Cynthia Sikes was born Cynthia Lee Sikes in Coffeeville, Kansas, in 1954. Early in her career she went by Cindy Lee Sikes, and later used Cynthia Sikes professionally until her marriage to Bud Yorkin, where she changed it to Cynthia Sikes Yorkin.
In summer of 1972, Cynthia won the crowning title of Miss Kansas and started attending Wichita State University. While at Wichita, she was offered an invitation to travel with Bob Hope’s 1972 USO Christmas tour as a singer/dancer, traveling from Vietnam to Thailand to Diego Garcia, in an effort to entertain homesick soldiers. That following year, when the tour concluded, she entered the Miss America pageant where she won the preliminary swimsuit competition and became one of the Top 10 finalists overall.
Cynthia was married to prolific producer and director, Bud Yorkin, for 26 years.The two met in 1985. They were married on June 24, 1989, and had two children: Jessica and Michael. Bud directed Cynthia in Arthur 2: On the Rocks, and again in the 1990 film Love Hurts.
The tour with Hope and the Miss America competition drastically altered Cynthia’s life and career path. She returned to college, this time attending Southern Methodist University in Dallas, and studied Journalism, before moving to California to begin her career as an actress.
Television & Film Actress
In 1977, Cynthia took the stage at the William Ball’s American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco. She earned a scholarship and performed in many productions, including Shakespeare’s “A Winter’s Tale”, Durrenmatt’s “The Visit”, “The Glass Menagerie”, “Hatful of Rain”, “Bedtime Story”, and “A Christmas Carol”. She eventually made her Broadway debut as the “Baker’s Wife,” a lead role in Stephen Sondheim’s musical “Into the Woods”.
After her Broadway stint, Cynthia began getting offers for roles in popular television programs and films. For three years she played Dr. Annie Cavanero on NBC’s St. Elsewhere opposite Denzel Washington, and appeared in episodes of Magnum P.I. Her next recurring role was on LA Law as Judge Monica Ryan, then Cynthia produced and starred in the CBS film Sins of Silence alongside Lindsay Wagner. Her other credits include playing Dr. Sidney Walden on the popular series, JAG, then in Arli$$. Cynthia’s most recent TV role was a four-episode arc on NBC’s Aquarius with David Duchovny.
Her feature film credits include co-starring roles in the comedies Arthur 2: On The Rocks with Dudley Moore, That’s Life with Jack Lemmon, Love Hurts with Jeff Daniels, Possums with Mac Davis and in director Henry Jaglom’s Going Shopping.
In 1999, Cynthia expanded her interests to public works and became more involved in government after she was personally chosen by President Bill Clinton to serve on the Advisory committee for the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, with Victoria Catchett, Carl Feen, and Christine Warnke. In 2005, she was appointed California State Commissioner for the California Service Corps by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and also founded an emergency preparedness curriculum for K-12 schools, known as Team Safe-T. Six years later, Cynthia was brought on to the UCLA School of Public Health Dean’s Advisory Board to help raise funds to build the global bio lab on campus. She worked closely with Cindy Horn and Dr. Linda Rosenstock, the Dean of UCLA’s School of Public Health.
Major Movie Producer
In 2005, Cynthia and Bud decided to revive the Blade Runner franchise as producing partners. In 2010 they partnered with Alcon Entertainment to produce the film. Over the years Bud’s health deteriorated and he passed away in August 18, 2015. Cynthia went on to produce the film and honor his legacy. Blade Runner 2049 received rave reviews and went on to earn five Academy Award nominations, winning for Best Cinematography and for Visual Effects.
In 2015, Cynthia segued into producing her first feature film, the critically acclaimed Blade Runner 2049; a project directed by Oscar nominee Denis Villeneuve and starring Academy Award nominees Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford. The film garnered a total of five Academy Awards nominations, winning for Best Visual Effects and finally earning Roger Deakins a win for Best Cinematographer. Additionally, Cynthia and the rest of the production team received the 2017 award as Producer Of The Year from the Hollywood Film Awards.
She brought this project to Alcon Entertainment with her late husband and producing partner, Bud Yorkin, after acquiring the final rights from his former partner Jerry Perenchio in 2010. Cynthia helmed Blade Runner 2049 from beginning to end, ensuring its success to pay tribute to her late husband.
Cynthia is currently developing several projects including a feature film, a television series and two limited series.