Cindy Morgan has worked her way from a Catholic school upbringing to the bright lights of Hollywood stardom. She’s navigated the world with a confidence and charisma all her own and subsequently set herself apart from the pack as one of the unique people in show business.
Getting her career started in college, Morgan found success in a variety of media, which led to her first commercial job. “I had three jobs in broadcasting during college: the student television station, student radio station and then I got offered a job at a commercial station,” she said. “It was time for me to go on and I had to choose a last name to go by – so I chose Morgan.”
The choice was easy for Morgan, as she adopted the name of King Arthur’s famous half-sister, based on her love of that genre. “I’m a big fan of fantasy and science fiction,” she admitted. “It’s where a lot of what we use today comes from.” She also found that the name was a great choice for her résumé. “After I graduated from college, I sent out resumes with both Cindy Cichorski and Cindy Morgan and Morgan got the job.”
Much like her chosen name, Morgan refused to be held down in a world dominated by male personalities. While working on “Morning Drive” in Chicago, Morgan soon found herself at a crossroads. “Chicago at the time was the #2 market in the country – and here I am pulling good numbers against the ‘big boys’ and getting paid $135 a week,” she explained. “With my overtime I could barely pay bills and when the station manager called me while I was on-air and told me they were giving my overtime to a man – well, that was enough of that.”
So Morgan did what anyone would have done. She quit. On-air. With a record still spinning. She quickly moved to Los Angeles where she “didn’t know and didn’t care,” and found herself as the Irish Spring girl a month later.
“In Chicago they wouldn’t let me do commercials because they were convinced I was just a radio person – and they didn’t listen to me,” she said. “The people in Chicago had said, ‘you’re a big fish in a small pond here and you’ll be a small fish in a big pond in L.A.’ And I was really cocky, and replied, ‘I’ll have a billboard on Sunset in a year!”
It took Morgan eight months.
The billboard was for a film called “Caddyshack” – Morgan’s first role. She would be cast as Lacey Underall – the young woman of every man’s desire. Morgan had her reservations about being right for the role. “When I read the script I thought, ‘I have nothing to lose’ because I wasn’t that person – 12 years of Catholic school, I was fixed up with somebody’s cousin for both of my proms – there’s no way in hell I get this job,” she joked.” However, all that changed with a little perspiration. “I made Doug sweat. And as soon as I saw the sweat coming down I knew I had the job.”
Initially, Morgan had some trouble in such a loose shooting environment. “It was a little confusing at first because of my broadcast background,” she admitted. “The worst thing I had done before Caddyshack was trying to break the morning news guy in radio. He would always read from the wire copy and one day I got underneath the desk and took a lighter to the wire roll – and it worked, I got him to break! Not recommending this, kids!”
Morgan found comfort when the late Doug Kenney helped give her insight to the character of Lacey. “Doug and I watched ‘To Have or Have Not’ with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall,” she recalled. At one point she (Bacall) turns to Bogart and says, ‘If you need me whistle. You know how to whistle don’t you – you put your lips together and blow.’ And then I understood what Doug wanted.”
But not every experience was positive. “I didn’t work for a long time after Caddyshack,” she explained. “Jon Peters broke my contract because I wouldn’t shoot the nude scene for Playboy. I just felt it was a conflict with being the Irish Spring girl. I had more lunches with agents at William Morris than I had auditions. It wasn’t a problem with the nudity – but Jon told me, ‘If ‘you don’t do this you’re [expletive] in this business and you’ll never [expletive] work again’ – he was backing me into a corner, which was a mistake. The whole experience made me not afraid of anything – it pissed me off to the point where I could do my job.”
After the film was completed, Morgan found she had lost her ‘Introducing Cindy Morgan’ credit for the film and had been left off the invite list for the premier. It’s then that Doug Kenney once again blew her mind. “When Doug heard I wasn’t invited to the premier, he bought me two first class tickets to New York,” she said. “I saw Jon Peters at the popcorn stand and walked up and said ‘Jon, what are you doing here?’ and popcorn went flying everywhere – that alone was worth the trip.”