Mackenzie Phillips

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Mackenzie Phillips
Mackenzie Phillips 1975.JPG
Phillips in 1975
BornLaura Mackenzie Phillips
(1959-11-10) November 10, 1959 (age 55)
Alexandria, Virginia, U.S.
Other namesMackinzie Phillips
EducationHighland Hall Waldorf School
OccupationActress, singer
Years active1973–present
Spouse(s)Jeff Sessler (m. 1979–81)
Michael Barakan (m. 1996–2000)
ChildrenShane Barakan (b. 1987)
ParentsJohn Phillips
Susan Adams
RelativesBijou Phillips (half-sister)
Chynna Phillips (half-sister)
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Mackenzie Phillips
Mackenzie Phillips 1975.JPG
Phillips in 1975
BornLaura Mackenzie Phillips
(1959-11-10) November 10, 1959 (age 55)
Alexandria, Virginia, U.S.
Other namesMackinzie Phillips
EducationHighland Hall Waldorf School
OccupationActress, singer
Years active1973–present
Spouse(s)Jeff Sessler (m. 1979–81)
Michael Barakan (m. 1996–2000)
ChildrenShane Barakan (b. 1987)
ParentsJohn Phillips
Susan Adams
RelativesBijou Phillips (half-sister)
Chynna Phillips (half-sister)

Laura Mackenzie Phillips (born November 10, 1959) is an American actress and singer best known for her roles in American Graffiti and as rebellious teenager Julie Cooper Horvath on the sitcom One Day at a Time. She is more recently known for her role in the Disney Channel science fiction show So Weird.[1]

Early life[edit]

Born in Alexandria, Virginia, she is the daughter of John Phillips, singer of The Mamas & the Papas, and his first wife, Susan Adams. She is the sister of Jeffrey Phillips and a half-sister of Tamerlane Phillips, actress Bijou Phillips, and singer Chynna Phillips.

Phillips attended Highland Hall Waldorf School in Northridge, California.[2] At age 12, Phillips formed a band with three of her classmates and was spotted by a casting agent during one of their performances.[3] She was given an audition for a role in the 1973 hit film American Graffiti, which she won.


Phillips was 12 during the filming of American Graffiti, and 13 when the movie was released. She was cast as Carol Morrison, a young girl accidentally picked up by hot rodding teenager John Milner. Because of California state law, producer Gary Kurtz became Phillips' legal guardian during the filming.[4]

Phillips gained stardom in the 1970s, when she played boy-crazy teenager Julie Cooper Horvath on the long-running television show One Day at a Time, for which she earned $50,000 a week.[3] During the show's third season in 1977, Phillips was arrested for public drunkenness and possession of cocaine. Because of her drug and alcohol abuse, Phillips began arriving late and was even incoherent for rehearsals. The producers ordered her to take a six-week break to overcome her addiction. In 1980, she was fired from the show.[3]

After two nearly fatal overdoses, Phillips entered Fair Oaks Hospital to undergo treatment. In 1981, the producers of One Day at a Time invited her back to the show.[3] However, she resumed using cocaine in 1982 and collapsed on the show's set. When she refused to take a drug test, she was fired and her character was written out of the series. In 1992, she entered a long-term drug rehabilitation program and underwent intensive treatment for nine months.[3]

From the mid 1980s to the early 1990s, Phillips performed with a re-formed version of The Mamas & the Papas known as The New Mamas and The Papas.

In 1999, Phillips co-starred with Cara DeLizia in the Disney Channel series So Weird, playing a fictional rock star coincidentally named Molly Phillips. She was mother to Fiona, played by Cara DeLizia, and Jack played by Patrick Levis. In the third season, Fiona was replaced by Alexz Johnson, and Molly became a sort of mother to her. She sang original songs written by show producers Jon Cooksey and Ann Marie Montade. In 2002, she appeared in the Disney Channel original movie Double Teamed. Phillips has since guest-starred on episodes of ER, Without a Trace, 7th Heaven, and Cold Case.

Phillips won an Honorary Best Actress award on March 20, 2011 at the closing night awards gala of the Female Eye Film Festival in Toronto, Canada, for her performance as Sharon in the 2010 independent film Peach Plum Pear. While in Toronto, she was interviewed on Canada Am, ET Canada, and The Marilyn Denis Show .[5]

She currently works at the Pasadena Recovery Center as a drug rehab counselor.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Phillips has been married twice: to rock group manager Jeffrey Sessler, son of Freddie Sessler, from 1979 to 1981 and to rock guitarist Michael Barakan – now known professionally as Shane Fontayne – from 1996 to 2000. She has one child, a son, Shane Barakan (born 1987), a musician.

