On the set of "Northern Exposure"

Ladies' Home Journal - April 1992


The cast of characters, clockwise from bottom left:
Ed, Marilyn, Maggie, Chris, Joel, Maurice, Shelly and Holling.

The tiny town of Roslyn, Washington (population 875), is a long haul from Hollywood: It's the kind of place where locals used to watch dogs race alongside pickup trucks for excitement. No longer. These days, Roslyn is the site of Northern Exposure, the hit series set in the fictional town of Cicely, Alaska. A year and a half after its debut as a summer replacement, this funny, often-fantastic show from the creators of St. Elsewhere won a Golden Globe as TV's best drama series and regularly ranks in the Nielsen top twenty. So meet the Cicely townsfolk:

Janine Turner, who plays bush pilot Maggie O'Connell, is probably the show's best-known star - not always to her delight. "I hate questions about my love life and my eight dollars," pleads the former Wilhelmina model, referring to her past amours (namely Alec Baldwin and Mikhail Baryshnikov) and the paltry amount of money she supposedly had in her pocket prior to landing the role. Turner would rather discuss toughminded Maggie, who she feels is a real nineties woman. "She's not about fingernail polish and lipstick, but she's still sexy," says the Dallas native with the trademark boyish haircut. But Turner, twenty-nine, doesn't know what will melt the ice between Maggie and the series' male ead, transplanted Manhattanite Dr. Joel Fleischman (Rob Morrow). "My house burned down in one episode," she says, . "and even that didn't do it! But I wouldn't rule it out down the road."

As the childlike waitress Shelly Tambo, actress Cynthia Geary often steams up the screen with her sixty-three-year-old squeeze, Holling Vincoeur (John Cullum). The twentysomething Mississippian, who "used to keep things inside until I explode," finds the show relaxing. "It's great therapy."

Tell that to Dr. Fleischman's stoic assistant, Marilyn Whirlwind (played by Elaine Miles), who doesn't get many lines. That's just fine with thirtyish Miles, a Native American who'd never acted before she was discovered while dropping off her mother to audition. "I'm a basket case memorizing dialogue when it's more than thirty words," she says.

John Corbett, who plays dish KBHR-radio deejay Chris Stevens, claims to be bewildered by his new sex-symbol status. "I don't feel like I'm a hunk," says the tall (six feet five), longhaired and affable former steelworker from West Virginia.


Roll 'em! Janine Turner on location in the streets of Cicely

Northern Lights: Janine Turner (top) and Cynthia Geary brighten up the Alaskan scenery.

But actor Darren E. Burrows, who plays Cicely's biggest movie buff, Ed Chigliak, welcomes female fans. "I looove the ladies," he croons. One quarter Apache and one quarter Cherokee, the blond Kansan dyes his hair black to play part Native America Ed and says he's learning about his heritage from the show.

Barry Corbin plays the right-wing president of Cicely's chamber of commerce, ex-astronaut Maurice Minnifield, with gusto, but says he's nothin like the man. "Maurice is scientifically minded and thinks art is a girly thing which is not how I feel," says Corbin a longtime character actor and father of four who has dabbled in playwriting, boxing and ballet. The burly Texan believes it's the "community spirit in the writing and on the set" - and in Roslyn itself - that has mad the series a success.

- DEAN LAMANNA

 

 


Northern Exposure is Copyright Universal City Studios. All Rights Reserved.

Created 2/20/02
Back to Articles MainHome