, where she is sought out by yet another director for another movie (The Day the Fish Came Out)

pg172  She goes to Paris, where she just happens to meet another director who again offers a role for yet another film(Live for Life).  Films in Amsterdam, East Africa

 Candy kept getting juicy roles, despite bad reviews of her acting ability:
Candice Bergen wanted a life of adventure...   Her reviews were often lukewarm, but directors kept casting her, enchanted no doubt by her Scandinavian beauty... Another early mentor was the celebrated photographer Richard Avedon.  [Candy seems to be surrounded by highly-placed, influential 'mentors.']
Nicknamed “the Ice Queen”, her earliest on-screen roles had received fairly dismal reviews. ...
By then she had signed with Ford Models. Film director Sidney Lumet spotted her posing with a leopard-skin* pillow in a Revlon ad and cast her as a lesbian in his controversial 1966 movie The Group, but her first foray on the screen didn’t impress critics.                                                                           
Reviewers were left equally bemused by her performance in 1970’s The Adventurers (critics: "It alternates from slaughter to torpor to sex to torpor and back again to slaughter." “Bergen performs as though clubbed over the head … the dialogue may simply have stunned her.”)

Candice seems to have been as confused as anybody as to how she got to be a star:

1968 interview: “Why do I do it? Why?” she says. “It’s not what I am or want to be. It’s so contrary to what makes me happy. And I honestly don’t know what I’m doing. ... I’m not an actress. I’m just a kid who goes out there and reads a line..... I would be very proud of myself if I could give up acting.”    [Why can't she?]


Candy even admitted in her book that she didn't bother taking any acting lesson until after her twelfth movie!  You won't find the word 'audition' in her book.  All the while, she is being courted by some people in very high places:

November 28, 1966    Candice also managed to get invited to the social event of the decade, the BLACK AND WHITE BALL at the Plaza Hotel in NYC.   Hosted by author Truman Capote, 540 of his elite friends attended the masquerade ball. 

The attendees mostly included the creme de la creme of New York society.  Why was Bergen included on the guest list?

                                                         Eyes Wide Shut?

CANDICE BERGEN, actress: I remember faces: Frank Sinatra and Mia Farrow, ... I was a new girl in town and wasn’t really sure why I’d been invited.

"There was a guy who wore an executioner’s hood,” Bergen recalls of the party. “It got a little creepy."                                                         Throughout the 1960’s, she would attend lavish parties thrown by the likes of CBS president William Paley.                     She went from pheasant shooting on the Continent with uptight European aristocrats into the arms of her old high-school flame, Doris Day’s son, record producer Terry Melcher, one of the hippest of the L.A. hip.

May 1967 Candice appears on the cover of Vogue Magazine. (Abigail Folger's photo also appeared in a featured story in that issue.)

Candice Bergen, of course, was Terry Melcher's live-in girlfriend from about May of '67 until just after TLB happened.

Doris Day, the untold story of the girl next door by David Kaufman c.2008  pg390
Bergen moves back to the US after two years in Asia, Africa, and Europe in 1967.
"Bergen first saw Terry's house on Cielo Drive when she attended one of his parties."

June 15, 1967 Candy at Monterey Pop

 (Abigail Folger was also back stage at some point.)

Aug. 24, 1967 - Yippies throw dollar bills onto the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in a famous stunt.  Trading is briefly halted.  The group of about a dozen young men and women, including Candy Bergen, is led by radical Abbie Hoffman. The media is tipped off and is there to record it all.

Dec 1967  Candy writes article for "Esquire" 'Is BelAir Burning?' about the invasion of rock 'n roll musicians into Bel Air("Beverly Hills' snootiest neighborhood").  She meets Sonny and Cher, the Mamas and Papas and the Beach Boys and other big names. (That issue also had a picture essay of Sharon Tate titled "A Beginner's Guide to Mao Tse-Tung.")

"Inside the gate is a rose-infested bungalow housing the Bel Air Patrol, a sort of Special Forces squad of pristine policemen... ..they keep teeny-boppers away from Bel Air's celebrity residents(Elvis).. or celebrity transients(The Beatles)."  (Strangely ineffective on the night of Aug 8th, 1969, though.  If Bel Air was a 'gated community' how come nobody in the Patrol ever noticed the Watson crew coming and/or going?)


May 1968  Candice goes on tour to help with the RFK presidential run.  She also covers the 1968 presidential primaries in Oregon as a journalist.

Many sources also claim Candice is one of the celebrity ex-members of the Church of Scientology.  Her involvement was in the 1960s, at some point.


One person she apparently never met at Cielo in those years is Charles Manson.  In Knock Wood she mentions Charlie only in reference to Melcher knowing him.  And says nothing about Tex or any girls with him.  Nor does she say why she and Terry suddenly broke the lease on the house and fled to Malibu, or exactly why she and Terry felt they were the real targets, right after the murders.  No mention of any interview with the LAPD detectives.  After TLB she managed to make herself scarce:

She broke up with Terry and fled to Mexico to do a blood-soaked Western("Soldier Blue"--(critics: "set a new mark in cinematic violence"  "a bloody 1970 exploitation western ... [which] has a gore-count worthy of Cannibal Holocaust.").  And thence to Spain to film "The Hunting Party" (critics: "It is blood and more blood..." "a repellantly violent western") from June '70 until Sept '70.  (No pesky reporter's questions for the Golden girl!)

Deana Martin was subpoenaed to testify in the Tex Watson trial.  According to her, Melcher had some kind of deal with Bugliosi so she wouldn't have to testify in the TLB trial.  Candice got an even better deal.  She wasn't subpoenaed for the TLB either, and for the Watson trail she merely had to sit in the back of the courtroom with Bugs to see if she could ID Tex.  She claims she didn't recognize him. 

