- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 4, 2006

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Frances Bergen, a model and actress who married ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and was the mother of actress Candice Bergen, died Oct. 2 at a Los Angeles hospital after a prolonged illness. She was 84.

Born Frances Westerman in Birmingham, Ala., she moved to Los Angeles with her mother after her father died of tuberculosis.

When she was 19, she attended a recording of “The Edgar Bergen/Charlie McCarthy Show” and caught the attention of the 39-year-old vaudevillian who, with his impish, top-hatted dummy Charlie, hosted radio’s highest-rated programs at the time.

She later launched a successful modeling career and became the face of the iconic “Chesterfield Girl” and “Ipana Girl” advertisements.

Her glamorous marriage to one of America’s most famous celebrities was closely watched. When she gave birth in 1946 to their first child, Candice, it made headline news. The infant made her first public appearance in a magazine advertisement with her parents.

Like her husband, Mrs. Bergen appeared in several movies, playing small roles in the 1953 rendition of “Titanic,” “American Gigolo” and “The Muppets Take Manhattan.” She also appeared on her daughter’s hit TV sitcom “Murphy Brown.”


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