Cybill Shephard reveals her crush on Bruce Willis during Moonlighting filming: 'We were attracted to each other'
11 October 2023, 13:42
Hit TV show 'Moonlighting' was a runaway hit in the late '80s.
Listen to this article
From 1985 to 1989 Bruce Willis and Cybill Shephard starred in romantic comedy Moonlighting, and 34 years after its final Shephard is opening up about her attraction to co-star Willis.
Paying tribute to Bruce Willis, who earlier this year was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia, Cybill also spoke about his star appeal and her memories of working with the 'funny and brilliant' Hollywood star.
- Bruce Willis' incredible gesture revealed after 'Die Hard' stunt double suffered life-changing injury on set
- Arnold Schwarzenegger gives emotional update on how Bruce Willis will be remembered in Hollywood
- The amazing true story of Bruce Willis' popstar alter ego Bruno Radolini
As the show hits US streaming service Hulu, series creators Cybill Shephard and Glenn Gordon Caron spoke to New York Post to give incredible insight into the series and what it was really like behind the scenes.
Reflecting on how they fought for Bruce to be on the show, series creator Glenn Gordon Caron recalled how he kept on bringing Willis to the ABC offices until they gave in:
Caron: I brought Bruce in 11 times and he was the only one I brought in [for the role]. The problem with Bruce is that he didn’t look like an ABC leading man to [network execs], but I wasn’t interested in doing a show with an ABC leading man. Thank goodness there was a woman there named Ann Daniel, one of the very few women [network] executives at the time — the rest of the room were men. And Ann, in her own way, sort of set them straight. She said, “I don’t know if Bruce Willis is a leading man or an ABC leading man but he sure looks like fun to me.” It froze the room and they reconsidered and we were able to get Bruce the part, which meant the world to him and to me.
- Bruce Willis and Demi Moore's relationship timeline: From ex-married couple to best friends
- How Little Richard officiated weddings of Cyndi Lauper, Tom Petty, Bruce Willis and Demi Moore
- John Travolta pays tribute to 'generous' dear friend Bruce Willis following his retirement
Shepherd: I met Bruce in an office with Glenn and my temperature went up at least 10 degrees and I thought, "This guy is the one." I always knew not to act on it; we came close, Bruce and I, because we were both very attracted to each other, but we managed to just stop and not to fulfill that, and it had a huge amount to do with the success of the show. We fought for Bruce to be in the show; he had to do a screen test and they wanted me to be in it and I said no — what if they decide they don’t want me? Bruce was funny, brilliant, sarcastic and real and we couldn’t have chosen a greater co-star.
- Bruce Willis facts: Die Hard actor's age, wife, children, family and films explained
- Bruce Willis’ daughter Tallulah opens up on actor's dementia: 'I knew something was wrong for a long time'
- Bruce Willis's family release poignant video as he celebrates daughter's 11th birthday amid dementia diagnosis
Caron: ABC was so convinced that Bruce made no sense next to Cybill that, when they finally gave it the OK, they said, "You can use him, but don’t let the two of them get romantically involved. No one will ever believe it." So I said, "OK," and, of course, in the pilot they get romantically involved. I used to take Bruce to ABC and we would walk down the hall and the female assistants would just swoon. But the people making the [casting] choices were 30- and 40-year-old men so they didn’t have the same perspective.
Memories of Moonlighting
Shepherd: We broke all the walls. There wasn’t a wall that we left unbroken. It was just an extraordinary combination of the right casting and a brilliant creator. A lot of times people don’t want to give the creator credit anymore — you might think of Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel — but in this case it was Glenn. He was not afraid to break the rules any way he could to make the show great so that’s part of his genius that you can’t deny.
- Bruce Willis recalls 'Die Hard' crew thought he was dead after botched stunt: 'I almost missed the bag'
- Bruce Willis' wife Emma reveals it's "hard to know" if actor is even aware of his dementia condition
- Bruce Willis' daughters hug their dad's wax figure in adorable video amid actor's dementia battle
Caron: Bruce and I understood each other. We had a lot of the same references — silly references, but they were ours: The Three Stooges, Abbott and Costello, The Bowery Boys, Laurel & Hardy. I loved Frank Capra and Bruce said to me one day, "Have you ever heard of Preston Sturges?" He turned me on to him. Cybill, of course, was a great cinephile because she lived for a long time with [filmmaker/film historian] Peter Bogdanovich. So the three of us — we had our differences — but aesthetically we admired the same things and wanted to reach for the same things.
Bruce Willis becomes a grandfather for FIRST time amid dementia battle
Shepherd: People are going to laugh [when they see “Moonlighting”] and they’re going to get the dramatic parts between everybody in the show and then the great chemistry between Bruce and I. The brilliant writing of Glenn Gordon Caron with the comedy and the drama and everything all pulled together. ABC didn’t believe in this show enough to let us try to get away with it — and we did.
When the show finally came to a close in May 1969 after 67 episodes Moonlighting had achieved 41 Emmy nominations (including Shepherd and Beasley) and a 1987 award for Bruce Willis.