Roslyn puts on its Alaska face for a 'Northern Exposure' reunion

From the The Seattle Times, August 19, 1997 • Donated by Eddie.
[Also appeared as Northern lights, camera and action: Roslyn rolling out the red carpet for "Northern Exposure" reunion - Yakima Herald-Republic, 8/21/97]

by Sherry Grindeland, Seattle Times Eastside bureau

Joel Fleischman's name graces the office window in Roslyn, but the doctor hasn't been in for more than five years. Today, Marianne Ojurovich operates Cicely's Gift Shop under the physician's shingle. That doesn't matter to fans of the defunct television series "Northern Exposure." They still visit the Eastern Washington set, seeking glimpses of the imaginary Alaska community of Cicely, not medical advice. They come to the right place. Not only can they see a few props, but they find another diehard fan in Ojurovich. "It was a nonviolent program, a cerebral program," she says. "People liked the peaceful town of Cicely."

Back in 1995, Ojurovich and other town residents got fans to sign petitions urging TV executives to reinstate the canceled show. That didn't work. But the fans still come. Ojurovich has concocted another medicine to cure the "Northern Exposure" bug: a reunion. With the help of Larry Green of Bellingham, another fan and former show-business exec, she's producing Moose Fest, a "Northern Exposure" fan festival, this weekend. It will give fans a chance to mingle with a few of the cast members. Barry Corbin, Cynthia Geary, Elaine Miles and Moultrie Patten are scheduled for appearances.

Iris DeMent, who sang the haunting farewell "Our Town" on the final episode, will give a concert. It will also, says co-producer Green, be a chance for fans to celebrate some good "Northern Exposure" news: "The show has been picked up by A&E for reruns this fall," he says. In the two years years since "Northern Exposure" died, the actors have continued their careers. Fans, however, still love-stricken for the series, call the actors by their "Northern Exposure" names. Miles even wears a jacket that reads, "My name is Elaine, I am not Marilyn," a futile effort to let people know she has her own life, separate from mythical Cicely, Alaska.

"I just tell people Marilyn has moved away," says Miles, who played Marilyn Whirlwind for five years. She lives on the Eastside with her 3-year-old son. "Tell people I'm a happy single mother," she says with a quiet giggle. Miles' voice changes from its famous soft tones to enthusiastic laughter as she describes her son. He's a "wild man," she says - into things and commanding her attention even when she's on the telephone. Miles does commercial work, appears on Canadian television and has parts in two films that haven't been released. Last summer, before the national elections, Miles traveled around the country for the National Conference of American Indians, encouraging Native Americans to register to vote. "If my dad were still alive, he would have been proud of me for getting involved," says Miles.

Another local actor, Grant Goodeve of Redmond, was Rick Peterson, one of Janine Turner's boyfriends on the show. When Goodeve visited a Bellevue automobile dealership last week, everyone joked with him about his statue and about being killed off the series by a falling satellite. (On the show, Maggie O'Connell memorialized the boyfriend with a life-size statue.) After the auction of "Northern Exposure" props, the statue ended up in the Bellevue car dealer showroom. It recently was moved to the Hollywood Schoolhouse in Woodinville.

"I even heard the statue went to Japan," Goodeve says. "It's a never-ending giggle over what has happened to the fake bronze statue." Professionally, Goodeve has been doing numerous things, particularly narration work. "I just came back from Israel, where I did a documentary, `Love Stories of the Holy Land,' " he says.

Harry Pringle often is hailed as "Chief." He was Chief Henry Morningstar on the series, the president of the council elders. Today he lives in the Everett area and has two major projects pending. The pilot for one television series, "Dreamcatcher," has been shot and is making the rounds in Hollywood. It includes Native American spiritual teachings and legends. The other also draws on Pringle's Native American roots and is tentatively called "The Plainsmen." Like many actors, Pringle has a backup career. He installs carpeting between acting assignments.

Here's a rundown on some of the cast members: Barry Corbin played ex-astronaut Maurice Minnifield on the show. When "Northern Exposure" was being filmed - first in Bellevue, then in Redmond - Corbin lived in the Seattle area. He rented a house on the Eastside and then purchased a small horse ranch near Stanwood. Since the show ended, Corbin has moved back to his native Texas and has been making entertainment headlines for his one-act play, "Charlie Goodnight's Last Night" - which he will perform at Moose Fest - and for his role as C.D. LeBlanc in the New Orleans-based television crime show "The Big Easy."

Janine Turner was bush pilot Maggie O'Connell. She plays June Cleaver in the upcoming film version of "Leave It to Beaver." She, too, lives in Texas and is expecting her first child this fall. "Janine can't travel right now because of the pregnancy," says Moose Fest producer Green. "She promised if we do this again next year, she will do her best to come."

Rob Morrow played Joel Fleischman, the New York doctor working off his medical school debt by caring for the residents of Cicely. These days he is directing and producing.

John Cullum portrayed Holling Vincoeur, the barkeeper who ran The Brick. Cullum has been doing stage productions. One, "Man of La Mancha," came to Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre, where he received acclaim from both reviewers and fans for his Miguel de Cervantes/Don Quixote. He is now starring in a one-man show in New York.

John Corbett was Chris-in-The-Morning Stevens, the KBHR radio personality who rambled on-air about the meaning of life. He wore a mustache and had blond hair for last year's ABC-TV miniseries "Innocent Victims." Currently he's in "The Visitor," a Fox Network show that will debut this fall. The plot sounds as if it were lifted from tabloid newspapers: 50 years ago his character was abducted by aliens, and he has returned to Earth with new powers. Corbett still has Seattle ties. He remains a partner in the Fenix nightclub in Pioneer Square.

Cynthia Geary was the beautiful but sometimes daffy blonde Shelly Vincoeur. On the show she was Miss Northwest Passage and visited Cicely, where she fell in love with the much older Holling Vincoeur. Geary still lives on the Eastside with her husband. She's been in the CBS-TV movie "The Awakening."

Peg Phillips played storekeeper Ruth Anne Miller. A longtime Eastside resident, Phillips has a role in Steven Spielberg's upcoming film, "Dreamworks," and a guest spot on television's "Seventh Heaven," one of several TV appearances she's made recently. In her spare time, Phillips volunteers for the drama program at the Echo Glen youth rehabilitation center near North Bend. She has taught there and helps raise money for the 10-year-old program. Phillips was scheduled to be at Moose Fest, but has to be in California this weekend because of a family illness.

Adam Arkin was the wild and neurotic chef who had a breakdown on the show. He plays Dr. Aaron Shutt on television's "Chicago Hope."

Darren E. Burrows won many hearts as Ed Chigliak, who combined the Native American past with the modern world. He and his wife live in the Los Angeles area and recently had a baby. He can often be seen on television in small parts.

Sandra Doyle didn't have a starring role on-camera but was well-known off-camera. She became famous as the show's resident caterer, and, along with caterer Rob Gray, was seen on television and in feature stories. Today Doyle runs Lucy's Taqueria at 5602 First Ave. S. in Seattle.

Morty the Moose ambled through downtown Roslyn during the opening credits and rapidly became the show's symbol. Morty died at Washington State University in January 1994.

Copyright 2002 The Seattle Times Company

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

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