Susan Saint James, known for playing Stuart McMillan’s wife Sally on “McMillan & Wife,” once said she falls in love “with somebody every day.” She also “got engaged a lot” but “never married anyone” she was engaged to. However, she did end up marrying three times and having five kids.
Veteran actress Susan Saint James began her television career at age twenty on “The Name of the Game,” which won her an Emmy Award in its first year as a series.
James' career took off successfully after her stint on the popular TV show “McMillan & Wife.” Here are details of the TV star’s personal life and family.
BUSTLING ROMANTIC LIFE & PAST MARRIAGES
James is a sucker for love and has walked down the aisle three times. At age 20, the now 75-year-old married her first husband, scriptwriter Richard Neubert in 1967.
The marriage was short-lived as they divorced a year later because of career conflicts. However, she admitted in March 1983 that they fit together:
“We were a good match.”
Dick Ebersol and Susan Saint James during party honoring "Saturday Night Live" and Olivia Newton-John - May 22, 1982 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, New York. Photo: Getty Images
When she was 24, she wed “Name of the Game” makeup man Tom Lucas, whom she had lived with for two years and who is the father of her children, Harmony, and Sunshine.
They parted ways, and later she confessed that she still found him “fun and great.” James had also fired him as manager but kept him as a spouse.
Susan Saint James, daughter Sunshine Lucas and son Harmony Lucas attend the Superman III North Haven Special Screening to Benefit The Connecticut Friends of Special Olympics and Marrakech on June 15, 1983 at Showcase Cinemas North Haven in North Haven, Connecticut. Photo: Getty Images
After that, the starlet had a few boyfriends; among them were actors George Hamilton and Dennis Christopher, whom she deemed incredible and shared was still in contact with.
Stephen Stills and filmmaker Bruce Lewis also made that list. She revealed that she had also been engaged a lot along the way stating that it was habitual:
“I never married anyone I was engaged to. For me, getting engaged was the grown-up way of going steady.”
She never thought she would remarry until she met her current third husband, Dick Ebersol, in October 1981. “I knew I was going to take down my old boyfriends’ pictures and ask him what he wanted for breakfast,” said James.
Susan Saint James wearing a leather jacket with Dick Ebersol sometime around 1970 in New York. Photo: Getty Images
AN IMPROBABLE PAIR
James married 74-year-old Ebersol in 1981, who was 35 years old at the time. He was a TV wunderkind who became the youngest vice-president ever at NBC at age 28.
He currently has a luxurious lifestyle that includes a Brentwood, California house (now rented out), a Manhattan apartment, and the Litchfield place. His wife revealed once:
“Dick has the most traditional background, but there’s a bit of Caesars Palace in him.”
Susan Saint James and television executive Dick Ebersol attend Manuel Rojas's party on June 22, 1988 at Maxim's Restaurant in New York City. Photo: Getty Images
The couple met professionally, James was in Manhattan to guest-host a “Saturday Night Live” show, and he went to her hotel to discuss it. On their first counter, Ebersol disclosed:
“We got along famously.”
Producer Dick Ebersol and Susan Saint James attend "Saturday Night Live" party for Olivia Newton-John on May 22, 1982 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Photo: Getty Images
After rehearsals, the next day, at NBC’s Studio 8-H in Rockefeller Center, they went to Xenon, the trendy fiasco, and he shared that he had never been there while revealing:
“We sat and kissed a little, and when we looked up, all the paparazzi were surrounding us. The Daily News ran almost an entire page of pictures. By the end of the week, we were nuts about each other.”
Dick Ebersol and Susan Saint James at the 9th Annual Woman's Sports Foundation Awards. Photo: Getty Images
Seven weeks later, the pair got married at her home in Hollywood Hills. They commuted between coasts for months until they purchased the Litchfield house.
The couple welcomed their first child together, Charlie, 39, in December 1982, who arrived in the same Connecticut hospital where his father was born.
Though Ebersol had missed their natural birth classes, while on the way to the hospital, they stopped at the drugstore to buy a stopwatch, and James told him what to do.
The “Kate & Allie” star had a difficult pregnancy and shared it was “tough.” James gained a substantial amount of weight, and it took its toll on her:
“I gained 50 pounds, and, being older, the body is more willing to fall out of shape. But I’m a workout person.”
