Hard to believe the lovely actress Cindy Morgan was once told she belonged behind the camera, not in front of it.
Morgan, who became a pop culture sensation by playing Lacey Underall in “Caddyshack,” started her career in broadcasting. “I ran camera, I ran sound,” Morgan tells Big Hollywood. “But they wouldn’t let me on camera. ‘You’ll never get a job,’ they said.
A few years later, she was sharing the screen with Chevy Chase in the 1980 comedy classic.
Morgan’s “Caddyshack” role gave her an early lesson in how Hollywood works, and it wasn’t pretty. The day before her nude scene, a producer called to say a Playboy photographer would be on set to snap pictures which would run in the nudie magazine.
Morgan balked. She was the Irish Spring girl at the time, and she didn’t want to be forced into something she hadn’t signed on to do.
Her agent offered little support.
“Honey, you’re not a doe-eyed girl from the Midwest. Handle it,” she recalls him saying. “I fired him.”
Morgan held her ground on the fateful day, even though a producer told her in an expletive-packed diatribe that she’d never work in the business again if she didn’t toe the company line.
“I don’t have a problem with nudity. I have a problem with bullying,” she says.
She had other on-set fireworks, too. She became one of many actors who had trouble working alongside Chase.
“We were fighting at one point and not speaking to each other,” she says. “He refused to work with me until I apologized, and I said ‘no.'”
She doesn’t harbor ill will towards the “Fletch” star.
“In any work situation or even in a sport, you work to the level of your opponent,” she says. “He did me a favor.”
Working with the late Rodney Dangerfield offered the opposite experience. She recalls having lunch with the pop-eyed funny man, during which he tugged at his collar as if he were on stage.
“Am I OK? Am I OK?” he asked her. “Yeah, you’re stealing the movie,” she said.
Morgan relives her “Caddyshack” experiences by participating in regular golf tournaments, often with some of the film’s co-stars.
Morgan, whose father fought in World War II, is passionate about supporting the US military. Her father, a Polish immigrant, lied about his age to join the army and was proud to be an American.
She uses her “Caddyshack” fame to appear at corporate events as well as help as many soldiers as she can.
She served as director of the Caddyshack Reunion Golf Tournament in 2006 in Oak Brook, Illinois, which reunited some of the “Caddyshack” cast along with other celebrities. The event raised money for the Illinois Military Family Relief Fund, an organization which helps the families of National Guard members and reservists on active duty.
Morgan also starred in another cult favorite, the Disney film “Tron.” But you won’t find her in “Tron Legacy,” the new film coming to theaters next year, even though original stars Jeff Bridges and Bruce Boxleitner appear in the new movie.
At the recent Comic-Con, young women routinely approached Morgan to ask why won’t be co-starring in the new film.
She still gets a kick out of the reaction she receives at various public events.
“Men think they already know me,” she says. “But as they get closer and closer they become that 14 year old again. A lot of men do stammer and blush a little bit.”
But her fan base isn’t just older men who grew up ogling Lacey. Some autograph hounds are men in their 20s, while many others are women who connect with her famous character.
Morgan promises to share much more about her movie fame in her forthcoming book, “From Catholic School to ‘Caddyshack,'” set for release next year – 2010 marks the film’s 30th anniversary.