‘WKRP in Cincinnati’: What Star Jan Smithers Did After the Show Ended

by Megan Molseed

Jan Smithers lit up television screens in the popular CBS classic sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati. In the series, Smithers portrayed a new reporter named Bailey Quarters. During the show’s run from 1978 until 1982, Jan Smithers had quite a bit of responsibility in her character. Bailey was always facing challenges as she fought to be taken seriously as a woman reporting the news on the radio.

After WKRP in Cincinnati ended in 1982, the actress continued her career in a variety of other roles; making appearances in shows such as The Love Boat, and Murder She Wrote. However, her true calling came a little later. A calling, the actress says, changed her life.

Smithers Moves From ‘WKRP in Cincinnati’ To Her Dream Role At Home

In 1987, Jan Smithers and then-husband, James Brolin welcomed their daughter, Molly. And Smithers jumped right into the decision to retire from Hollywood to focus her attention on taking care of her daughter.

“I loved having a career,” the former WKRP star explains in a discussion with Newsweek.

“But when I met Molly, I just looked at her and told her, ‘You need me,'” the star recalls. “And she looked at me so innocently.”

“I thought, I have to stay!” Smithers remembers.

“She changed my life,” the proud mother notes. “I really longed to be her mom.”

It Must Be a Family Business

While Jan Smithers stepped away from Hollywood to raise her daughter, that didn’t stop Molly from forging her own way into the business when she got older. Molly eventually grew up and followed the lead of her mom and dad stepping into the entertainment industry. However, Molly decided to go with working behind the camera instead. So far, she has worked as a producer and production assistant in a variety of films such as Men in Black 3. The young Brolin has also worked on production events for specials such as John Mulaney’s New In Town.

Jan Smithers and James Brolin were married in 1986. The couple was together for almost ten years. However, their goals in life began to veer from each other’s hopes as Jan wanted to focus more on raising Molly.

“It was good—really good,” Smithers remembers of her marriage to Brolin. “But somehow, somewhere, we started to wander.”

The actress adds that Brolin traveled a lot for work. He was gone months at a time. So, she says, they started to drift apart.

“I had Molly and wanted to be in the country and get away from that world,” Smithers explains. “I Just wanted a different life, and we ended up getting divorced.”

James Brolin, of course, went on to marry Barbra Streisand in 1998.