Victoria Leigh Blum (born October 15, 1955), professionally known by the stage name Tanya Roberts, is an American actress and producer. She is known for her role as Stacey Sutton in the James Bond film A View to a Kill (1985), and as Midge Pinciotti on That ’70s Show (1998–2004).
Roberts was born in 1955 in the Bronx, New York City, the second child of her father, of Irish descent, and a Jewish mother. She has one older sister, Barbara. Roberts’ father supported their family on a modest income, working as a fountain pen salesman in Manhattan. Roberts and her sister were raised in the central Bronx.
She relocated from New York with her mother to live in Toronto for several years, where she started formulating a photo portfolio and laying plans for a career. At age 15, she left high school and lived for a while hitch-hiking across the United States. She eventually returned to New York City and became a fashion and cover model. After meeting psychology student Barry Roberts (while waiting in line for a movie), she proposed to him in a subway station and they were soon married. While Barry pursued a career as a screenwriter, she began to study at the Actors Studio with Lee Strasberg and Uta Hagen under the name Tanya Roberts.
Her career began as a model in TV ads for Excedrin, Ultra Brite, Clairol, and Cool Ray sunglasses. She played serious roles in the off-Broadway productions Picnic and Antigone. She also supported herself as an Arthur Murray dance instructor. Her film debut was the 1975 thriller, Forced Entry. This was followed by the 1976 comedy The Yum-Yum Girls.
In 1977, as her husband was securing his own screenwriting career, the couple moved to Hollywood. The following year, Roberts participated in the drama Fingers. Roles in the 1979 cult movie, Tourist Trap, Racquet, and California Dreaming followed. Roberts was featured in several television pilots that were not picked up: Zuma Beach (a 1978 comedy), Pleasure Cove (1979), and Waikiki (1980).
Roberts was chosen in the summer of 1980 from some 2000 candidates to replace Shelley Hack in the fifth season of the detective television series, Charlie’s Angels on ABC. Roberts played the sultry Julie Rogers, a streetwise fighter who used her fists more than her gun. Producers hoped Roberts’s sizzling presence would revitalize the show’s declining ratings and regenerate media interest in the series. Before the season’s premiere, Roberts was featured on the cover of People magazine with a headline asking if Roberts would be able to save the declining series from cancellation.
Despite the hype Roberts’s debut had received, her premiere episode in November 1980 drew dismal ratings. The series was thereafter moved to several different timeslots on the broadcast schedule, but viewership continued to drop as the season progressed. After just 16 episodes of a fifth season, the series had drastically slipped to 59th in the ratings out of just 65 shows and was cancelled in June 1981. However, producers of the show reported after the show’s cancellation, if Roberts had entered the show the previous season, the series would have been back for a sixth season.
Roberts played Kiri in the 1982 film The Beastmaster. She was featured in a nude pictorial in Playboy to help promote the movie, appearing on that issue’s October 1982 cover. In 1983, Roberts filmed the Italian-made adventure fantasy film Hearts and Armour (also known as Paladini-storia d’armi e d’amori and Paladins — The Story of Love and Arms), based on the medieval novel Orlando Furioso. She portrayed Velda, a buxom secretary to private detective Mike Hammer in the television movie Murder Me, Murder You. The two-part pilot spawned the syndicated television series, Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer. She declined to continue the role in the Mike Hammer series to work on her next project, Sheena: Queen of the Jungle. The 1984 movie was a box office and critical disaster, garnering her a nomination for “Worst Actress” at the Razzie Awards.
Roberts subsequently appeared as Bond girl Stacey Sutton, a geologist, in A View to a Kill (1985). She again found herself nominated by the critics for a Razzie Award. Other 1980s films include Night Eyes, an erotic thriller; Body Slam (1987), an action movie set in the professional wrestling world; and Purgatory, a movie about a woman wrongfully imprisoned in Africa.
1990s – present
Roberts starred in the 1991 erotic thriller, Inner Sanctum alongside Margaux Hemingway. In 1992, she played Kay Egan in Sins of Desire. She appeared on the cable TV series, Hot Line in 1994; and in the video game The Pandora Directive in 1996.
In 1998, Roberts took the role of Midge Pinciotti on the television sitcom That ’70s Show. Roberts revealed on E! True Hollywood Story that she left the series in 2001 because her husband had become terminally ill. She wrote the foreword to the 2008 book, The Q Guide to Charlie’s Angels.
Roberts was married to husband Barry Roberts from 1974 until his death in 2006. Roberts resides in Hollywood Hills, California.