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February 07, 2003 - Image 102

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-02-07

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

ta nment

ONG HU4

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"Married ... With Children" actress stays true to her
show business heritage with a new hit sitcom.

EIRIK KNUTZEN
Copley News Service

he illusion people have
that doors just fling
open once you've had a
certain amount of suc-
cess is so funny to me," says Katey
Sagal, who isn't laughing. "I had to
audition five nerve-racking times —
like every other actor — to get 8

„ T

Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage
Daughter.
And she probably had a little help
from friend John Ritter, who happens
to be the male lead in the show, based
on W. Bruce Cameron's best-selling
book of the same title. The new hit
sitcom airs 8 p.m. Tuesdays on ABC.
Ritter portrays Paul Hennessy, an
ace sports columnist and middle-aged
overprotective father who volunteers
to work from home in order to help
raise three kids — two of them
teenage girls.
The gangly, 46-year-old actress plays
Cate, the pragmatic stay-at-home wife
forced back to nursing in order to help
out financially as their growing chil-
dren — ranging in age from 13 to 16
— are poised to enter college.
Ritter, who made his mark as the
beleaguered chef, Jack Tripper, on
Three's Company (1977-84), and Sagal,
who earned considerable fame as lazy,
sloppy housewife Peg Wanker Bundy
on Married ... With Children (1987-
97), met when she played an old
geezer's fat girlfriend on the telefilm
Chance of a Lifetime (1998).
"There was a certain chemistry
between us, and we became good
friends while doing the movie," says
Sagal.
"John happens to be a lovely, hum-
ble and sincere human being who was
so supportive that he read with me at
all the important auditions. It's a very
important project for us as we both
have had similar hurdles and some
challenging transitions to get here.
"People don't want to see Peg Bundy
and Jack Tripper anymore — and we
couldn't wait to show the public our
new characters."

Always Working

It also galls Sagal that she has worked

— while raising two kids as a single
mom — nearly nonstop since Married
... With Children dissolved, and
nobody seems to have noticed.
Among other things, she starred in
two sitcoms — Tucker (2000) and
Imagine That (2002), the short-lived
series starring Hank Azaria — as well
as a hilarious comedy pilot called
Earth Scum (2001) that simply rolled
over and died on a network executive's
shelf.
"Even people in the entertainment
industry wonder where I've been dur-
ing the last five years," fumes Sagal
during lunch — three lettuce leaves
and a $5 glass of water.
"I keep telling them that I've been
working, working on development
deals and pilots every year since
Married was canceled.
"Things just got screwed up — we
shot 13 episodes of Tucker, but only
three aired. We only shot six Imagine
That segments; only two were broad-
cast. I think they burned them all."
She has had the starring voice since
1999 in Matt Groening's Futurama as
Capt. Turanga Leela, the one-eyed
commander of a space delivery ship
zipping around the Milky Way in the
year 3000. Sagal does not let her chil-
dren by ex-husband/musician Jack
White — Sarah, 8, and Jackson, 6 —
watch the biting show, which is target-
ed for adult audiences.
However, Sagal maintains hero sta-
tus with her children through voice
work as the lead character's mom in
the Saturday morning cartoon Recess
and by co-starring in the Disney
Channel cable movie Smart House.
"It also made me a big hit with their
friends, so it was very cool," she says,
laughing.
Perhaps best of all, they are able to
have a pretty normal life, according to
Sagal, who looks totally different from
Peg Bundy.
"Married... With Children still airs
somewhere every day, but I just didn't
look like myself on that show (clothes,
makeup and lighting may also have
had something to do with it), and I'm
seldom recognized on the street."
Starring in a half-hour situation
comedy, which only requires working
late once a week on tape night, Sagal is
able to maintain her domestic life, too.

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