Emmy and Screen Actors Guild award winner and Golden Globe nominee Julianna Margulies gained recognition for her portrayal of Nurse Carole Hathaway in the critically acclaimed series ER. Margulies received her sixth straight Emmy nomination for the 2000 season and twice won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Actress in a Dramatic Series for the program. Margulies recently completed filming Bruce Beresford's Evelyn opposite Pierce Brosnan. Last winter, Margulies completed a successful run at Lincoln Center in Jon Robin Baitz's Ten Unknowns, for which she won the Lucille Lortel Award. She was last seen with Anjelica Huston and Joan Allan in TNT's original The Mists of Avalon, for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe. Margulies will next star opposite Andy Garcia and Mick Jagger in the upcoming film The Man From Elysian Fields. Margulies' feature film credits include What's Cooking, an ensemble drama directed by Gurinder Chadha, which opened the 2000 Sundance Film Festival, Richard Linklater's The Newton Boys, Boaz Yakin's A Price Above Rubies, Jack Green's Traveller and Bruce Beresford's Paradise Road.
Theater credits include The Vagina Monologues, both off-Broadway and the Los Angeles premiere, Fefu and Her Friends for the Yale Repertory Theatre, The Substance of Fire at the Aolso Theatre, Living Expenses, Dan Drift and Book of Names at the Ensemble Studio Theatre in New York, and Intrigue with Faye at the NY Stage and Film Festival. She also appeared on stage in The Lover, In the Boom Boom Room and Balm in Giliad.
Voted one of People Magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People in 1998, Julianna Margulies gained worldwide recognition for her portrayal of the psychologically complex Nurse Hathaway in the critically acclaimed television series "ER."
The youngest of three daughters born June 8, 1966 in Spring Valley, NY to a dance teacher, and an ad exec, Julianna's early years were spent in Paris, France, in England , then later New York. Interestingly, she never intended to become an actress, but it was during her first year at Sarah Lawrence College, from which she earned a B.A. in Liberal Arts, that she decided to study theater simply as a means to explore her creative side. But her talent was apparent to all involved, and she was soon cast in numerous college productions. Julianna was hooked.
Making the move towards a professional thespian career, Julianna did the waitressing thing while slowly paying her dues by appearing in regional plays, a few national commercials, including one for McDonald's Hot Wings, and some spots on various television shows.
Although those years were lean, Julianna endured. Not being the leggy, out-there cover girl type Hollywood is quick to embrace, made it somewhat difficult for the five foot five, subdued beauty to fit into the roles available. She was more of a character actor, and unfortunately what generally happens to character actors is that they get lost in the background. What Julianna needed was a part which would give her more than passing exposure. Luckily, that part came when producer Tom Fontana specifically wrote a recurring role for her in his NBC series, "Homicide: Life On The Street". This helped to give her the exposure and attention she needed, and in 1994 she struck gold by winning the part of Nurse Hathaway on the hospital drama series "ER". The show was practically an over-night sensation, and with it came fame, fortune and some great roles in such films as "Paradise Road", opposite Glenn Close and Cate Blanchett, and with Matthew McConaughey in "The Newton Boys". Without a doubt, Julianna Margulies is here to stay.
On her off time, Julianna enjoys in-line skating, running, reading and attending three or four movies a week. She lives in Santa Monica, California.
Julianna Margulies: What's Cooking
The wintry Sundance Film Festival may appear the least likely place to find Julianna Margulies, taking a brief break from the heat of the Warner Bros studios, where she was shooting her final season of a certain hospital drama series. As one of the high-profile stars of the hit series e.r., the 34-year old Margulies could have had the choice of the big movies, but instead has been drawn to more character-driven pieces, the smaller films such as Australia's Paradise Road, The Newton Boys, and the film that brought her to Sundance: What's Cooking, in which she plays a lesbian brought home by her Jewish lover on Thanksgiving. The film is finally getting a limited US release, and it is a far cry from the Hathaway character. Talking to her the day after Sundance's opening night earlier this year, Margulies says that working outside the mainstream "is a cross between great scripts that seem to be mostly independent, and directors that I want to work with, not to mention luck. I wouldn't turn down a big Hollywood movie if it had a great part for a woman, but there simply aren't a lot of great woman parts out there in the Hollywood arena. When there are great parts, they usually go to the A-list actors, so that leaves the next tier of actors in my group that I'm fortunate enough to be in." It was e.r., on which Margulies was initially due to appear only in the pilot that still enabled her to at least be given some interesting opportunities. "I was lucky enough to have e.r. as my day job, so I didn't have to take the big films that weren't so interesting, to pay my rent. I got to work with Bruce Beresford on Paradise Road, or Gurinder Chadha on this latest film, What's Cooking."
