Anderson was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, the daughter of Maxine Hazel (née Kallin), a model, and Klaydon Carl "Andy" Anderson, an environmental chemist and grew up in suburban Roseville. She attended the University of Minnesota.  As she says in her autobiography, My Life in High Heels, her father was originally going to name her "Leiloni", but then realized to his horror that when she got to her teen years it was liable to be twisted into "Lay Loni". So it was changed to just plain "Loni".
Anderson's most famous acting role came as receptionist Jennifer Marlowe on WKRP in Cincinnati. Her pinup photo in a bikini became one of the best-selling wall posters of the 1970s. She and Burt Reynolds made one film together, the 1983 stock-car racing comedy Stroker Ace, a huge box-office failure.
Shortly after her divorce from Reynolds, she appeared as a regular in the final season (1993–1994) on the NBC sitcom Nurses. Anderson portrayed actress Jayne Mansfield in a made-for-TV biopic with Arnold Schwarzenegger as her husband, Mickey Hargitay. She teamed with Lynda Carter in a 1984 television series, Partners in Crime.
Anderson made a series of cameo appearances on television shows in the late 1990s and early 2000s, such as the Spellmans' "witch-trash" cousin on Sabrina, the Teenage Witch and Vallery Irons' mother on V.I.P..
Anderson has been married four times; her first three marriages were to: Bruce Hasselberg (1964–1966), Ross Bickell (1973–1981), and actor (and one-time co-star) Burt Reynolds (1988–1993). On May 17, 2008, Anderson married musician Bob Flick, one of the founding members of the folk band The Brothers Four. The couple had met at a movie premiere in Anderson's native Minneapolis a few years after Flick's group hit #2 on the pop charts with "Greenfields" in 1960. The ceremony was attended by friends and family, including son Quinton Reynolds.
She has two children: a daughter, Deidra Hoffman (from her first marriage), who is a school administrator in California; and a son, Quinton Anderson Reynolds (born August 31, 1988), whom she and Burt Reynolds adopted. Her autobiography, My Life in High Heels, was published in 1997.
- Vigilante Force (1976)
- Stroker Ace (1983)
- The Lonely Guy (1984)
- All Dogs Go to Heaven (1989) (voice of Flo)
- Coins in the Fountain (1990)
- Munchie (1992)
- 3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain (1998)
- A Night at the Roxbury (1998)
Selected television work
- WKRP in Cincinnati (1978–1982)
- The Incredible Hulk (1 episode, 1978) – "Of Guilt, Models and Murder", (playing "Sheila Cantrell")
- Three's Company (1 episode, 1978) – "Coffee, Tea, or Jack", (playing "Susan Wallace")
- The Jayne Mansfield Story
- Partners in Crime (1984)
- A Letter to Three Wives (1985)
- Amazing Stories (1 episode, 1985) – "The Guilt Trip"
- Easy Street (1986)
- Blondie and Dagwood (1987, voice)
- Too Good to Be True (1988)
- Sorry, Wrong Number (1989)
- White Hot: The Mysterious Murder of Thelma Todd (1991)
- The Price She Paid (1992) TV Movie, she played Lacey.
- Nurses (cast member from 1993 to 1994)
- Without Warning (1994)
- The Mullets (2003–2004)
- So NoTORIous (2006)
- According to the State of Minnesota. Minnesota Birth Index, 1935–2002, at Ancestry.com
- "Loni Anderson Biography (1945?-)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved 2010-07-27.
- "Loni Anderson marries folk singer Bob Flick 15 years after divorce from Burt Reynolds". Star Tribune. May 18, 2008.
- Dougherty, Margot; Linda Marx, Victoria Balfour, Lois Armstrong (1988-05-16). "Burt & Loni's Wedding Album". People. Time Inc. Retrieved June 28, 2008. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- Schindehette, Susan (1993-09-13). "What a Mess!". People. Time Inc. Retrieved June 28, 2008.
- Lipton, Michael A. (September 15, 2003). "Red-Hot Grandmama". People. Time Inc. Retrieved June 28, 2008.
- "Deidre Hall's Miracle." The American Surrogacy Center, Inc., 1996. Retrieved September 7, 2006.
- BURT AND LONI, AND BABY MAKES GLEE (The Philadelphia Inquirer – September 3, 1988)
- Famous Lutherans
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