Socialite Life Remembers Cindy Morgan

12 Min Read
Cindy Morgan
Photo courtesy of Christine Fitzgerald

This past Sunday (Jan. 07, 2024), we learned that actress Cindy Morgan passed away at the age of 69. Cindy was most well-known for her roles in two iconic films. She brought the radiant Yori to life in the 1982 cult classic Tron – and became the object of affection for sci-fi fans worldwide.

Of course, the role she’s best known for is the sexiest lady ever to hit the links, Lacey Underall, in the classic comedy Caddyshack, where she went toe-to-toe with comedy heavyweights such as Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, and Rodney Dangerfield.

Cindy got her start in radio and had a stint as a TV weather reporter. She did some modeling and appeared as the “Irish Spring girl” in a 1979 commercial. She was a regular face on TV in the 1980s, appearing on shows including The Love Boat, Falcon Crest, The Fall Guy, CHiPs, Matlock, Hunter, and Bring ‘Em Back Alive.

Back in 2010, I wrote a Holiday Movie Preview for the site where I expressed my disappointment that Cindy was absent from Tron Lives, and I was contacted by Cindy herself. We talked for hours about her career – at the time, she was working on a book about her experience filming Caddyshack – and a friendship developed. We both lived in South Florida at the time and we went to concerts, out on boating expeditions and I went with her to conventions, where she truly enjoyed interacting with her fans.

Cindy Morgan
Photo courtesy of Christine Fitzgerald

We lost touch for many years, but her passing really affected me. So, as a way to pay tribute to this actress who brought joy to so many, I present some excerpts from our original interview.

How did you get your start in movies? 

I wasn’t always an actor. I wanted to go to the Illinois Institute of Technology, which is the Midwest version of MIT, to be an engineer because my father, who had a year and a half of high school – a Polish immigrant to this country – ended up being the plant manager. He was very good – he was a test equipment builder and he worked with people really well and went as far as he could with the education he had. I admired and loved him greatly and I wanted to be an engineer for my father. And I was accepted to the Illinois Institute of Technology and I went to the open house and it was four girls and all guys. And, after an all-girl Catholic school, I cracked under the pressure. I was fixed up for most of my proms with cousins – and nobody believes that. I don’t care whether they or not, it was just the truth. So, I made a hard left turn and went to Northern Illinois and I know I had a stammer and that’s perhaps the reason I was put into a speech class – or maybe that’s an elective that showed up…I have no idea why or how I got there. I was a terrible speaker but I was a good writer. I would read things in front of the class with my nose buried in the paper and that was the first time in my life a professor called me over and said, “You’re pretty good at this, why don’t you major in (what they called at that point) communications?” And from that point forward, I just couldn’t get enough of it. I clearly got over my stutter.

When I was in college, I started out with a stammer and I ended up with three jobs when I was in school. That’s where I got the name Morgan. I was working at the local TV station and I was working at the student news station and but I was also working at the commercial news station and they said, “We’ll let you stay on the air in both places, but you’ve got to have a different name over here – like that’s going to fool all of De Kalb, Illinois! So, I said, “Okay, fine. Morgan.” Because when I was 12, I read the story about Morgan le Fay, a woman who made her own life choices. So, when I sent out resumes after I graduated – identical resumes with pictures – Cindy Cichorski didn’t get hired, Cindy Morgan did.

Lacey Underall really seemed to know what she wanted. Was there a lot of you in that character?
That’s a very interesting question, because if you look at the Lacey character, a lot of the guys mention “The Fila Shot” which is when I walk around in a shirt with no bra. And guys were like, “She’s got no bra!” It was 1979 boys, we had just literally or figuratively burned our bras. It was a political statement. Women were proud of who they were and what they owned and stood up straight – unless you needed (a bra) for support. And Lacey was just a product of the times. I’m so glad you saw that! She was doing what guys had been doing all along – she was taking charge. And I think guys remember her because they like that. I don’t think they like to talk about it, but in some ways I think they appreciate that.

A lot of people saw Lacey Underall as a lot of things but to me, Lacey Underall was a woman who stood up for herself and you have no idea how much I was standing up for myself behind the scenes. I was battling daily, I was battling with Chevy during the love scenes. He said a few things, and I said a few things…listen, when that camera’s rolling, it’s an even playing field. I know you’re much more prepared and I know you’re the star, but when that camera’s rolling, even playing field. We were fighting during that love scene. We weren’t even speaking to each other – and that’s why it was such a good scene. Passion reads as passion. When he dumped that bottle of oil on my back, did you think I knew that was coming? That little son of a gun was trying to blow me off of the screen and I had no intentions of going anywhere – but it made it a much better scene. Passion reads as passion – no matter where it comes from – and love and hate are closer than you think.

Cindy Morgan
Photo courtesy of Christine Fitzgerald

Did you thinkTron was going to look as good as it did when you were making it?
 I did not – and honestly, when I heard my dialogue coming out of my mouth when I was in the computer world, I was a little bit like “Oh, God!”, because it’s a little bit campy. And I was like, “Is this going to hold up?” and thank God it did. But in the real world, where I’m playing basically a version of myself, I was fine. But the special effects – oh, they’re brilliant. They were way the hell ahead of their time. I think it’s going to be like the movie Fantasia, you can never repeat what was done there. Go ahead and try, but why? Go ahead and repaint the Sistine Chapel another color – what are you talking about? Get something original to do! Get an original thought and then I’ll go look at it.

The heart and soul of Tron was what the people did. The reality I found in the other actors’ eyes. That’s how I did it, the reality I found in Jeff (Bridges) and Bruce's (Boxleitner) eyes. And David Warner, dear God in heaven! When he tells you you’re going to die, there’s no acting required – you know you’re going to die! He’s that good. Barnard Hughes (was) genius. The reality I found in the other actors’ eyes.

When I did the press junket for Disney, people kept saying the same thing, “Do you think you’ll be replaced by computers someday? Aren’t you afraid?” And I say “No,” and they said, “Why?” And I said, “I can do one thing computers can’t. I can make mistakes and that’s where the human element comes in and that’s what’s interesting. The mistakes, the nuances, the subtlety, the humor…the human part of it, the part where you go right instead of left and you don’t know why – that’s what people are watching. Otherwise, they’d just be watching a buzzing light turn around! The human element is very, very important and let’s hope that the human element is there. I’m very honored to be part of a film that has stood the test of time and has so many devoted fans over time. Inever use the word “fans” – let’s use the word “supporters”, because to call them fans isn’t giving them the credit that they’re due. The movie Tron belongs to the people who love and support it.

The fact that the audience all these years later…I know the films that I like and can watch over and over again. It’s like a song playing on the radio; it just puts you in the right frame of mind. The fact that this work has held up over time, it means so much to me. Whatever happened doesn’t matter, it’s just a good feeling to say, “gosh darn it, I did something right!”

Cindy Morgan
Photo courtesy of Christine Fitzgerald

I’m glad I had the chance to spend time and make memories with her. You will be missed, Cindy. Rest in Peace.


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Last update on 2024-05-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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