Who is Mackenzie Phillips?

Mackenzie is an American actress and singer, perhaps still best known for her roles as Julie Cooper in the TV sitcom “One Day at a Time” from 1975 to 1983, and as Molly Phillips in the TV series “So Weird” from 1999 to 2001, in addition to many other notable roles she has had in her career.

Mackenzie Phillips Wiki: Age, Childhood, and Education

Laura Mackenzie Phillips was born on 10 November 1959, in Alexandria, Virginia, USA. She comes from a notable lineage as the daughter of renowned singer John Phillips from The Mamas & the Papas, and his first wife Susan Stuart Adams. Her siblings are Jeffrey and Tamerlane Phillips, actress Bijou Phillips, and singer Chynna Phillips. Mackenzie attended the esteemed Highland Hall Waldorf School in Northridge, California, and at aged just 12, she formed a band with classmates, catching the attention of a casting agent during their performances. This led to an audition for the iconic 1973 film “American Graffiti”, which she successfully secured.

Career Beginnings and Immediate Success

Mackenzie gained immediate popularity with her debut role in “American Graffiti”, alongside a talented cast, including Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard, Charles Martin Smith, Candy Clark, Paul Le Mat and Cindy Williams. Her performance in this coming-of-age comedy-drama film directed by George Lucas, helped establish her as a rising young actress. The film is set in the early 1960s; it follows a group of high school friends on their last night together before they go off to college. The film explores their various experiences and adventures as they cruise the streets of Modesto, California in hot rods, and interact with other characters.

In 1974, Mackenzie had a minor role as Chessie in the episode “Roadblock” of “Movin’ On”. The following year, she appeared alongside Robin Williams in the television film “Miles to Go Before I Sleep”, and in the same year, she also had guest roles in “Baretta” as Mindy in the episode “On the Road”, and in “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” as Francie in the episode “Mary’s Delinquent”.

However, it was in 1975 that Mackenzie Phillips secured her breakthrough role as Julie Mora Cooper Horvath in the TV series “One Day at a Time”. Starring alongside Bonnie Franklin, Valerie Bertinelli and Pat Harrington Jr., she was the main cast member for the first five seasons of the show, appearing in 123 episodes. The show depicts the daily lives of a divorced mother and her two teenage daughters, with Julie being one of the central figures in the series.

During her time on “One Day at a Time”, Mackenzie Phillips faced a well-documented struggle with addiction, despite which she continued to work on the show. However, her addiction issues occasionally caused conflicts on set and led to her missing episodes. She was eventually let go from the show, and entered a rehabilitation center after a near-death experience from an overdose. Nevertheless, while working on the set of “One Day at a Time”, Mackenzie took on various projects that displayed her talent. In 1976, she portrayed a young Eleanor Roosevelt in the television film “Eleanor and Franklin”, delving into the early lives and political rise of US President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his wife.

During the same period, Mackenzie appeared as herself in TV commercials for “Child World”, a popular chain of toy stores. Her presence in these commercials likely resonated with young viewers, further establishing her as a relatable figure.

In 1979, Mackenzie reprised her role as Carol “Rainbow” Morrison in “More American Graffiti”, a sequel to the iconic film “American Graffiti”.

Career Decline and ’90s

During the 1980s, Mackenzie Phillips shifted her focus toward her singing career, which took precedence over her acting endeavors. However, she still took on a few notable roles, showcasing her talent. In 1980, she appeared in the television film “The Silent Lovers”, portraying the legendary silent film actress Lillian Gish.

In 1985, she made a memorable appearance in the mystery series “Murder, She Wrote”. In the episode “Murder in the Afternoon”, Mackenzie portrayed Carol Needom, a character caught up in a web of murder and deceit. In the following year, she starred in the TV film “Kate’s Secret” as Deyna.

Throughout the 1990s, Mackenzie Phillips made several guest-starring appearances in various projects. In 1994, she was in “Beverly Hills, 90210” as Counselor Ellen Marks in the episode “Intervention”, providing guidance to the show’s characters during a challenging time.

In 1995, Mackenzie had a role in “Melrose Place” as Maureen Dodd, while in 1996, she was Rachel Sullivan in the long-running soap opera “Guiding Light”.

She appeared in two notable shows in 1997, as Donna Spadaro in the TV series “Caroline in the City”, and guest-starred in “Walker, Texas Ranger” as Ellen Simms in a two-part episode entitled “Lucas”.

Success with ‘So Weird’

Then from 1999 to 2001, Mackenzie Phillips took on a significant role in the supernatural-themed series “So Weird”, portraying Molly Phillips, the central character in the show, appearing in 63 episodes over the course of three seasons. The series followed the adventures of Molly, a young girl with a passion for investigating paranormal occurrences, and unraveling mysteries. As the daughter of a rock star, Molly traveled with her mother’s band, encountering various supernatural phenomena and unexplained events along the way.

