Capitalizing on the performance that made her famous, Cindy Morgan — sexy Lacey Underall in ‘Caddyshack’ — wants to take Bushwood on tour.
By Craig Dolch
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
OCEAN RIDGE — Lacey Underall is back and hoping to soon be strutting across a fairway near you. That’s exciting news to the legion of Caddyshack fans who remember racy Lacey steaming up the screen in the 1980 comedy classic.
Cindy Morgan’s popularity with fans of the movie Caddyshack has not waned in 27 years. ‘I’m awful,’ she says of her golf game. ‘But nobody seems to care.’ Despite having four legendary comedians on set, there was plenty of tension during the making of the classic golf movie.
Cindy as Lacey Underall
Cindy Morgan, figuring she can capitalize on her Caddyshack character, has moved back to South Florida and settled in at Ocean Ridge — about 30 miles north of where the movie was filmed in Davie.
“I’ve returned to the scene of the crime,” Morgan said, smiling. She’s also returning to her past by writing an autobiography, explaining how a little girl who grew up in a strict Catholic family in Chicago moved on to become the femme fatale of the fairways in a movie that grossed $39.8 million and became one of the most popular sports films in history.
But Morgan wants to do more than write about her experiences in Caddyshack. She wants to share them. She is starting a venture where country clubs around the U.S. can have a Caddyshack-themed party that Morgan will attend — for a fee, of course — and she’ll bring along Bushwood Country Club-themed memorabilia such as pin flags, caps, shirts, towels, coffee mugs, and even the oversized golf bag made famous by actor Rodney Dangerfield. She hopes to have other cast members join in.
“Clubs have been having these Caddyshack-themed parties for years,” Morgan said. “Why not have Lacey attend and make it truly memorable?” True to the movie’s original intentions, Morgan, 52, has teamed with an Illinois memorabilia group that will donate a portion of their revenue for a caddy scholarship fund. (The movie was centered around Danny Noonan, who would do anything to earn a college scholarship.) Morgan is quick to point out she’s not going to reunions to put on a golfing exhibition. “I’m awful,” she said of her golfing skills. “But nobody seems to care. Trust me, nobody cares.”
Morgan doesn’t mind cashing in on another 15 minutes of fame. While she has played many other roles — she was Yori in Tron, and she also appeared regularly on Falcon Crest and Matlock — she knows what character people will always remember her for. On the coffee table of her home are publicity shots of her in sexy poses from Caddyshack, one of them cuddling with one of the movie’s stars, Bill Murray, who played crazy greenskeeper Carl Spackler. “I call this my ‘catnip,’ ” she said of the photos. “Once I walk in the room and hand these out, I usually get what I want. People have a hard time saying no to me.” Morgan calls Caddyshack “Animal House on a golf course,” but even she is surprised about a cult following that’s going strong 27 years later.
The film teamed four top comedians — Murray, Chevy Chase, Dangerfield and Ted Knight (who many believe stole the movie as Judge Smails) — with an ensemble cast of young actors. Morgan said the script was barely followed because most of the actors improvised. Morgan, 25 at the time, was making her second movie. She had done work in radio and as a weathercaster in Illinois before heading to Los Angeles to do commercials.
When the six-week taping was finished at Rolling Hills Golf Club (now known as Grande Oaks), Morgan figured her film career wasn’t off to an auspicious start. “When the movie was over, we thought we were in a lot of trouble,” Morgan said. “We were very bad every day.” She wasn’t just talking about the acting. She said there was plenty of late-night “festivities” that went on between the cast and crew. Among the more memorable was the night golf carts were used to create an old war scene in a fairway.
Morgan said the set was stressful for her — she didn’t get along with Chase. Plus, Chase and Murray, who almost came to blows once during an argument from their Saturday Night Live days, also weren’t the best of friends. Morgan said she hasn’t spoken with Chase since the movie was finished, and they didn’t have much to say during the filming. “There was a lot of tension between us, which made for good scenes,” Morgan said. “He was trying to steal every scene, and so was I. If the tension’s not there, it’s boring. Believe me, there was nothing boring about filming that movie. If the cameras had been turned around, they would have gotten a whole ‘nother film.” Morgan, who is legally blind without corrective eyewear, recently appeared at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando to promote her new ventures. She said she’s amazed at how many people — mostly middle-aged men — recognize her from the movie. “I think it’s very flattering and cool that people still remember the character,” she said. “It was a fun, fantasy character. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be this woman that everyone wanted?”
While Morgan did a nude scene in the movie, she balked at allowing a Playboy photographer to take shots of her doing that scene. An angry producer threatened to fire her, but she wouldn’t relent. “It’s one thing when it (nudity) goes by in four seconds,” Morgan said. “It’s another thing to be sitting on someone’s coffee table forever.” But in a twist, she said she recently met with Playboy and said there’s a possibility she might do nude photos to help promote her autobiography. Why the change? “For the same reason I wouldn’t do it 25 years ago, I would do it now because it’s my choice,” she said. “Nobody tells a woman when and where and how.” Morgan, whose father fought in World War II, also feels passionate about supporting the U.S. military. Last year she organized the Caddyshack Reunion Golf Tournament to raise money for Illinios-based soldiers who have recently served in Afghanistan and Iraq. “We can’t do enough for these people,” she said.
Morgan is hoping a South Florida country club will “adopt Lacey” so she can get serious about playing golf. She played in Fuzzy Zoeller’s pro-am last fall and was paired with Champions Tour pro Lonnie Nielson of Palm Beach Gardens, who tried to help out with her swing. “Since she was in the movie, a lot of people expect that she’s a golfer,” Nielson said. “She has a pretty good setup and a nice grip. She just needs some repetition of hitting the balls on a range.” Morgan knows her golf skills will never be a factor in keeping her name in the game. “I know a lot of wonderful actors that never got a memorable role,” she said. “I feel very lucky I got mine.”