​Candice Bergen and her fine romances

Say the name Candice Bergen and you can't help but think of "Murphy Brown," the character she played in the hit television series for 10 seasons -- a big step up from her childhood, when she had to share the spotlight with an unusual rival. Jane Pauley has our Sunday Profile:

At 68, Candice Bergen finally feels comfortable in her own skin.

She is the daughter of internationally-renowned ventriloquist Edgar Bergen. Charlie McCarthy was the star. "To have a world-famous dummy as a brother and be referred to until now as Charlie McCarthy's sister -- it has an impact," said Bergen.

So did having that face.

"My father used to warn me about being beautiful," she said. "And when I was, like, 10 years old he said, 'You know, Candie, it's the beautiful women who commit suicide.' So I never had any vanity about it because I always saw it as being fatal basically!

"And it's a lot to deal with. You don't realize the reaction a beautiful woman has when she walks into the room unless you see her walk into the room. And suddenly the atoms shift a little bit ... and that was me."

Was, she says.

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Simon & Schuster

"Now that I'm almost 70 -- I'll be 69 next month -- those years are so far behind me," said Bergen. "And I find it so liberating."

In her new book, "A Fine Romance" (published by CBS' Simon & Schuster), she looks back on not one but three relationships, beginning with French film director, Louis Malle.

"It was an unusually wise choice by both of us to not rush into a romantic relationship," Bergen said.

"What are you talking about? You rushed into a marriage," said Pauley. "You were married within months."

"Yeah, six months. It was fast!" laughed Bergen. "But when you're Louis --"

"It could have gone faster?"

"No, I don't think so!" she laughed. "But when you've dated a lot of people and you're 34, you kind of know."

They were married at Louis' family estate in the French countryside. Five years later, the real love of her life arrived.

She'd been deeply ambivalent about motherhood, writing: "I wondered if I could love a baby as much as a dog." [Bergen describes herself as "an animal person."]

Which explains the pet name ("Bunny") for her daughter, Chloe, now 29.

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Candice Bergen and Louis Malle.
Bachelet Bruno, Paris Match/Getty Images

"We call each other Bunny," said Bergen.

And Malle's nickname for her? "La petite cretine."

"Sounds lovely. What does it mean?"

"Well, it means 'little Idiot,'" laughed Bergen. "I disagreed with him calling her that, but there was always a kind of testiness between Louis and Chloe, because Chloe infringed on Louis' and my relationship. She crashed it."

Soon another woman, named Murphy Brown, would put an ocean between them.

"The one place in acting where I've always been comfortable is in comedy," said Bergen, "but I never got the chance to do it because I didn't look like a funny person."

"Murphy Brown" was a hit from the start. While Candice and Chloe lived in Los Angeles, Louis commuted to and from France.

But only death would truly separate them, after he was diagnosed with an untreatable lymphoma.