Substance abuse and arrest[edit]

Phillips has had a lifetime troubled by drug abuse. On August 27, 2008, she was arrested by the Los Angeles Airport Police on charges of possession of cocaine and heroin after she went through airport security screening.[7] On October 31, 2008, she pleaded guilty to one felony count of cocaine possession, and was sentenced to a drug rehabilitation program.[8] Phillips' drug case was dismissed after she successfully completed a drug diversion program.[9]

She appeared on the third season of Celebrity Rehab, which aired in January and February 2010. She later discussed her recovery on the March 17, 2010, episode of The View.

Allegations of sexual relationship with father[edit]

In September 2009, Phillips's memoir High on Arrival was released, after which she appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show for an hour-long interview. She told Winfrey that she first tried cocaine when she was 11 years old, and that her father did drugs with her and injected her with cocaine.

During the interview, Phillips read excerpts from her book. She said that at the age of 19, on the night before her first wedding, "I woke up that night from a blackout to find myself having sex with my own father." In a later article in People magazine, she adds that she was under the influence of drugs provided by her father.[10] Phillips then told Winfrey, "It became a consensual relationship,"[11][12] describing her participation as "sort of Stockholm Syndrome, where you begin to love your captor."[12] She later reconsidered her characterization that it was a consensual relationship. In an interview on HLN's The Joy Behar Show, she said: "As I was writing the book, I thought, this word, it kept sitting wrong with me. But I used it for lack of a better word. Since then, I've been schooled by thousands of incest survivors all across the world that there really is no such thing as consensual incest due to the inherent power a parent has over a child. So, I wouldn't necessarily call it a consensual relationship at this time."[13]

Phillips said the relationship had happened gradually for ten years,[14] and that she ended it when she became pregnant and did not know who had fathered the child. She stated that her father paid for her to have an abortion, "and I never let him touch me again."[15][16]

Genevieve Waite, John's wife at the time MacKenzie claimed the incest first began, denies the allegations, saying they were inconsistent with his character. Michelle Phillips, John's second wife, also stated that she had "every reason to believe [Mackenzie's account is] untrue."[17]

Chynna Phillips, Mackenzie's half-sister and Michelle Phillips' daughter, stated that she believed Mackenzie's claims and that Mackenzie first told her about the relationship during a phone conversation in 1997, approximately 11 years after the supposed relationship had ended.[18] Bijou Phillips (whose mother is Geneviève Waïte, as opposed to Mackenzie's mother Susan Adams, and Chynna's mother Michelle Phillips), Mackenzie's other half-sister, said in a statement that Mackenzie had informed her of the relationship when Bijou was 13 years old,[19] but also stated, "I'm 29 now, I've talked to everyone who was around during that time, I've asked the hard questions. I do not believe my sister. Our father is many things; this is not one of them."[20] Jessica Woods, daughter of Denny Doherty, said that her father knew of the relationship.[21]


