Morgan Fairchild: RAND Policy Circle Member

Valerie Plame (left), formerly of the CIA, actress Morgan Fairchild (center), and Naveena Ponnusamy, executive director of Development at RAND, at a 2015 Policy Circle event at RAND's headquarters campus in Santa Monica, California

Photo by Diane Baldwin/RAND Corporation

Donor Profile Morgan Fairchild

Morgan Fairchild is a member of RAND's Policy Circle, a community of donors whose support allows RAND to pursue research free of partisan or ideological constraints, and to ensure that research makes an impact.


Morgan Fairchild describes herself as a science nerd, a student of public policy whose interests range from terrorism to climate change to the economic rise of China. She follows the epidemiology of emerging disease as a hobby.

That's not how most people know her, of course. She's spent the better part of her life in Hollywood, bringing a touch of glamour to roles on stage and screen. But off-set, she's been a RAND follower for decades, a regular consumer of research reports and a fixture at public-policy events.

“They never cast me that way,” she says with a laugh. “I wanted to be a doctor or a paleontologist when I was growing up. But all the things I'd actually be good at, they never cast me as.”

Fairchild was introduced to RAND in the 1970s, just as her career was taking off on daytime soap operas. She was interested in the growing phenomenon of international terrorism—“the psychology of it, what would make someone do that”—and began a lifelong conversation with RAND's resident expert on the subject, Brian Michael Jenkins.

“I'm very interested in how the world functions,” she says, and that brings her to RAND: “It's obviously a very complicated time, and I'm trying to stay on top of it. They're always forward-thinking, and looking at how to improve things.”

“It seemed like the next logical step for me to support the work, rather than just glean information from it.”

That fits well with Fairchild's lifetime role as an off-screen activist. She was an early advocate for people with AIDS, fighting for funding and greater recognition of the disease when it was still relegated to back-page news briefs. She helped sound the alarm about climate change, pressed Congress to better protect California's deserts, and visited the front lines of the 1990s war in Bosnia.

Her reading list these days sounds like a library of RAND research reports: Presidential politics. The Iran nuclear deal. The Middle East, post–Arab Spring. How China is positioning itself in the world. A recent article in The Daily Beast declared Fairchild's Twitter feed one of the “best sources for consistently reliable information and analysis” on subjects as varied as Syria, Ferguson, and the Ebola outbreak.

Fairchild is a member of RAND's Policy Circle, a community of donors whose support allows RAND to pursue research free of partisan or ideological constraints, and to ensure that research makes an impact. “It seemed like the next logical step for me to support the work, rather than just glean information from it,” she said. “It's very important for an institution like RAND to exist. It covers so much, in so many different areas.”