It was equally important for the actress to steer away from Hathaway-type roles, which was relatively easy. "The beauty of my career so far, is that the characters I've gone out for, have been those that are removed from the Hathaway-type character, but really all that's saying, is that I'm staying away from hospitals." Margulies still sees Hathaway "as a strong character, and if you look at the characters I've played in the few films that I've done since e.r., they're all pretty strong women, but just different. That's what makes doing a television series for six years so great, is that now I get to go off and explore as an actor, knowing that my mortgage is paid off for a while. That's why I started doing this in the first place."
Margulies knew 18 months before that last year was to be her last season on e.r., and turned down the big bucks well before the details were released to the press, "but somehow it just slipped out, and when that happened, suddenly people thought it [the money] mattered, but before, they seemed more supportive." The actress knew that she could take Hathaway no further, but also admits there was more to her decision to leave than that. "I have so much respect for Noah Wylie, Eriq La Salle and Anthony Edwards for the fact that they're going to continue. For an actor, to play the same character for 6 years is the biggest challenge I'll ever have in my life. Coming in to do What's Cooking, for instance, I had a beginning, middle and end, but with television it's one road and you're constantly on that train." She further feels that it's hard to make series television interesting. "It's not hard if you don't care, and there are times when I've seen myself phone in a performance, and that's when I made my decision: I promised myself that I'd never be that actor."
The youngest of three daughters born to a former American Ballet Theatre dancer, Margulies spent her early childhood as the perpetual new kid on the block. A child of divorced parents, the actress spent her infant years in London and Paris with her mother and elder siblings; the family eventually settling in Spring Valley, New York, when she was five. Her high school years were spent in New York's the arty and prestigious Sarah Lawrence College. As an undergraduate at the academically rigorous private college, Margulies gravitated to the drama department as a means to escape the pressures of dealing with her fellow classmates, whom she found rather elitist and unkind. She further distanced herself by studying Dante in Italy during her junior year, and then by completing her art history degree with off-campus research at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Following graduation, Margulies moved to Florida, where she got serious about her flirtation with drama by making regular appearances in local theatre productions. She soon headed to Hollywood. A short stint as Lieutenant Mendoza on the TV drama Law and Order led to her role in Steven Seagal's Out for Justice, which the actress recalls "was a career low point". This early experience as an action-flick cliché made Margulies appreciate the subtlety and complexity of her e.r. character all the more, and she continues to condemn all attempts to define Nurse Hathaway through her relationships with male characters.
The road to her career-making e.r. gig was paved with many trials. For starters, her character, Nurse Carol Hathaway, wasn't even scripted to survive the pilot episode, which had her attempting suicide by swallowing a handful of pills after she was ditched at the altar. Fully expecting that this dramatic gesture marked the end of her e.r. career, Julianna walked away from the pilot and rejoined the crush of job-seeking actors. But things changed when she received a fateful voice-mail message from e.r. co-star George Clooney. He told her not to accept another role, because her character had "tested through the roof" with the screening audience, and the show's producers wanted her to become a regular member of the cast.
Margulies once credited the realism she brings to her e.r. characterization and the facility with which she spouts off medical jargon to "the many hours I spent studying at the elbows of two real-life emergency-room nurses". Her hard work on the series paid off having remained the only cast member of the series to receive an Emmy Award.
Margulies is romantically linked with sometime e.r. co-star Ron Eldard, whom she has known since the aspiring thespians met in a 1991 acting class. Otherwise, details of the actress's personal life are limited to her reported passions for rollerblading in her Santa Monica neighborhood and knitting. Margulies has thus far managed to avoid being blinded by the glare of the Hollywood limelight, and she wouldn't have it any other way. Her latest big screen role, which had its world premiere during January's Sundance Film Festival, is far removed from standard Hollywood fare. In What 's Cooking, an ensemble piece about three different ethnic families coping with the parochial American holiday Thanksgiving, Margulies is the lesbian lover of Jewish Kyra Sedgwick, whose conservative Jewish family can't quite cope with it all. For Julianna, she says she loved playing a lesbian character. "What was fun, was that Kyra and I, in our research of it, had so much fun in New York going to all these lesbian clubs. All my lesbian friends were naturally thrilled that I was playing a gay character, that they'd take us to all their favorite haunts." In addition, she adds, "it was comfortable and natural for us, and made me realize that as long as you look like you're doing your job, people will believe that can happen, and I don't care what the outcome will be."
