She is the daughter of The Mamas and the Papas lead singer John Phillips and Susan Mackenzie. She was also the stepdaughter of group member Michelle Phillips.
Her first major acting role was the part of "Carol" in American Graffiti (1973). In 1975, she started playing Julie Cooper on the TV sitcom One Day at a Time. This was Mackenzie's most famous role.
Using her star power from One Day at a Time, Mackenzie had easy access to drugs like cocaine, to which she became addicted. This, coupled with an alcohol problem, caused her to be late for tapings, or sometimes miss them entirely. This got a lot of coverage in the press, and the executive producer of the show fired her in 1980 when she refused to get help. She returned to the show from a rehabilitation center in 1981 but eventually became addicted again. She was fired for good in 1983 and did not return to the show before it was canceled.
In the 1980s and early 1990s, Mackenzie attempted and eventually succeeded in getting over her drug problem with the help of her father, who was also a recovering addict. She was asked to play substance abuse counselors on Beverly Hills 90210 in 1994 (when Luke Perry's character was suffering from drug addiction) and on Guiding Light in 1996 (when she tried to help Cynthia Watros's character Annie Dutton through her drug problem).
Today she is a budding singer and has starred with Cara DeLizia on the Disney Channel series So Weird. She also guest-starred as a singer on Caroline in the City.
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