SHORTLY AFTER TURNING 50, CANDICE BERGEN made her first concession to age by cutting her trademark blonde hair. "The best thing I did was get bangs, because they hide a third of my face!" says Bergen, who turns 54 this month. "After a certain age they are just a woman's best friend." Also helpful, she says, is lip-liner. "Lips get thinner as you get older, so I draw mine a little fuller than my lips really are." The changes are subtle and perhaps unnecessary. "People come up to me and ask, 'Has Candice had surgery?' " says Faith Ford, who spent 10 years opposite Bergen on Murphy Brown
, "I'm like, 'No, she just takes care of herself.' " Adds Connie Freiberg, a talent manager and Bergen's friend since the eighth grade: "People are still shocked at how beautiful she is." But Bergen says there are limits to what she will endure in the name of beauty. "I haven't done the old shot in the lips," she says. "That's not my style." Nor is adapting to Tinseltown's body ideal. Although she takes Pilates classes to stretch out her bad back ("I was 5'8", but I think now with my back trouble I'm 5'7"," she says), she prefers casual fitness pursuits—like walking her two mixed-breed dogs, Lois and Larry—to hitting the gym. "I'm about 10 lbs. overweight by Hollywood standards," claims Bergen, who lives in Los Angeles. "At this point I just don't care. I love to eat, and I don't have any discipline." Besides, she's too busy directing her energies toward raising her daughter Chloe, 14 (by her late husband, French film director Louis Malle), dating Marshall Rose, 63, a New York City real estate magnate, and moderating a four-night-a-week talk show called Exhale
on the fledgling cable channel Oxygen. Now that she's gone from playing a TV journalist to being one, the five-time Emmy winner is hoping to explore, among other issues, the sex appeal of older women, "I love the way women look in Europe in their 50s and 60s," she says. "They sort of glory in it. They look comfortable in their skin."