The Hollywood power couple later welcomed their second child, son Willie. Their youngest son was Teddy, born in 1990. James then decided to put her career on hold to raise her kids.
(L-R) Dick Ebersol with his sons, director Willie Ebersol and producer Charlie Ebersol with mom Susan St. James (L) and daughter Sunshine Lucas in the front during the screening of "Ithuteng" held at the MGM screening room June 23, 2005 in New York City. Photo: Getty Images
MEET JAMES’ KIDS
In November 2004, the tight-knit family gathered together in California to celebrate Thanksgiving. James, Ebersol, and their sons, Charlie and Teddy, boarded a private jet in California.
The aircraft landed at a small Colorado airport, where they dropped off James. The rest of the family were supposed to head to the east. However, moments after takeoff, the plane carrying Ebersol and his sons came crashing down.
The father of two explained that the plane hit the ground at more than 100 miles an hour and then slid into a stop at the edge of a 60-foot cliff.
In reaction, Charlie acted as soon as the jet stopped moving and pulled his father to safety. He also attempted to find his younger brother, but before he could, the plane exploded.
Susan Saint James, husband Dick Ebersol and son Ted at the "Mean Girls" New York premiere. Photo: Getty Images
Two days later, rescue crews discovered Teddy’s body beneath the plane. He and two other crew members tragically died from the incident and had been thrown out of the aircraft on impact.
James thought that if she ever lost a child, she would “sit down in a chair and never talk again.” Despite having that idea at first, she refrained from doing it when she lost Teddy.
(L-R) Universal Studios' Ron Meyer, Dick Ebersol, Harmony Ebersol, Charles Ebersol, William Ebersol, First Lady of California Maria Shriver, Susan Saint James and President of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce Leron Gubler attend the Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame honoring actress Susan Saint James near the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street on June 11, 2008 in Hollywood, California. Photo: Getty Images
Within days of losing her son, she sat down with NBC’s Tim Russert to discuss the tragic accident. The California native shared all she could think about was how people would feel sorry for her.
James said that even though she would try to make them feel better, it would be exhausting. But the Ebersol family was comforted in knowing that Teddy accomplished many things in his short life.
He overcame a learning disability that affected his childhood. “By the end, at the end of 14 years, you had this whole person who was best friends with my mom and who had created a relationship with my father … He was the complete person that you hope you will be when you die," said his brother Charlie.
Meanwhile, their mom considers her support and encouragement of Teddy the greatest accomplishment of her life. James shared Teddy knew how the family felt about his achievements because they cheered him on.
To date, the family continues to try and focus on his life and not his untimely passing. “It would suck to think of him as a tragic loss,” said Willie. “No one wants to be remembered that way. You need to celebrate people’s lives.”
In June 2021, his mother did exactly that when she paid a poignant birthday tribute to her baby boy, writing: “Happiest Birthday to Teddy. Nothing more to say today! I wish you were here.”
She posted a photo of Teddy, who had a big smile on his face wearing a black hat with a matching blazer paired with a blue shirt and a striped tie.
Meanwhile, his older brothers are successful adults. Charlie is a producer and a writer, known for “The Wanted” (2009), “Race to the Scene” (2013), and “The Profit” (2013).
He was also the CEO of the Alliance of American Football which filed for bankruptcy in April 2019, resulting in the suspension of all operations.
The director previously dated Britney Spears, whose assistant told her he was single. After seeing his photo, Spears said: “I thought he was adorable, and she said he was good to people, so I went for it,” the singer told People in 2020.
Charlie is now a husband to Melody McCloskey, whom he wed on July 29, 2017, and they have no kids together. Charlie is also the younger half-brother of Harmony and Sunshine.
Harmony was born in November 1974 in Los Angeles, California. He is an LA-based music supervisor and content licensing specialist for film, television, digital media, and advertising.
He cultivated a passion for music, film, and television production, including singing in several bands. Harmony is also an avid surfer and a guitar player.
Not much is known about James’ other children, daughter Sunshine and son Willie, except that he is a producer and a director. Willie is known for films like “Don’t Look Down” and “The Wanted.”
Judging from photos, it is evident that the family has a strong bond, and there have been new additions as well. James welcomed her seventh grandchild last year and celebrated her 75th birthday too. The mom of five adores her husband and kids.
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