By PAT JANKIEWICZ
The best reason for having a computer in your home isn’t PlayStation 3, it’s Cindy Morganin TRON! The idea of a gorgeous, Spandex-clad blonde running around your personal system was too good to pass up.
“You know how I pulled off that Spandex?” she smiles. “No lunch!”
As Yori, Morgan is one of the residents of a computer world who compete in gladiatorial battles. When hacker Kevin (Jeff Bridges) is abducted into their realm and forced to participate, Yori, a supreme fighter, helps train him. Somewhat naive in other matters, Yori learns from Kevin, while showing him how to survive in the computerverse.
“TRON was the first CGI film ever made,” Morgan states. “And as the first, it received a lot of notoriety. I had no clue that it would become so big or that CGI would become the future of film. TRON is amazing—it’s the one movie I did where engineers come up to me and say, ‘Your film is why I got into computers.’ ”
“[Writer-director] Steven Lisberger is a great guy who knew what he was doing. He was ahead of his time—way, way ahead of his time. People love TRON because it has stood the test of time. To be honest, I had to see the movie a couple times to really get it. When we made it, we were working blind! Playing CGI ball without a ball was pretty difficult. It was like being a little kid again and using your imagination.”
“You never know what is going to work out and what isn’t. You put the same amount of effort into every project, but you never know what will hit. I always try to do the best job I possibly can every single time and hope for the best.”
Besides Yori, Morgan also played computer designer Lora—Yori’s real-life alter-ego.
“It was cool being two characters in one,” Morgan notes. “Lora is the piece of Yori that’s in the real world. Lora is pretty pragmatic, and from Chicago, just like me.”
“Yori is quite different than Lora—she isn’t pragmatic at all. In the computer world, Yori has an innocence, so I tried to give her a bit of naiveté, because she’s a computer program.”
“I liked Yori’s whole attitude,” says Morgan. “I thought ‘Greetings, program’ was a pretty great opening line. “I also got to kiss both Jeff and Bruce (Boxleitner) in TRON,” she adds. “They were great kissers. I enjoyed my screen kisses—it’s great work if you can get it!”
Born and raised in Chicago, the former Cindy Cichorski is of Polish descent.
“I always liked Morgan le Fay from the King Arthur stories, so I made résumés for both Cindy Cichorski and Cindy Morgan,” she explains. “I sent them to numerous radio stations, and Cindy Morgan was the one who got hired. I kept Cichorski as my middle name because of my Dad.
I worked as a DJ, doing morning drive radio. I did modeling for about five minutes, which got me out to LA. People kept telling me, ‘You’ll never work,’ and I said, ‘I’ll have a billboard in a year’—which I did with CADDYSHACK.”
In that classic snobs-vs.-slobs comedy directed by Harold Ramis , Morgan played the brash and sexy Lacy Underall. “That was a great role. I lucked into it,” she says while noting that she fought producer pressure about nude photos for Playboy. “I’m from Chicago, so this wasn’t my first rodeo. They created the character of Lacy by making me mad [re: the photos]. By pushing me, I used that anger and made her a total smartass.”
In the CBS series BRING ’EM BACK ALIVE, Morgan essayed the sidekick to famous animal trapper Frank Buck, played by her TRON co-star Boxleitner .
“Bruce is a great guy,” she extols. “Bruce and I got BRING ’EM BACK ALIVE eight months after TRON. We had chemistry together, and they used that. To this day, we still have great chemistry when we work together. We never ended up together in real life, but we’re a wonderful on-screen couple! That was a really, really hard show to do, but it was also a very good one.”
For IN THE MIDNIGHT HOUR, Morgan joined the undead.
“That was lots of fun—a TV movie with a great script,” she says. “I played a substitute teacher who’s actually a vampire running around trying to feed on her students. Shari Belafonte, Peter DeLuise and LeVar Burton were in my class.”
AMANDA & THE ALIEN gave Morgan the chance to wear two hats.
“I only did a cameo in that because I was also the associate producer for AMANDA and four other films,” she notes. “We had a series of women who all played the same alien—one woman would morph into another, which was a great idea. Michael Dorn was in that. We met through friends in LA, and he was fantastic in it.”
“Being an associate producer confirmed everything I always thought: Everybody is making things up as they go along! It was wonderful being on the other side of the desk.
We were making SF films for Showtime: AMANDA, OUT THERE and DEAD WEEKEND. I wasn’t overly fond of some of the scripts. They were R-rated, so you know what that means…” she smiles.
She joined Brigitte Nielsen for the SF romp GALAXIS.
“Oh, that was fun!” Morgan grins. “The director [William Mesa] was a good guy, and I had a nice role. We’re chasing this Amazon from outer space, Brigitte. It’s fun to be ‘the voice of reason’ in a science fiction movie. I’m the one who goes around saying, ‘This can’t really be happening!’ I have a great line in it where I try to describe Brigitte to my team: ‘She’s six feet tall and dressed like Barbarella!’ Brigitte was [a blast] to work with, a very nice person.”
Recently, Morgan re-entered the TRON Universe. “I did a voice for the video game TRON 2.0,” she says. “They killed off my character in the film, sort of, so they brought me back as Ma3a, the voice of the machine. Ma3a is a cool character—like the computer in 2001: She’s completely straight, and then goes a little awry.
It was a joy to be back in the TRON Universe, and I love voiceover jobs because you can do them in your sleep. They told me that if they made any more TRON follow-ups, they’re planning to bring back Yori.”
As for the future, the actress has big plans. “I’m writing my autobiography,” Cindy Morgan smiles. “It’s called LOVE LETTERS FROM LACY: From Catholic School to CADDYSHACK. If you grew up in Chicago, you’ll know what I’m talking about. I enjoy acting.