Candice Bergen is best known as that feisty reporter from CBS's Murphy Brown — and her accompanying family values dustup with former Vice President Dan Quayle. But lately, the 57-year-old actress has been stealing scenes in comedies like Miss Congeniality, Sweet Home Alabama, View From the Top, and The In-Laws (opening today.) While she never sought out all these oddball parts, she hopes to keep the barrel of laughs rolling as long Hollywood will allow.

"It's not like they offer you 500 things and you have to chose the quirky one," Bergen tells TV Guide Online. "There's not that much stuff going around for people my age, so it just sort of happens. I didn't make any effort. I didn't want to do another series, so I didn't really work at all for about three years after [Murphy Brown] was over.

"It surprised me that these parts came to me without me really going out and looking for projects," she adds, "because I just wanted to take a rest. I kind of found myself in this really weird niche, where I get to play some wacky women. It's much more fun than playing a straight part. I hope that there's more, because it's sort of a perfect gig."

Bergen's been acting since age 20, and she's the offspring of showbiz parents — mom Frances was an actress and dad Edgar was a famous ventriloquist. So you'd think her younger co-stars would be clambering to ask for her sage advice. But she very humbly denies it. "They know so much more than I do," she insists. "It's been interesting for me, because in doing all these parts, I've gotten to see women like Sandra Bullock, Reese Witherspoon and Gwyneth Paltrow at work, and they're so good. They're so professional and so focused. I would be the one asking for advice."