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Producer's Notebook: Genuine, fun Camryn Manheim

Web posted on:
Tuesday, May 11, 1999 12:22:12 PM EST

By Karen Palmer
CNN & Entertainment Weekly Producer

(CNN) -- I met Camryn Manheim on the arrivals line for last year's Emmy Award nominations party in Los Angeles. At the time, I knew her only by her reputation as a smart, talented stage actress and from glowing notices for her role on David Kelley's TV series, "The Practice." She didn't know me from a hole in the wall.

So when I introduced myself from behind the wrong side of the velvet rope, amid a crush of screaming photographers, I wasn't prepared for the genuinely warm, friendly greeting Camryn gave me. Then she threw back her head and startled me with the sight of 13 earrings -- 12 of them in one ear.

Next, Camryn proceeded to crack everybody up by gleefully sharing the news that she'd bought her footwear for this gala event at Payless, and that she couldn't wait to get everyone at the party to sign her autograph book. And inside the ballroom, she bear-hugged an unsuspecting Dick Clark after he presented her nomination certificate. Clearly, this woman was not your average Hollywood diva -- she was much more real, and a whole lot more fun.

On the set of "The Practice" the next day, we watched as Camryn clowned around with the crew, led a round of applause for a fellow cast member, and hugged just about everyone who would hold still long enough, including me. She showed us around the soundstage, and though she was clearly in her element, she still sounded like a star-struck kid who still couldn't figure out how she'd made it to Hollywood.

But when the cameras were rolling, Camryn was all business as she and her cast mates gave us a lesson in the difficult art of television acting: the ability to hit emotional peaks over and over again, throughout the multiple takes that filming a series requires.

We caught up with Camryn again a few weeks later in her adopted hometown, New York City. This time she had her own idea for an interview: Take correspondent Willow Bay for a personalized tour of her neighborhood, on the back of her beloved motorcycle!

But the downside of living the bicoastal life is the fact that most of your prized possessions end up in mothballs -- it turned out that Camryn's bike was buried deep in storage. Instead, she dug out some photo albums and took us on a photographic tour of her life, complete with a running commentary worthy of Whoopi Goldberg on an HBO special.

Aaaah ... if only all interviews could be like this. ...

Bullseye! Michael Graves does Target
February 11, 1999
Stars show good humor to living in the Hollywood fishbowl
January 19, 1999
Camryn Manheim getting 'Practice' at crushing stereotypes
October 12, 1998
'Frasier' sets Emmy record on TV night to remember
September 13, 1998

'The Practice'
Camryn Manheim's home page
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