It's clear that for Margulies, there's well and truly life after e.r. and has much to look forward to. "It's so exciting, I can't tell you, I get goose bumps, because it's the first time in six years I don't have a schedule in front of me, yet there are all these beautiful things happening, some I can't talk about because I'm so close to the deal I'm afraid I'll mess it up. I will be doing a new play with Jason Robards which I'm excited about." For this actress, what fuels her now is the work, but says she has no regrets. "I had a blessed experience on e.r., and am so grateful for it, but it's a rigorous schedule, so the idea that I can actually say 'yes' to a project, is wonderful." There was no bitterness about her departure, and talking to her, it is clear that this Emmy Award winner is genuinely happy. "I am, because I left on really good terms, I felt like I'm bringing the character to a full arc and I respect her, the writers and what they've done for her. I also feel it was a really empowering choice, because I was able to go with my heart, rather than my business heart." It paid off, from What's Cooking Margulies will be back on the small screen in the Arthurian miniseries The Mists of Avalon and her first love, the stage.
Julianna Margulies: Just A Big Scaredy-Cat
Tiscali got to chat with the female star of the top scary film of the year Ghost Ship. You'll know her best from her role in E.R., but Juliana proves she is an all-action girl..
Is it weird working with your boyfriend, Ron Eldard?
JULIANA MARGULIES: It's great. He's such a good actor.
Is it one of those things where you can't leave the job at the office?
JM: We made rules. You really have to leave the work outside otherwise it just becomes too much. We don't talk about work when we come home.
We were talking to Steve Beck about certain expectations audiences have of the genre, how do you tread that fine line between really camping it up and getting the audience jumping?
JM: That's a good question. Mostly you leave it up to the filmmakers to help you because there's only so much control you have in the end. I had no control of how they were going to cut anything so you have to give them your best shot right there in the moment and pray that the humor shines along with the seriousness. I understand it's a popcorn movie. It's Halloween but I wanted to make a character that at least you would believe. She was a self-made hero in a way because she doesn't start out that way. Her world is about the survival of the fittest. As she goes along she is forced into playing this part. I liked that about her. She had humor until it was about pain and then it was just about surviving.
Do you like this kind of movie? Would you go to see it if it didn't have people you knew in it?
JM: In all honesty, no I don't see scary movies. I've never seen The Exorcist or Jaws because I don't want to be afraid of going in the water. I've never seen any of the Halloween movies or Scream one, two or three. I am such a scaredy-cat. I know I'll be home alone one day and I'll hear a noise. I saw a movie once that really messed me up. It was Brian de Palma's Dressed to Kill with Angie Dickinson and Michael Caine. It's not usually my genre. I'm still plucking up the courage to go and see Red Dragon. But that's more psychological. I can relate a little bit more to something like that as opposed to hard-core scary movies.
How does a "scaredy-cat" even walk on these sets?
JM: It's the reason I learned how to Scuba dive. I'm claustrophobic and I thought that the best way to get rid of my claustrophobia would be to be under water in a mask. And I did it. I did it years ago but that is one of the reasons you take on challenges like that. For me, I thought I had never done anything like this movie. It was something I'd never go see. I wanted to do it and see what it was like. Last night, after watching it with an audience that does go see these things, I had a ball. I have a girlfriend who is a talented actress, beyond belief. She only does classy things. Her favorite movies are the big popcorn movies. She tells me the movies she goes to see and I can't believe it. She loves them and now I get it. You have to go with the audience and get into it. Hearing them scream and clap was fun.
What kind of fear did you conquer when you were floating on the water and the crew was telling you, "Okay there are a couple of nets out but if a shark gets by just hit him on the nose."
JM: I do have to say that the stunt team in Australia and the woman who did my stunts, Gillian were phenomenal. I never ever felt scared with them around. The only time I got a little nervous was at the end of the movie when you see me, after I swim up, and I pop up and I'm by the suitcases. Well, that day we were way out in the middle of the ocean and they told me that I was going to get into this plastic tube that was attached to a suitcase. They told me to go down as far as I could go and then count to ten and come up. I said, "It's hard for me to come up out of a tube." They said, "Could you just do it?" I found out there were sharks everywhere so they had to protect me with this tube because they didn't want me to get bitten. That was the only time I got nervous. Even the night shoot when you see my character Epps jump overboard and swim to get Greer there were sharks. There were big shark scares but there were professional shark people who came and put nets down everywhere. The stunt guys, as I jumped in, were right there. I really felt taken care of until the next day the local paper had this huge picture of me in my scrubs from E.R. It said, "'E.R.' star risks life to make movie." It showed this feeding frenzy of sharks, which was literally outside my door. I didn't realize quite how big it was until the next day.