1973American GraffitiCarol
1975Rafferty and the Gold Dust TwinsFrisbee
1979More American GraffitiCarol / Rainbow
1982Love ChildJ.J.
1998True FriendsConnie
1999WhenCatherine Brown
2005Jacket, TheThe JacketNurse Harding
2011Hercules Saves ChristmasHelen Dunn
2011Peach Plum PearSharon
1973Go Ask AliceDorisTV movie
1974Movin' OnChessieEpisode: "Roadblock"
1975Miles to Go Before I SleepRobin WilliamsTV movie
1975BarettaMindyEpisode: "On the Road"
1975Mary Tyler Moore Show, TheThe Mary Tyler Moore ShowFrancieEpisode: "Mary's Delinquent"
1975-1983One Day at a TimeJulie Cooper Horvath123 episodes
1976Eleanor and FranklinEleanor Roosevelt, age 14TV movie
1978Love Boat, TheThe Love BoatAllison Scott1 episode
1979Fast FriendsSusanTV movie
1979Incredible Hulk, TheThe Incredible HulkLisa SwanEpisode: "Metamorphosis"
1980Silent Lovers, TheThe Silent LoversLillian GishTV movie
1982Love Boat, TheThe Love BoatRachel Johnson1 episode
1985Murder, She WroteCarol NeedomEpisode: "Murder in the Afternoon"
1986Kate's SecretDeynaTV movie
1994Beverly Hills, 90210Counselor Ellen MarksEpisode: "Intervention"
1995Melrose PlaceMaureen DoddEpisode: "Melrose Impossible"
Episode: "A Hose by Any Other Name"
1996Guiding LightRachel SullivanTV series
1996NYPD BlueMary DonaldsonEpisode: "Sorry, Wrong Suspect"
1997Caroline in the CityDonna SpadaroEpisode: "Caroline and the Singer"
1997Walker, Texas RangerEllen SimmsEpisode: "Lucas: Part 1"
Episode: "Lucas: Part 2"
1998Chicago HopeValerie BoydEpisode: "Risky Business"
1998ViperHeidi RosenEpisode: "The Full Frankie"
1999-2001So WeirdMolly PhillipsMain role
2000Outer Limits, TheThe Outer LimitsBoo WestonEpisode: "Down to Earth"
2001Kate BrasherTracy Del ReyEpisode: "Tracy"
2001Crossing JordanElaine StahlerEpisode "The Dawn of a New Day"
2002Double TeamedMary BurgeTV movie
2002ERLeslie MillerEpisode "Damage Is Done"
2003Division, TheThe DivisionCarol JohnsonEpisode: "Thus with a Kiss I Die"
2004Without a TraceTheresa CaldwellEpisode: "Lost and Found"
2004NYPD BlueLorraine StuvalEpisode: "Fish Out of Water"
20047th HeavenAllison DaviesEpisode: "Why Not Me?"
2007Cold CaseSheila SwettEpisode: "That Woman"
2009Radio NeedlesTonya TaylorTV movie
2012Interns: The Web SeriesCEOEpisode: "Accepted"
2012Criminal MindsEllen RussellEpisode: "The Pact"
2012She Made Them Do ItJamie LongTV movie
2015Hot in ClevelandKaylinEpisode: "About a Joy"


  1. ^ "The New York Times". The New York Times. 
  2. ^ Mackenzie Phillips (2009). High on Arrival. New York: Simon Spotlight Entertainment. ISBN 978-1-4391-5385-7. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "Mackenzie Phillips Biography (1959-)". The Biography Channel. Retrieved November 16, 2008. 
  4. ^ Baxter, John (1999). Mythmaker: The Life and Work of George Lucas. Avon Books. ISBN 0-380-97833-4. 
  6. ^ Mackenzie Phillips is helping drug addicts find a new start
  7. ^ Martinez, Jennifer (August 27, 2008). "Mackenzie Phillips arrested on drug charge". Reuters. Retrieved 2008-11-16. 
  8. ^ Serjeant, Jill (October 31, 2008). "Mackenzie Phillips pleads guilty to drug charge". Reuters. Retrieved 2008-11-16. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ Thomson, Katherine (2009-11-22). "Mackenzie Phillips' Oprah BOMBSHELL: Reveals Family Secret, Sex With Her Father: Report". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2010-03-22. 
  11. ^ "New Bombshell from Mackenzie Phillips". CBS News. 2009-09-24. Retrieved 2009-09-25. 
  12. ^ a b Schmidt, Veronica (2009-09-24). "Mackenzie Phillips, daughter of Mamas and Papas star, reveals their incestuous affair". London: The Times. Retrieved 2009-09-25. 
  13. ^ Mackenzie Phillips: Incestuous Relationship With My Father NOT Consensual (2010-02-02). "Mackenzie Phillips: Incestuous Relationship With My Father NOT Consensual (VIDEO)". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2010-03-22. 
  14. ^ "Mackenzie Phillips: I slept with my own father". People. September 22, 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-21. 
  15. ^ Thomson, Katherine (2009-09-23). "Mackenzie Phillips To Oprah: Decade Of Sex With Dad Ended With Abortion". Retrieved 2010-09-02. 
  16. ^ "Excerpt from High on Arrival by Mackenzie Phillips". 2009-09-23. Retrieved 2010-09-02. 
  17. ^ Eng, Joyce. "Mackenzie Phillips' Family Split Over Star's Incest Claims". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 2009-09-24. [dead link]
  18. ^ Everett, Cristina (2009-09-23). "Chynna Phillips recalls learning about sister Mackenzie Phillips' affair with father, John Phillips". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2009-09-24. 
  19. ^ "Bijou Phillips reacts to Mackenzie's Claims". Oprah. Retrieved 2009-09-24. 
  20. ^ "Phillips Blames Mackenzie For Ruining Her Life". The San Francisco Chronicle. 2009-09-29. 
  21. ^ "Denny Doherty's Daughter Corroborates Mackenzie Phillips' Story". Oprah. Retrieved 2009-09-24. 

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