Mackenzie Philips Biography
At age twelve, Phillips formed a band with three of her classmates and was spotted by a casting agent during one of their performances. She was given an audition for a role in the 1973 hit film American Graffiti, which she won.
Phillips was 12 when the filming of American Graffiti began, and 14 when the movie was released. She was cast as Carol Morrison, a young girl accidentally picked up by hot rodding teenager John Milner. Because of California state law, producer Gary Kurtz became Phillips' legal guardian during the filming.
Phillips gained stardom in the 1970s, when she played the boy-crazy teenager Julie Cooper Horvath on the long-running television show One Day at a Time. She earned $50,000 a week. During the show's third season in 1977, Phillips was arrested for public drunkenness and possession of cocaine. Because of her drug and alcohol abuse, Phillips began arriving late and was even incoherent for rehearsals. The producers ordered her to take a six week break to overcome her addiction. In 1980, she was fired from the show.
After two nearly fatal overdoses, Phillips entered Fair Oaks Hospital to undergo treatment. In 1981, the producers of One Day at a Time invited her back to the show. However, she resumed using cocaine in 1982 and collapsed on the show's set. When she refused to take a drug test, she was fired and her character was written out of the series. In 1992, she entered a long-term drug rehabilitation program and underwent intensive treatment for nine months.
In 1999, Phillips co-starred with Cara DeLizia in the Disney Channel series So Weird, playing a fictional rock star. She sang original songs written by Jon Cooksey and Ann Marie Montade. In the 2002, she appeared in the Disney Channel original movie Double Teamed. Phillips has since guest starred on episodes of ER, Without a Trace, 7th Heaven, and Cold Case.
Phillips has been married three times: to Jeff Sessler (1979-1981); to rock guitarist Michael Barakan – now known professionally as Shane Fontayne – (1996-2000); and to Keith Levenson (2005-present). Phillips and Michael Barakan have a son, Shane, who was born in 1987.
Phillips has had a lifetime troubled by drug abuse. On August 27, 2008, she was arrested by the Los Angeles Airport Police on charges of possession of cocaine and heroin after she went through airport security screening. On October 31, 2008, she pleaded guilty to one felony count of cocaine possession, and was sentenced to a drug rehabilitation program.
In September 2009, Phillips' book High on Arrival was released. According to an article in People magazine, in the memoir she alleges that she was raped by her father on the night before her wedding to Jeff Sessler while she was unconscious at age 19; both were under the influence of drugs at the time. Afterwards an incestuous relationship developed, lasting ten years. Phillips says her father first raped her when she was 19, and that the sexual relationship with him later became what she termed in her memoir as being "consensual." On 23 September Mackenzie Phillips appeared on the The Oprah Winfrey Show for the entire hour one-on-one with Oprah, with a surprise reunion with Valerie Bertinelli at the end.