Sandy Duncan started in show business when she was only 12, singing and dancing her way to Broadway and into movies and television, collecting awards and building a reputation as one of the more promising young stars. Her career was blooming when, at 25, a brain tumor robbed her of sight in one eye.
Today Duncan has developed a new perspective on life. She lives in Los Angeles with her third husband, Don Correia, and their two young sons, and stars in an NBC television series, "The Hogan Family" (8:30 p.m. Mondays). Like a lot of American women, she's trying to combine both motherhood and career.
"The series is really the only thing I can do right now," she says, what with car-pooling the boys and preferring her weekends free. "Otherwise I could never have seen my children. I drop one of my children off at nursery school, and I'm home by 6:30 or 7. I have weekends off. It's not unreasonable. I don't want to miss all this."
Her series once belonged to Valerie Harper, but Duncan is glad to have it. Besides, she says there's very little work in New York for people in musical theater.
For Duncan, her new role works out well and reflects her life. On the small screen she manages a household of four men; at home she copes with three.
This fall, she said, "the tone" of story lines will change. "It's taken a year for them to figure out what that will be. They didn't thrust me onto the public," she said, when Harper left.
Jason Bateman, 19, has signed a contract for another three years, she said. "He's going off to college, but he's living at home." The other boys are played by Danny Ponce and Jeremy Licht. Expanded roles are due Edie McClurg and Willard Scott as busybody neighbors, the Pooles. In a May episode, Joe Spano appeared as Mr. Cameron, an English teacher at the high school where Sandy Hogan will become a guidance counselor.
"They're going to deal with some issues," Duncan said. "Not that our show will ever be a heavy-duty issue show: They're very soft-sell, and they do little morality plays, usually two problems, an A and a B story. They teach young viewers about communicating and about a way of talking to each other in a peaceful way, not a preachy way. It sort of leads kids."