In the series, Mackenzie Phillips shared the screen with a talented cast. Cara Delizia played Fiona “Fi” Phillips, Molly’s tech-savvy older sister who joined her in uncovering the truth behind the paranormal events they encountered. Patrick Levis portrayed Jack, Molly’s best friend, and a fellow investigator, providing comic relief and steadfast companionship throughout their supernatural adventures. Eric Lively took on the role of Carey, the band’s guitarist, who often found himself entangled in the otherworldly phenomena alongside Molly. Belinda Metz brought Irene Bell, Molly’s mother and the lead singer of the band, to life with her captivating performance.

The 2000s and Recent Work

Mackenzie had only a few notable appearances during the first decade of the 2000s –  . she was Tracy Del Rey in the TV series “Kate Brasher” (2001), while in 2002, she was seen as Mary Burge in the TV film “Double Teamed”.

Additionally, she lent her voice talents to the animated series “Phineas and Ferb” (2014), voicing the characters of Female Judge and Jump Instructor in the episode “Act Your Age”. Mackenzie also made a guest appearance as herself and co-hosted “The Daily Helpline” in an episode dedicated to her, also in 2014.

She had the recurring role of Pam Valentine in “One Day at a Time” (2017-2020), appearing in nine episodes across the show’s first four seasons. Mackenzie then took on a significant recurring role as Barbara “Barb” Denning in the sixth season of “Orange Is the New Black” (2018), appearing in six episodes.

Relationship with her Father

Mackenzie Phillips’s relationship with her father, John Phillips, has been a complex and disturbing journey. In her memoir “High on Arrival” and during an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Mackenzie revealed shocking details about their relationship. She disclosed that at 11 years old, she first tried cocaine with her father, who not only shared drugs with her but also injected her with cocaine. The most disturbing revelation came when Mackenzie shared that, on the night before her first wedding at 19 years old, she woke up from a blackout to find herself engaged in a sexual encounter with her own father. Confronting him later, she was met with his chilling response, claiming it was consensual and asking if she meant they had made love.

Mackenzie described her involvement in the relationship as a twisted case of Stockholm syndrome, where she began to develop feelings for her captor. However, she has also acknowledged the incident as a form of rape, highlighting the abuse of power and betrayal of trust involved in any kind of incest. The incestuous relationship ended after Mackenzie became pregnant and had an abortion, which her father financially supported. While some family members, such as John’s third wife and his second wife, expressed doubts about Mackenzie’s claims, her half-sister Chynna Phillips believed her, having been informed by Mackenzie herself years later. Another source of confirmation came from Jessica Woods, daughter of Denny Doherty, who stated that her father knew the “awful truth”, and was horrified by John’s actions.

How Mackenzie Phillips Overcame Addiction

Phillips has faced a long and challenging journey in overcoming addiction. Following her tumultuous experiences and the revelation of her disturbing relationship with her father, she reached a turning point in her life. Recognizing the need for change, she made a courageous decision to confront her addiction head-on and seek help.

She entered into various addiction treatment programs, including rehabilitation centers, where she received professional support, guidance and therapy. These programs provided her with the necessary tools to understand the root causes of her addiction, and develop healthy coping mechanisms.

In addition to professional assistance, Mackenzie also found strength in attending support group meetings, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA).

Furthermore, Mackenzie has become an advocate for addiction recovery and mental health, using her personal experiences to raise awareness and inspire others who may be going through similar struggles. By sharing her story openly and honestly, she’s helped reduce the stigma surrounding addiction, and offered hope to those seeking a way out.

Net Worth

According to authoritative sources, Mackenzie Phillips’s net worth is estimated at $1 million, as of mid-2023.

Personal Life, Dating, Married, Husband, Children

Mackenzie’s been married three times. Her first marriage was to Jeffrey Sessler, a rock group manager and the son of Freddie Sessler, from 1979 to 1981. After their divorce, she tied the knot with rock guitarist Shane Fontayne, and their marriage lasted from 1986 to 2000, marking a significant period in her life. In 2005, she married Keith Levenson, but their relationship ended in divorce in 2007.

Since then she’s been officially single, but in a revealing interview in March 2022, Mackenzie Phillips disclosed that she’d dated both men and women.

Mackenzie is a proud mother to her son, Shane Barakan, who was born in 1987. Shane has followed in his mother’s footsteps and pursued a music career.

Subscribe for the updates

* indicates required

As a Freelance Writer at Biography Pedia, I manage every aspect of our content creation, from rigorous research to narrative excellence, ensuring precision and integrity in our work. Our comprehensive editorial management includes deep investigation, narrative development, and maintaining high standards of quality.

Write A Comment

Pin It