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Tanya Roberts

Tanya Roberts

Tanya Roberts (born Victoria Leigh Blum on October 15, 1954) is an American actress best known for her roles in Charlie's Angels, The Beastmaster (film), A View to a Kill (film), Sheena (film) and That '70s Show. Roberts was regarded as one of Hollywood's most popular sex symbols during the early 1980s. Roberts grew up in the The Bronx, New York City. The daughter of an Irish American pen seller and a Jewish American woman, her parents divorced before she reached high school. At age 15, she abandoned her studies to get married and lived for a while hitch-hiking across the United States until her mother-in-law annulled the union. Roberts continued to live in New York City, modelling and working as a dance teacher with Arthur Murray. After meeting psychology student Barry Roberts while waiting in line for a movie, she soon married again, having proposed to him in a subway station. While Barry started a career as a screenwriter, Tanya began to study at the Actors Studio with Lee Strasberg and Uta Hagen. Roberts began as a model in television advertisements for Ultra Brite, Clairol and Cool Ray sunglasses, and played serious roles in the Off Broadway productions Picnic and Antigone. In between TV ads and theater gigs, she supported herself as an Arthur Murray dance instructor. Her film debut was the 1975 thriller Forced Entry. This was followed in 1976 by the comedy The Yum-Yum Girls. In 1977, as her husband was securing his own screenwriting career, the couple moved to Hollywood. The following year, Roberts participated in the drama Fingers. A role in the 1979 cult-movie Tourist Trap followed. Also in 1979, she appeared in the films Racket and California Dreaming. Roberts also featured in several television pilots that were never picked up. In 1980, Roberts was chosen among 2,000 candidates to replace Shelley Hack in Charlie's Angels in what later turned out to be the last season of the series. In the show, Roberts interpreted her character Julie Rogers as a streetwise fighter who used her fists more than her gun. After this, her popularity exploded. She was the cover of People magazine (September 7, 1981) and was offered more ambitious projects, though it could be argued that this was due to her good looks rather than her acting talent. In 1982, she played Kiri in The Beastmaster. She also appeared in a nude pictorial in Playboy to help promote the movie, also appearing on that issue's cover (October 1982). In 1983, Roberts filmed the little-known adventure Paladini-storia d'armi e d'amori (Guns and Love Story) in Italy. She also played the role of "Velda", a buxom secretary to private detective Mike Hammer in Murder Me, Murder You. This television movie was the first of two pilots that kicked off the syndicated television series Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer. Roberts declined to continue the role in the Mike Hammer series in order to film her next project, Sheena: Queen of the Jungle. The 1984 film was based on a character adapted from a Will Eisner's comic book. Dressed in scantily clad costumes, Sheena also introduced a new blonde hairstyle that Roberts would keep for the rest of her career. The movie became a box office disaster and was mauled by critics. Her subsequent appearance as Bond girl Stacey Sutton in A View to a Kill (1985) provided many scenes with Roger Moore as an articulate and educated geologist and villian Christopher Walken. After a brief break, Roberts career took a downturn. Her films included Body Slam (1987), an action movie set in the professional wrestling world. Roberts closed out the decade with Purgatory, a movie about the life of imprisoned women. By 1990, Roberts began work primarily in erotic thrillers for cable television, which capitalized on her physical assets and featured obligatory nude love scenes. During that period, she often competed with then-current star of the genre Shannon Tweed. In 1990's Night Eyes, she was zealously watched over by her husband, but ended up having an affair with the detective who was following her. Her 1991 film Inner Sanctum became one of the biggest hits of the genre and was successful on video rental shelves. In 1992, she played Kay Egan in Sins of Desire. Roberts also appeared on the Hot Line (TV series) (1994) and the video game The Pandora Directive (1996). In 1998, she became familiar to younger audiences when she took on the role of Midge Pinciotti on That '70s Show. In an interview on E! True Hollywood Story discussing That '70s Show, Roberts said she left the series in 2001 because her husband had become ill, but gave no details of his condition. The Internet Movie Database, however, reported that Barry Roberts died on June 15, 2006, after a four year battle with encephalitis. He and Tanya had been married for 32 years, in by Hollywood standards, a long, and stable relationship. After leaving That '70s Show, Roberts has been heard on radio and seen on television as the spokesperson for several Las Vegas, Nevada timeshare companies, notably Soleil and Tahiti Village.


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