The Andy Griffith Show

‘The Andy Griffith Show’: Morgan Brittany Changed Her Name To Escape Her Child Acting Career

Suzanne Cupito, one of the biggest little names on TV during the 60s. She stole hearts on The Andy Griffith Show as Opie’s first love, Mary Alice. She acted alongside Robert Duvall in The Outer Limits, and she kept secrets from Chester in several episodes of Gunsmoke.

She was a major child star during this era of television and she appeared in countless episodes of classic TV and even several films. However, at the age of 15 she decided to end her childhood stardom and focus on her studies. She went on to earn her journalism degree, but she felt compelled to continue acting.

In an interview with Associated Press in 1984 as reported by MeTV, Cupito described herself during her childhood fame as a “skinny little squirt” who “always looked five years younger” than her actual age. In order to get a fresh start, Cupito needed to reinvent herself.

When she turned 18, Cupito changed her name to Morgan Brittany. She pulled the name from a novel by Frank Yerby called Floodtide hoping to embrace a more glamorous side of herself. When she looked back on her long career, she saw her past as two completely different legacies. One as a gawky teen icon named Suzie Cupito, and another as a classy bombshell named Morgan Brittany.

“I looked like a clarinet in high school,” Brittany said. “And that’s still the image I get of myself. Morgan Brittany is a glamorous name and a glamorous image, but it’s not the me that I really know inside.”

Morgan Brittany Gets a New Lease on Life

The newly crowned Morgan still identified more with Suzie inside, but that was no longer the persona she wanted to portray onscreen. She viewed this new persona as a, “larger than life and a movie and TV star. When I see that image on the screen, I feel like Suzie watching someone else.”

The newly crowned Morgan’s plan worked. She used her new persona to relish in various acting roles throughout the 70s, 80s, and beyond. Eventually, she landed her biggest role yet as Katherine Wentworth on Dynasty.

“Katherine is a bad girl,” Brittany said. “But the writers are not making me like any other villainess on Dynasty or Falcon Crest. Katherine is so lovable and sweet. But the minute you turn your back, look out. They based her on Eve Harrington in All About Eve. She’s devious and will stop at nothing to get what she wants.”

Her new take on life even led to her meeting her eventual husband while she acted in a guest spot on The Dukes of Hazzard. She was acting in a damsel in distress role, and he was a stuntman on set.

“We started talking and I don’t think we’d known each other for 30 minutes when he asked me to marry him,” Brittany said. “I said yes right away. I thought he was kidding. Six months later we were married.”

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