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Fame & Fortune: Cybill Shepherd

Bankrate: Did receiving awards for the show make a difference? Did it give you any cache?

Cybill Shepherd: Yes. I'm actually working a lot now. But as a producer, this was really my strongest thing that I have ever done. So when it wasn't available and disappeared, it was almost like I had disappeared. It was really a crisis. I was really in a financial and personal crisis.

Bankrate: You say you're working a lot now -- what are you doing?

Cybill Shepherd: Well, I'm guest-starring on "Psych" on the USA Network, "The L-Word" on Showtime and "Samantha Who?" I'm preparing to do my third low-budget feature film in three months. Suddenly, I'm doing all these movies. But there were times, I'd go and read for a part and they said they weren't looking for a Cybill type. I even wore a brown wig with no makeup to read for a part and still didn't get it.

Bankrate: When you were a little girl back in Tennessee, who inspired you to believe in yourself? What did they say that is probably still very real to you today?

Cybill Shepherd: I was very encouraged by my grandparents and my parents to do two things that would be very, very important for me. One was to sing. We always sang around the table. They forced me to try out for the church choir. The other thing was to be athletic. My mother and father coached me. My father taught me how to throw a football, receive a football and kick a football in the front yard. And if you go back and think about when that was, that was very rare. So I have this physical confidence. And we have found that young women particularly benefit ... all kids do, but particularly women to get that physicality, to feel not so much to measure your thighs, but what you can do with your body. And then I was always told that "beauty is as beauty does."

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Bankrate: What's your take on looking at the climate of television in the late '90s compared to TV now? Has it changed for women? Is there more of an acceptance for them to own their own space in a way?

Cybill Shepherd: Well, we're certainly coming back … women over 40 with Glenn Close, Holly Hunter, Sally Field. There was a period when the "Cybill" show ended in 1998 where we vanished. It was like the Bermuda Triangle for women in television. For a long time, there wasn't a show with a woman in her 40s or 50s at the center of a show. I don't know when that started to change. We all went off the air -- like six shows that went off the air at the same time…."Grace Under Fire," "Murder She Wrote," "Roseanne," "Cybill," "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman," "Murphy Brown."

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