How weird is it when you go to the craft services table to get a bagel and there's somebody with a hook hanging through her head and blood dripping all over her?
JM: Well I'm used to that from E.R. My first year of E.R. a guy would walk in with an arrow through his head and blood and no one would really pay attention to him. You sit in the commissary and a guy' had blood all over him. That kind of stuff I was used to. The sequence with the Santos character when he gets caught in the fire and comes out after Gabriel, I thought they did really well. That was a little disgusting. But mostly it was the sets that were hard to be on because they were done so well - the grease, the dank smell, the rust and the dark. After four-and-a-half-months I was actually grateful to be in the water. It was hard to be in that environment.
You worked recently with Pierce Brosnan in Evelyn.
JM: It's an amazing cast with Alan Bates, Aidan Quinn and Steven Rea.
It was a real labor of love for the director to get that made. Does that affect what you do when you know how much it means to him?
JM: It was like a love-fest. Every day Bruce Beresford would thank us for being there. We kept telling him, "We want to be here. We are all really happy." He'd say, "Thank you so much. I can't believe it." He was so grateful. When it's a labor of love actors are so appreciated and there's such collaboration. I'd worked with Bruce before. It's a dream for me. It was a paid vacation. I was in Dublin, Ireland with all these amazing actors. I'd sit and watch Alan Bates. I would have paid just to sit there and see him. He's one of the best actors I've ever seen. He's fantastic. And I trust Bruce. I'd read the phone book for him. He's truly one of the most underrated directors ever.
Other than Sigourney Weaver in Alien there weren't a whole lot of women action heroes. Did you have women heroes you looked up to growing up?
JM: That's a good question because I was a little bit sheltered from pop culture as a kid. I wasn't allowed to watch television. Even if I was to be honest, in England there were four channels and there wasn't much television on at that time. I did go to see movies but never really any action movies and I don't think there were any women. I wanted to be Carly Simon. That's about all I can tell you about who I looked up to. I thought she was fabulous. But in terms of action, I was a horse-back rider so I lived at a barn, I rode all the time and show-jumped. My idol probably was my teacher because she was so good and I wanted to be as good as she was. In that sense it gave me that tomboy, action quality. You gallop at a field and jump a five-foot fence. It was just what I did. So maybe she was.
So was your heart pumping in those action sequences in Ghost Ship?
JM: Oh God, you get it pumping. I got into it. You have to. I don't think you can fake that too much. My favorite scene of the movie was the opening shot where I'm hooking myself up to that cable line to go in between the two rigs, jump in and save it. I was so scared at first because I had to jump. The camera was on the line, ten feet in front of me on rollers. There was no one on it. It was just me and that camera that they'd set up. They wanted me to just let go and have the camera to my face. The first two times were just horrific. By the third time and I knew I wasn't going to fall. I was in heaven. It was so much fun to suddenly feel like that. I thought I would never in my real life get to do this.
You are the only woman in this cast. What's it like when the cameras start rolling? Is there a certain testosterone factor?
JM: They did everything I told them to! (LAUGHS) No. I got really lucky because I'm working with real actors. It didn't feel like there was a whole bunch of ego going on, which I'm sure there could have been given that I was the lead in it. It didn't feel that way at all. It felt like an ensemble through and through. I couldn't do what I was doing without them. They couldn't do what they were doing without me. I didn't feel like I was the big star. We all had the same size trailers. We were all eating the same food. Of course, they got to eat more than I did. But it was all good. In fact, it was really helpful. Gabriel and Ron would always say to me, "You're the hero." But I do take my work seriously. One of the big issues in the movie - that Steve Beck and I would argue over all the time - was whether I cried in certain sequences. I would ask "Would Schwarzenegger cry? I don't think so. Would Stallone cry? No." I only cry once in this movie. It's when Murphy dies. That's the only thing that matters to her. If I'm crying at every turn when something bad happens I am not a credible hero and they would never ask a guy to do that. You've got to make it credible.
