I never saw Mackenzie Phillips in AMERICAN GRAFFITI until it aired on TV several years after the fact. She had grown up around show business as the daughter of John Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas.
The very first time I saw her was in a TV drama special--a HALLMARK HALL OF FAME I believe--entitled MILES TO GO BEFORE I SLEEP. She was dark, brooding and surly in the show--not my type at all, bust she was only a few months younger than me and I did like her.
After that, she turned up again in a now-unjustly forgotten movie entitled RAFFERTY AND THE GOLD DUST TWINS, an enjoyable dramady with Alan Arkin and Sally Kellerman. I paid to see it twice and chose it as my favorite movie that year.
Again, she was surly and troubled but gave a great performance.
After that, I was delighted when Mac turned up as the oldest daughter on a new seriocomic sitcom that would be a favorite of mine through the late seventies and into the early eighties.
But being the daughter of a famous rock star had taken its toll on her and with success came a drug habit to rival her Dad's. She began to show the effects on TV and became unreliable behind the scenes. She was fired. Over time, she cleaned up and was allowed back…only to relapse again.
Years later, once again clean and sober along with her Dad who had written a popular autobiography about his life, his career and his drug issues, she formed a new Mamas and Papas that, at one point, include vocalist Scott Mackenzie for him she had been named. All looked good for a while.
But not only were there still drug issues to deal with, it would be revealed years later, after his death, that she had entered into an incestuous relationship with her father.
But she came back again. And this time she wrote it all down. Every dark, surly and bros-worthy word of it.
In the end, Mackenzie Phillips is a survivor. She's been through multiple kinds of Hell and lived to literally tell the tale. Something tells me--and I hope I'm right--that she'll be around long after many of us are gone. Hang in there, Mac. We still love ya.