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INTERVIEW: Marilu Henner on Meeting George Clooney, Being ER’s Last Patient, and Her Dancing With the Stars Dream

Mar. 30 2009, Published 7:04 a.m. ET

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Marilu Henner might have a lot on her plate, but the actress, author and TV host was more than thrilled to step into a hilariously over-the-top role for the finale of ER, which airs this Thursday. “I play the mother of a groom from hell,” she told, “and I hate my daughter-in-law so much that we end up in a fight and in the ER -- on the wedding day.”

While Henner couldn’t spill too many juicy details about the highly-anticipated episode, she said being on the set was “meaningful,” and that she proudly holds the distinction of being the last person wheeled through those famous emergency-room doors. She also reminisced about meeting George Clooney just before the hit show premiered. One day, while having lunch with the head of casting for the series, “George Clooney walked up to the table and introduced himself to me, said he loved Taxi,” she says. “And he walked away, and the head of casting said: ‘He has no idea how his life is about to change. He’s going to be a superstar.’ And he was right.”

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The actress will follow up her ER appearance with next Tuesday’s paperback release of her healthy-living book Wear Your Life Well. Henner must practice what she preaches, because at 56, she looks as slim and youthful as ever. What’s her secret? “No dairy,” she says. “Let’s put it this way: the only thing cow’s milk is supposed to do is turn a 50-pound calf into a 300-pound cow in six months. So if those are your aspirations, knock yourself out.”


While she may have a hectic schedule, Henner still keeps close tabs on reality TV. She was a contestant on last year’s The Celebrity Apprentice -- she was eliminated in week eight -- and has been following the second season religiously. “Did you see last night’s episode? It was more like Dr. Drew Pinsky’s show,” she marvels. “I mean, Dennis Rodman was like, ‘oh my god!’” Looking back, what would she have done differently in the competition? “I would have brought more clothes and more earrings,” she laughs. “I would have had a better haircut.”

All joking aside, the actress hasn’t abandoned her reality-TV career and hopes Dancing With the Stars will come calling. “I feel like the girl who’s waiting for the handsome guy to ask her to the dance,” she says. Her prediction for this season’s winner? Gilles Martin, hands down.



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