Rich and Famous (1981) [American]

Tired of the mediocre roles available, Jacqueline took matters into her own hands, and co-produced this movie, which depicts the sometimes strained friendship between two writers. Jacqueline plays "Elizabeth Hamilton", who writes "serious" novels; "Merry Noel Blake" (Candice Bergen) writes popular novels.

The script was a rewrite of "Old Acquaintance" (1943), which starred Bette Davis and Miriam Hopkins. The film's production credits are given as "William Allyn and Jacquet Productions": the latter was the name of Jacqueline's production company. She didn't want to look egotistical, so she didn't use her name as producer. This worked too well, and many people (including some in the industry) missed the fact that she was a producer.

This was director George Cukor's last film. He was brought into direct after the first director, Richard Mulligan had to bow out; the production had been delayed by a strike.

Jacqueline said: It was magnificent working with Cukor, although at times--like all humans--he could be intensely cruel. He was a man from another time and never came to grips with my being his co-producer. "An actress is an actress, period," he thought and, at that point in his existence, he was not about to change his mind. Evidently, I didn't agree and on occasion I had to face up to him and try to have my role and Candice's be more real and not so Hollywood. He didn't like it. {Hello! #251, 1993.] It was rumored that Jacqueline helped direct the film occasionally, because of Cukor's age, but I don't know if that's true.

Merry Noel's daughter, Debbie, was portrayed as a teenager by Meg Ryan, in her professional debut. The eight-year-old Debbie was played by Nicole Eggert; this was her film debut, though she had appeared on television earlier.

Her co-star, Hart Bochner, is the son of Lloyd Bochner, who co-starred in The Detective.

"Rich and Famous" is available on video.

Untruth in Advertising

video box for Die Wilden Reichen I saw this German video release of "Rich and Famous" for sale on eBay and had to laugh! Originally released in Germany with a title that was a literal translation ("Reich and Berühmt"), here it is retitled "Die Wilden Reich" (literally, "The Wild Riches", but meaning "The Wild Rich People"). But worse, the movie is promoted as being like the TV series "Dallas" and "Dynasty" (the latter known as "Denver" in Germany). For anyone who knows anything about this movie, it goes without saying that Jacqueline and Candice never wore anything remotely like this in the movie.

A Bisset/Bergen Curiousity...

Apparently, "Rich and Famous" wasn't the first time someone considered pairing up Jacqueline and Candice. I found this promotional still for a movie that was never made. There is no date, but judging from the photos, it could be the late 1960s or early 1970s. Jacqueline was under contract to Fox at that time.

B&W portraits
of Jacqueline Bisset and Candice Bergen

In case you can't read the caption, it says: "Two of the most beautiful young actresses in the world -- Britain's brunette Jacqueline Bisset (left) and America's blonde Candy Bergen -- have been set to co-star in 20th Century-Fox's "The Plot", based on the best-selling novel by Irving Wallace, dealing with a newspaper writer who, while investigating a presidential assassination, discovers a different, even more horrifying plot. The motion picture, which will be directed by Mark Robson and produced by Lester Linsk, will go before the cameras in early summer."

After searching the IMDb, it appears that "The Plot" was never made into a movie, though several other novels by Irving Wallace were. Director Mark Robson had quite a long career (directing "The Valley of the Dolls", among many other things); but Lester Linsk has only two credits, both as producer, both in 1970.