Loni Anderson Still Knows Best

In “My Sister Is So Gay,” the ’80s icon likes her vodka straight—and her children queer.

Loni Anderson is back and blonder than ever! In the new web series My Sister is So Gay, the ageless bombshell plays Frances, the lewd-but-loving mother of two gay adult children.

Loni Anderson
Tello Films

Wendy Michaels and Terry Ray’s campy comedy marks the first series for Anderson, now 70, in more than a decade. But the Emmy-nominated WKRP in Cincinnati star says she’s always been head over heels for her own gay family.

You play a boozy broad so well. Do you enjoy a nice cocktail?
Loni Anderson: I’m not much of a drinker—maybe champagne once in a while. But my mother was a party girl, so I grew up around all the cocktail hours, three-martini lunches, and after-dinner drinks with my parents and their friends. It was so much fun.

If abstaining is how you look so fabulous at 70, I don’t want to hear it.
I know, right? It’s so hard, but vanity is my best friend.

Your last regular role was as Tori Spelling’s self-absorbed mom on So Notorious. What drew you to Frances in My Sister Is So Gay?
When you get past her animal prints, her promiscuity, and the martini shakers in her purse, she’s a devoted mother. She adores and accepts her children for who they are.

Do you have LGBT people in your own family?
I’ve been in musical theater my whole life, so my family always included the gypsies in my shows. The people around my Thanksgiving table are of every color and sexual orientation. I always say that my political party is equal rights.

When did you become aware of your gay following?
I became really aware of it when I did The Jayne Mansfield Story in 1980. Jayne Mansfield had been a gay icon. So by playing her, I got her following.

As a kid, I was very drawn to you in the 1984 series Partners in Crime. It doesn’t get much gayer than you and Lynda Carter solving crimes in San Francisco.
Yes, running after people in our high heels and short skirts, yelling, “Freeze!” What a hoot.

partners-in-crime
NBC

A Partners in Crime reboot is exactly what America needs right now.
What a great idea! I’ll contact Lynda.

Were any gay men responsible for your signature buxom blonde look?
Oh, yes! Gay hairstylists, costume designers, and makeup artists. Gay people just see glamour differently, which is why women like me depend on their expertise. I actually started out as a serious brunette actress. When I went blonde, there were no smart, assertive blondes in comedies on TV, and I wanted to show that glamorous women could be all those things. I thought it was temporary, but now people can’t imagine me any other way.

In an early episode of WKRP in Cincinnati, a character almost jumps off a ledge after being labeled a homosexual. Your character, Jennifer—who was always the smartest person in the room—says, “And so what if he is? He comes to work. He does his job. He’s a fine person. His sex life is his own business.” That was pretty progressive for 1978.
Thanks to the bravery of Hugh Wilson, our genius creator, for writing what we all felt so that I could say that on the air. He was so ahead of his time.

It’s been more than 20 years since you released your tell-all memoir, My Life in High Heels. Where’s the sequel?
I do have a lot more to say, because my life didn’t stop at 50. Oprah actually suggested that my next book be called My Life in Flats. But I still don’t wear flats.

My Sister Is So Gay is now available for subscribers at Tello Films

Celebrity interviewer. Foodie and Broadway buff in Manhattan. Hates writing bios.
@BrandonVoss