Julianna Margulies: Ghost Ship
Perhaps most famous for running off with George Clooney in ER, Julianna Margulies can now be found in the movies. Upcoming films include "Evelyn" and "The Man from Elysian Fields". She talks here about her latest movie, "Ghost Ship".
Do you like watching scary movies? Would you have gone to see "Ghost Ship"?
I don't see scary movies. I've never seen "The Exorcist" or "Jaws". I am such a scaredy-cat. I'd like to see "Red Dragon" but that's more psychological. I can relate more to something like that as opposed to hardcore scary movies.
How do you tread the fine line between camping it up and getting the audience jumping?
Mostly you leave it up to the filmmakers because there's only so much control you have. I had no control of how they were going to cut anything. You have to give them your best shot right there in the moment and pray that the humour shines through along with the seriousness.
Being the only woman in this cast, was there a certain testosterone factor?
They did everything I told them to! No, I was lucky because I was working with real actors. It didn't feel like there was a whole bunch of ego going on. I'm sure there could have been, given that I was the lead in it, but it didn't feel that way at all. It felt like an ensemble through and through.
When doing the stunts in the movie, did you have to conquer any fears?
The stunt women were phenomenal. I never ever felt scared with them around. I got a little nervous in one scene where we were filming way out in the middle of the ocean. There were big shark scares, but there were professional shark people who put nets everywhere.
Do you relate more to the tough-girl or mother-type characters you play?
They're all a part of me. I've always had a tomboy quality to me that I embrace and don't run away from. At the same time I'm a real girlie-girl. That's what I love about acting, you get to find little pieces of yourself in every character you play.
More fun stuff about Julianna Margulies
Significant Other- Ron Eldard
Her pets are 2 abyssinian cats.
Julianna's favorite TV show was 'Everybody Loves Raymond'
Julianna has two siblings. Both elder sisters. Alexandra is also and actress. She appeared in Julianna's last episode of ER, called Such Sweet Sorrow. She was one of the flight attendants. Rachel is the other sister.
She is left handed.
Father wrote the Alka Seltzer Commercial (plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is!)
Her character, Carol Hathaway, on ER was actually killed off on the pilot
Voted one of People Magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People in 1998
Nominated for a Golden Globe in 2002 for her portrayal of Morgaine in the mini-series, The Mists of Avalon.
Kids at school used to call Julianna 'fat head' and 'flounder mouth'. (There was no need for that!)
Hobbies: Knitting, reading, watching movies, rollerblading, and running
Former Jobs: Waitress, Bartender, packed up people's belongings for the family after they had passed away
Julianna's mother Francesca Margulies is a eurythmy teacher at Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School in Massachusetts , received her training in eurythmy and curative eurythmy at Emerson College, U.K., at the London School of Eurythmy, and at Spring Valley Eurythmy School.
Julianna Margulies' new film traces autism
Until she was 13, it had been thought that Sue Rubin was retarded after being diagnosed as autistic at 4. IQ tests supported the retarded theory.
Then a new communication technology enabled her to connect with the world.
Her story is told in the documentary, "Autism Is a World," narrated by actress Julianna Margulies. It is slated to be screened at 7 p.m. Thursday and Dec. 10 at the Westcott Cinema.
Written by Rubin, the film was co-produced by Douglas Biklen, professor of cultural foundations of education-disability studies at Syracuse University. Its other producer is Gerardine Wurzburg.
There is a happy ending to Rubin's story. Today, she is a junior majoring in history at California's Whittier College.
The Grid (mini-series) DVD starring Julianna Margulies out in store in February 2005
This past July and August, Turner Network Television (TNT) and the BBC tackled one of the most dramatic issues of modern times - international terrorism - in The Grid, an original limited series that explored both sides of the escalating war on terrorism. Julianna Margulies (ER) and Dylan McDermott (The Practice), two of television's most popular stars, returned to TV to star in the limited series with Bernard Hill (Lord of the Rings), Jemma Redgrave, James Remar, Tom Skerritt, and others.
Beyond the politics, beyond the headlines, and inside the hunt for terror - where the enemy is closer than you think. US & UK forces join to combat an intricate organization of international terrorists plotting a set of vicious attacks against the US and UK in an action-packed, edgy, tense & emotional mini-series. The Grid involves a terrorist cell operating on a global level and a team of American and British counter-terrorists who are tasked with stopping it. It focuses on the emotional cost of war on victims, as well as the emotional cost on those fighting terrorism. Fox Television Studios co-produced The Grid, and now Fox Home Entertainment is bringing it to DVD this coming February .