Susan Blakely (born September 7, 1948) is an American film actress known for her leading role in Universal and ABC Television's mini-series, Rich Man, Poor Man, which aired in 1976. She was a highly successful commercial model before becoming a full-time actress which she continues to this day. She is a Golden Globe Award winner.
Her first modeling break came while she was living in El Paso, Texas, where her father was stationed at Fort Bliss. Around 1967, a photograph of Blakely posed poolside in a black and white "op art" swimsuit was used by a local TV station, KELP-TV (now KVIA-TV), on its ID slide that ran during breaks between shows. Her blond "California girl" good looks were exactly what was in demand at the time, and she was easily able to secure sponsorship for a national modeling competition, which she won. The prize was a year's contract with the Ford Modeling Agency in New York. Her first appearance on a cover was for a hairstyle magazine.
In 1982, Blakely married media consultant and media crisis management expert Steve Jaffe, a former television producer. They live in Beverly Hills, California with Sophie Rose, a miniature Schnauzer.
In 2003, Blakely created a semi-precious jewelry line from her own designs, which has been sold only privately but she says that limited pieces may soon be offered on the Internet on her website, SusanBlakely.com.
Blakely's first major role was as Patty Simmons in the disaster movie The Towering Inferno. She appeared in the 1974 films Report to the Commissioner and The Lords of Flatbush, then played the role of Iris Crawford in the 1975 gangster biopic Capone opposite Ben Gazzara.
Blakely gained wide popularity and critical acclaim with her starring role in the 1976 television miniseries Rich Man, Poor Man. Her performance won that year's Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama and earned a nominations for the Emmy Awards. She earned a second Emmy nomination the following year when she reprised her role in Rich Man, Poor Man Book II.
Blakely appeared in the box office and film The Concorde ... Airport '79. In 1981, she portrayed Eva Braun opposite Anthony Hopkins' Adolf Hitler in the television movie The Bunker. Between 1989 to 1994, she portrayed several characters on the television mystery drama Murder, She Wrote.
She portrayed Frances Farmer in the 1982 television film based on Farmer's autobiography, Will There Really Be a Morning?, for which she was nominated for the second for a Golden Globe. In 1992 she starred with Barry Bostwick and E.G.Marshall in Russian Roulette.
Blakely was awarded the "Best Actress" award for her role in the film, "Hungry Hearts", from the 2002 California Independent Film Festival.
Through 2012, Blakely has continued to appear in guest star roles in numerous television series, and has starred in a number of short films and television films.