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Stage Mom

Eight Is Enough star has happier memories onstage.

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Betty Buckley, who played stepmom to a brood of motherless kids on Eight Is Enough, revels in her stage roots tonight. She sings American standards and Broadway classics as part of the Tri-C Performing Arts Series. And the smiles you see are genuine, she says; not like the ones she forced during her television heyday.

Despite their onscreen cheeriness, the Eight Is Enough cast wasn't at all pleased with the producers' "disregard and disrespect," says Buckley. "They were egotistical power players who wanted to get their way with actors. I was told, 'Don't make waves until you get the ratings.' I was like, 'Are you kidding me? I'm from Texas. We don't treat people like this.'"

Since the show went off the air 25 years ago, Buckley has kept busy on Broadway and other stages. She even won a Tony Award in 1983 for her role in Cats. At 59, she says her best is yet to come. "We're raised to believe that if we haven't made it by our early 20s, we should just bag it," she says. "It takes time to experience enough life to have something to offer back."
Sat., Oct. 7, 8 p.m.

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