The startling secrets behind “MURPHY BROWN” TV legend CANDICE BERGEN’s brave battle back from a stroke six years ago!

For starters, Candice just made her first Broad­way appearance since 1984 on stage which was more than a risky challenge. 

It 's therapy to help her memory loss!

And NOW, with renewed confidence, the plucky actress, 66, wants to reprise her old “Murphy Brown” character in a series of TV specials  — just in time for the 2012 presidential elections.

“Doing a Broadway play was just about the most daunting thing that Candice could have done,” said a source close to the “Boston Legal” beauty.

“What if she was out there on stage and suddenly couldn’t remember her lines? Candice knew that she could have fallen flat on her face.”

In fact, at first she was afraid to  take on a role in the play, Gore Vidal’s “The Best Man.”

“My concern with theater was no retakes,” Candice confided to an interviewer. “I had no confidence in my memory.”

For six years, the celebrated sitcom star had tried to hide her stroke from the world “because she was afraid she would never get hired again,” disclosed the source.

But she refused to give up, and all her hard work has paid off.

Said the source: “Having to recall and repeat her lines on a daily basis has helped Candice’s memory immeasurably.”

POP FYI: Candice is the daughter of famed 1940s radio and film ventriloquist EDGAR BERGEN – but she’s NO dummy!