Susan Blakely (born September 7, 1952) is an American movie actress who has mainly played supporting roles.
Blakely was born in Frankfurt, Germany, in 1952, the daughter of Weezie, a former art teacher, and Lawrence Blakely, a career Army officer. Her first career break came while she was living in El Paso, Texas, where her father was stationed at Ft. Bliss. Around 1967, a photograph of Blakely posed poolside in a stylish black and white "op art" swimsuit was used by a local TV station, KELP-TV (now KVIA-TV), on its I.D. slide that ran during breaks between shows. Her blond "California girl" good looks were exactly what was in demand at the time, and she was easily able to secure sponsorship for a national modeling competition, which she won. The prize was a year's contract with the Ford Modeling Agency in New York. Her first appearance on a cover was for a hairstyle magazine.
Blakely first arrived in Hollywood in the early 1970s as a highly paid fashion model and then branched off into acting. Blakely's first major role was as Patty Simmons in the classic disaster movie The Towering Inferno. She received recognition for her role in the 1974 film The Lords of Flatbush then gained wide popularity with her starring role in the 1976 television mini-series Rich Man, Poor Man for which she won that year's Golden Globe Award for Best Actress and an Emmy nomination from the television academy. She also portrayed a reporter named Maggie Whelan in the 1979 film The Concorde: Airport '79 which, unfortunally, was nothing more than a box office flop, derided by many critics. In 1981, she portrayed Eva Braun opposite Anthony Hopkins (who played Hitler) in the television movie The Bunker.
Many critics believe that Blakely's best performance was in the title role of Frances Farmer in the 1982 television film based on the autobiography of Farmer, "Will There Really Be A Morning?" for which she was nominated for the third time in the Best Actress category of the Golden Globes. In 2002, Blakely won the Best Actress Award at the California Independent Film Festival for her starring role in the film "Hungry Hearts".
In 1982, Blakely married media consultant and crisis management expert Stephen Jaffe, a former television producer.