Knock Wood pg203  "I had been shown photos earlier in the year to see if I recognized Charles Watson... the police believed he might have been at the house on the hill while I was there. I looked at the photos; I don't think so.... When I received a subpoena to appear in court, Bugliosi arranged for me not to testify publicly, and instead sat with me in the back of the courtroom when Watson... was brought out to the defense table. Did I recognize that man? Bugliosi asked. No, I said, I didn't. All flower children look alike."    (No messy cross examination for the Golden girl!)

[Though she now admits to seeing Watson at the front door of the Cielo house in this recent interview:    (29:15)      She also now admits that they broke the lease at Cielo to get away from Manson.  (worth listening too, just for Candy's obviously faked ignorance of the case)]


Interestingly, Bergen also backed away from her association with Roman and Sharon.  She does admit that Roman Polanski attended her 21st birthday party on May 9, 1967 in Los Angeles.  She does NOT mention that she attended Roman and Sharon's wedding in London on January 20, 1968.  Nor does she mention that she sent a letter to Roman while he spent a month in prison:

Jack the Great Seducer by Edward Douglas c.2004   pg182
"...Polanski was confined in Chino Prison for forty-two days(late Dec '77 to Jan '78) of psychiatric assessment prior to sentencing for having sexually abused a minor. ... Polanski received mail from Candice Bergen ..."

Did Roman and/or Sharon visit Terry and Candice while they lived at Cielo?

Roman by Roman Polanski c.1984 pg299
Terry Melcher... ... was splitting up with Candice Bergen, so their rented house off Benedict Canyon was on the market. Sharon, who had always liked it, contacted the owner, Rudy Altobelli, and we signed the lease on February 12, 1969.

Obviously Sharon, at least, had been there before, and it is likely she had been there while Terry was living there, given Candice's friendship with Roman.


After returning from making movies abroad, Candy takes up with radical Hollywood wunderkind/producer Bert Schneider('the Monkees' "Easy Rider").  In the spring of 1970 she attends Black Panther fundraising events.
In actress Candice Bergen's memoir, "Knock Wood," she writes about her love affair with Schneider, then in his 40s. She was still in her mid-20s. ... After his divorce, he had moved in across the narrow canyon from her cottage and lived barely 200 yards away. ...she fell for him nonetheless... He was all about "taking care of things or controlling things ... Soon he began to take care of me ..."
The ardent revolutionary who introduced his pal Huey to the likes of Jane Fonda and other luminaries...                                                                                 Q:  Your life in the '60s with all these revolutionaries.  You met them all didn't you?"  
A:  I did, yes...  Bobby Seale, Huey Newton, Abbie Hoffman, Dan Ellsberg. Joan Baez .... That was in the '70s, in the '60s it was really the rock people that moved into Bel-Air....

Her affair with Schneider lasted from 1971 to about 1974.  In that time Schneider became increasingly close to Black Panther leader Huey Newton, and funded him to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars, back when that was real money.  In this time also Newton became a heavy user of cocaine, and ended up destroying what was left of the Panthers with his paranoia and arrogance.
What hooked her(Bergen) was the sheer force of his(Schneider's) powerful and seductive personality...   "At times, I thought he financed the Panthers single-handedly, indirectly dispatching agents of the revolution from behind his desk or beside the pool table of his Hollywood Office of Operations."
....both men were spiraling down with drugs -- free-basing cocaine was their shared drug of choice.


                                            Newton and Schneider

Candy's description of Bert sounds a lot like what the girls said of Charlie, and they seemed to have the same interests:

Knock Wood pg243   re Bert Schneider "This was what I had waited for:  a man who wanted to take care of me; a man who wouldn't take any lip." (he lives at Bergen's feet, but won't let her step on him)  His bookshelf included books by John C. Lilly**.  "The bookcase bulged with volumes on behavior modification, LSD therapy, subjugation of jealousy and maps on open marriage." 


Bergen dates Henry Kissinger.  She lays down on the floor of the U.S. Senate Building and gets arrested.  She serves as a fundraiser and organizer for George McGovern's presidential campaign.  She interviews Fidel Castro and Haile Selassie.  She travels to Red China and Esalen.

After her breakup with Schneider, Bergen hits the road again: Ethiopia, Dar es Salaam, Rio, Kyoto, Teheran.


In the '60s and '70s Candice went everywhere, met everyone, and did everything.  Successful model?  Check.  Successful actress?  Check.  Successful photojournalist and magazine writer?  Check.  Hobnobbing with European royalty, New York High Society, Rock Stars, Yippies, and Panthers?  Check.  [The daughter of a member of Bohemian Grove?  Yeah, that too.  oo-ee-oo!]

This gal was where she needed to be, when she needed to be there!  IF someone was fortuitously directing her career--the hidden hand behind her amazing success--then the question is, did this person put her at 10050 Cielo Dr. for a specific purpose?


“She’s one of the people who knows a hell of a lot more than she’s ever said” 

    --Tom O’Neill


*Was Candy a beta-kitten?  See

"Animal Print clothing is employed for this method of communication as it symbolizes the uninhibited or “wild” instincts brought out in the slave via Project Monarch’s Beta or “Sex Kitten” Programming; and when triggered will perform any action (or sex act) required by the handler."

                                  Who took a bite out of that apple?  

**A John Lilly book was also found in the bedroom of Folger/Frykowski at Cielo.  He was into CIA sponsored mind-control in the '50s before re-emerging as a counter-cultural guru/dolphin whisperer in the '60s.