Marilu Henner’s life changed on Sept. 15, 1978.
The actress was in New Orleans on a Friday for the boxing match between Muhammad Ali and Leon Spinks alongside her cast-mates from her new show, “Taxi.” She had just returned from a European trip to support her then-boyfriend, actor John Travolta, who was opening his new film, “Grease,” overseas and was looking to unwind.
“I was walking down the street with the guys from the show,” recalled Henner to Fox News, “and people were honking their horns, blasting music, and screaming at us, ‘Hey Nardo!,’ ‘Hey Louie!’ I just thought my life had forever changed.”
Henner would appear in the ABC sitcom from 1978-1983 as divorced single mom Elaine, the leading lady among an all-star cast featuring Judd Hirsch, Danny DeVito, Tony Danza, Andy Kaufman, Christopher Lloyd and Jeff Conaway. She acknowledges that the cast made sure to stand out in what’s now being recognized as a golden era for American television.
“We did 112 shows and we literally had 112 parties,” she explained. “This cast was so into one another and every Friday we would throw a party. The Paramount lot was like going to the coolest high school ever. At that same time, you had ‘Happy Days,’ ‘Laverne & Shirley,’ ‘Mork & Mindy’ -- of course with Robin Williams; ‘Bosom Buddies’ with Tom Hanks; ‘Working Stiffs’ with Jim Belushi and Michael Keaton. You had all of these great sitcoms going on at the same time. But the ‘Taxi’ cast — we were the ones that threw the parties.”
It’s no wonder that, the 64-year-old seemed hesitant about the idea of “Taxi” ever getting a reboot for today’s viewers.
“Well, they’d have to call it Uber, but sure…" she said of the idea of a reboot.
The actress added that the biggest issue with remaking the show would be finding the right cast.
"You know, we lost some key members, both Andy Kaufman and Jeff Conaway, which makes me so sad,” she said. “But a whole reboot? I would be very excited to see who they would cast. But you know what, I don’t know. Andy was so original and so was Chris Lloyd. And Danny! Who could be Danny? They would have to bring Danny back for sure because who could be Danny, but Danny? Who could be Louie, but Danny DeVito?”
Henner isn’t sitting back and enjoying the success of her decades-long career quietly. She’s set to star in the upcoming Hallmark film, “Dead Over Heels: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery,” opposite fellow TV veteran Candace Cameron-Bure.
It’s the fifth from the film franchise where Henner appears as feisty real estate agent Aida Teagarden. She’s thrilled to not only let some of her real personality shine, but also appear alongside Bure. Henner, who plays Bure’s mom in the film, was all too thrilled to give the 40-year-old some parental advice.
“I’m such a posture person and she would tell me, ‘You know, I don’t think my posture is good,’ said Henner. “And I would tell her, ‘You know, you have such an incredible body. You have an unbelievable body. But sometimes you stand like a little kid.’”
And when it comes to health, Henner is no-nonsense about her regimen. She has written 10 books primarily on her passion for wellness and is a New York Times bestseller. She also isn’t shy on sharing candid advice on how anyone can improve their health.
“There was no bigger change in my life than giving up dairy products… I ended up losing 54 pounds, I lowered my cholesterol over 100 points and just never fought with my weight again," she dished. "It completely went away."
“Dead Over Heels: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery” premieres Sunday, March 19 on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries.