Moonlighting: Bruce Willis & Cybill Shepherd’s TV comedy/drama was a surprising success

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Moonlighting Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd TV comedy drama 1980s (2)
Moonlighting was a hit TV comedy/drama in the ’80s, starring Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd as an unlikely private detective duo. He’s a wisecracking investigator, and she’s a bankrupt former fashion model.


Cybill Shepherd as Maddie Hayes
Bruce Willis as David Addison Jr.
Allyce Beasley as Agnes DiPesto
Curtis Armstrong as Herbert Quentin Viola
Years: 1985-1989
# of seasons: 5
# episodes: 66

Sparks fly between ‘Moonlighting’ co-stars Bruce Willis & Cybill Shepherd

Excerpted from The Muncie Evening Press (Indiana) July 13, 1985

When actor Bruce Willis auditioned for a role in the series “Moonlighting,” ABC at first turned him down. Then they asked him to do a screen test with Cybill Shepherd and the sparks flew.

“I flew out on a Monday, tested on a Wednesday, and got the gig on Friday,” says Willis, a New Yorker.

Willis and Miss Shepherd created magic on the television screen like no couple has done for years, when they rubbed against each other, or rubbed each other the wrong way.

During its brief springtime run, it was one of the few bright ratings spots among ABC’s also-rans. The network ordered more shows for the fall.

Willis stars as David Addison, a fast-talking private eye, who finds himself teamed up with glamorous model Maddie Hayes, played by Cybill Shepherd. Maddie’s business manager swindled all her assets except one of her tax write-offs: the detective agency.

Moonlighting Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd TV comedy drama 1980s (1)

It’s the battling, mismatched pair, reminiscent of “Remington Steele” and the Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy movies, which makes the humor, the sparks and the romance.

Addison is an impulsive, quick-witted schemer. Maddie’s strong-willed and authoritative, with an icy demeanor that would chill an ordinary suitor, but to Addison, it’s like catnip to a Persian.

“Addison’s a guy who’s been having a party all his life,” says Willis, lounging on a huge L-shaped couch in his secluded canyon home. He wears baggy khaki pants, a shirt that looks like it’s part of a pajama set, and a week’s growth of beard. Every now and then he takes a drink from a bottle of mineral water.

How does he rate as a detective? “He’s trying,” says Willis. “He’s watched a lot of old detective movies. I don’t think he’s what comes to mind when you say detective. The hard-boiled gumshoe. He’s more modern.”

Moonlighting Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd TV comedy drama 1980s (3)

Moonlighting: A snazzy, screwball comedy (1986)

With Bruce Willis as David Addison, and Cybill Shepherd as Madeleine “Maddie” Hayes

“Look, Maddie, Time Magazine said we’re ‘…snazzy… a screwball comedy.'”

“That’s right, Addison. I’m snazzy and you’re a screwball.”

Moonlighting A snazzy, screwball comedy (1986)

ALSO SEE: Cybill Shepherd’s favorite hamburger recipe (1987)

Moonlighting intro/theme

Here is Moonlighting’s theme song from seasons 1 to 3, which earned singer/songwriter Al Jarreau a Grammy nomination.

YouTube video


Some walk by night
Some fly by day
Nothing could change you
Set and sure of the way.

There is the sun and moon,
They sing their own sweet tune,
Watch them when dawn is due,
Sharing one space.

We’ll walk by night,
We’ll fly by day,
Moonlighting strangers
Who just met on the way


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