LONI AN­DER­SON

EX­CLU­SIVE IN­TER­VIEW THE TV ICON IS HAV­ING THE TIME OF HER LIFE AT HOME AND ON THE SET OF HER LAT­EST PRO­JECT

Closer Weekly - - News -

She’s hav­ing a blast with her lat­est pro­ject — and her grand­chil­dren!

At 71, Loni An­der­son (nearly) bares it all in her new web se­ries My Sis­ter Is So Gay. “What a bunch of prudes!” her char­ac­ter Frances sighs, throw­ing open her leopard-print bathrobe and ex­pos­ing her­self to her shocked grown chil­dren. “Frances is a fun, free spirit who’s per­pet­u­ally tipsy and pro­mis­cu­ous,” Loni tells Closer about the thrill of play­ing this bawdy new char­ac­ter. “She steps over bound­aries and that’s what I like about her!”

Loni’s also rel­ish­ing the chance to shake up the cur­rent im­age of older women on-screen. “I was never re­ally in­ter­ested in play­ing tra­di­tional, sensible-shoe-wear­ing, rock­ing-chair grand­mas,” the ac­tress says. “I’m not say­ing tra­di­tional is bor­ing, but I’m a grandma and the women around me are, too. We’re dif­fer­ent from that stereo­type so it’s time to change the face of what grand­mas look like!”

This new pro­ject is a dou­bly ex­cit­ing de­par­ture for Loni, who first won view­ers’ hearts as the brainy and so­phis­ti­cated Jen­nifer Mar­lowe on WKRP in Cincin­nati 39 years ago. “In real life, I’m sort of a Goody-Two-shoes, Sun­day-schoolteacher type,” Loni says. “I don’t drink and I don’t smoke, so maybe that’s why I wanted to play Frances — to in­dulge in those things on-screen!”

KID­DING AROUND

Off­screen, how­ever, she de­votes lots of time to her kids — Dei­dra Hoff­man, 51, her daugh­ter with first hus­band Bruce Has­sel­berg, and Quin­ton Reynolds, 28, her son with Burt Reynolds, 81. When Dei­dra was di­ag­nosed with mul­ti­ple scle­ro­sis in 2009, Loni be­came her much-val­ued sup­port sys­tem. “Loni knew she had to stay strong for Dei­dra,” Terry Ray, Loni’s friend and My Sis­ter Is So Gay’s writer-star, tells Closer. “She was there for every MRI.”

Thank­fully, Dei­dra is in re­mis­sion now, Loni tells Closer, so her vis­its with her and grand­daugh­ters McKen­zie, 23, and Me­gan, 20, are even more joy­ful. And Loni is in­cred­i­bly proud of Quin­ton, a for­mer cam­era­man who re­cently de­cided to start study­ing to be­come an EMT, Terry says.

An­other source of fun for Loni is her bliss­ful mar­riage to fourth hus­band Bob Flick, 78. “He’s my per­fect match,” she says of Bob, whom she dated in 1963 when she was a teen and he was in the folk group Broth­ers Four. The two re­con­nected later and wed in 2008, 45 years af­ter their first meet­ing. “He’s hys­ter­i­cally funny,” Loni raves, “and I’ve al­ways said that be­ing with him is bet­ter than watch­ing TV.”

And Loni loves to laugh. “Dolly Par­ton once said to me, ‘You have to laugh a good old belly laugh every day be­cause it ex­tends your life,’ ” Loni shares.

Love and hu­mor cer­tainly help the ac­tress stay young at heart, but Loni jokes that her out­ward time­less beauty needs to be cred­ited to some­one else. “Thank you, Mom,” she says with a laugh, “for hav­ing me put mois­tur­izer on my face and body since the age of 10!” — Ron Kelly, with

re­port­ing by Mag­gie Har­bour

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