From the early 70s to the mid 90s, Cybill Shepherd was an undisputed star. She had it all, talent, good looks, and the drive to succeed. Her first role in The Last Picture Show earned her a Golden Globe nomination. So why, after 20 years in the business and 3 Emmy nominations, was her titular role canceled without warning?
We may finally know, but we wish we didn't.
Shepherd leaped onto the big screen in 1971, after years of getting various modeling jobs. She earned a Golden Globe nomination as "Most promising newcomer" and followed it up with several memorable roles, including Robert De Niro's love interest in Taxi Driver.
After a small downturn in steady work she returned to her hometown of Memphis, TN to perform on the stage, earning yet more rave reviews and honing her acting skill.
She returned in a big way in the series Moonlighting starring opposite Bruce Willis. The show is iconic, and perhaps Shepherd's best known work. It earned her two Golden Globes and garnered an Emmy nomination. It's also the show that launched Christine Baranski's career.
She became the talk of the town and was a sought after commodity. She had more movie roles and continued to work steadily after Moonlighting ended in 1989.
In 1995, she was back in America's living rooms, starring in Cybill a show loosely based on her own life. More Golden Globes and more Emmy nominations followed. The show tackled topics that weren't touched on in other shows, like female sexuality.
Despite having higher ratings than Nash Bridges and Chicago Hope, the show was abruptly cancelled after its fourth season. Awkwardly, that season finale ended in a cliffhanger, with the words "to be continued..."
It's long been a mystery and source of frustration for fans, but Cybil opened up in a radio interview and made some explosive allegations.
"I didn't fall on the right side of Les," she told Michelle Collins of SiriusXM. "and I wasn't going to fall at all for Les."
The "Les" in question is Les Moonves, long-time president of CBS, that network that carried Cybill.
Moonves has been very publicly accused of sexual harassment and forcing women into sexual encounters. He resigned earlier this year.
Shepherd told Collins of a dinner date she had with Moonves:
"He was telling me his wife didn't turn him on, some mistress didn't turn him on. And I'm watching him drink alcohol and he says, 'Why don't you let me take you home?'"
She refused, saying she had a ride from an off-duty LAPD officer.
That was when things began to change on the set of Cybill.
She said producers started to get notes on what to say, what to do. She mentioned that she had to fight for the right to say the word "period" in an episode about menopause. The show was cancelled that April.
Collins asked Shepherd what she thinks would have happened if the encounter with Moonves never happened.
"It would have run another five years," she said.
We'll never get a straight answer on why the show was cancelled, but Shepherd's allegations carry credibility considering what else we know of Moonves.