TV's great promise to an actor has always been to deliver him from TV. "Come join our show," it beckons, "so you can ditch it and make movies." Prime time is acting purgatory, a thespian penitentiary, a celebrity goal. And George Clooney is especially recidivistic, if cuddley jailbird. Roseanne. The Facts Of Lives. Some show called Baby Talk. Eight failed piolots. " You sit around on a TV seriesand say, "Really, I'm a film actor. I'm just doing television." Clooney says as taping begins for this , his last season on ER. "After 10 or 11 years , you have to admit that what you are is a TV actor."
In ER's case, we know why the caged bird sings. Because the cage is a well-executed, heavily financed Michael Crichton production, and the bird makes out with Julianna Margulies. But also because in those lean years, while Clooney did time as a sitcom journeyman, a strange transformation occured. His bimbo-ish good looks softened and mellowed; he grayed; he became what people called distinguished looking. And he learned to act.
So now Clooney goes off and makes movies. He makes "Out Of Sight" and finally delivers on the great potential of Must-See-TV; to bring to term an intellegent, talented, wholly un-Schwimmer leading man. Which means we can expect Clooney with Thurman, Clooney with Hunt, Clooney with little animated people.
In the meantime, the charming cad Dr. Ross rules. Unfettered by Seinfeld, with a death grip on the Neilsens, George Clooney is, for one more righteous season, the man who anchors the show that anchors the night that anchors the network that anchors television.
" George is a sexy guy because he doesn't try." If you name him 'Sexiest Man Alive,' he'll giggle about it for days-then he'll put on his sweaty basketball shoes and go shoot."
George's answer when asked if he would run for office."Run for office? No. I've slept with too many women, I've done too many drugs, and I've been to too many parties." (On what he would say if he did a 'Don't do drugs' commercial) " You know what guy's I grew up in the 70's. I did some drugs along the way. Didn't have a huge problem ever, was never addicted, but I did them like most everyone around me did them-although a lot of people don't remember now-and let me give you the shortcut: It isn't worth it, it's pretty much useless, and for the most part I would recommend you don't do it." I've grown sick of it, I'm ready to be an adult now."
Before you knew, Clooney had inked the $5 million contract, but he never envisioned that the contract would cover Schumacher's right to make impish declarations to the media that the costume of his former Batman, Val Kilmer, fit the newly hired Clooney perfectly-with the exception that the codpiece wasn't quite spacious enough. "Joel didn't get along with Val," says Clooney, who starts riffing about the shock of discovering that your very own ding-a-ling has been drawn into someone else's quarrel. "Why did my penis size have to become part of the argument? The last thing you want is someone saying, 'George had to get a bigger codpiece,' because that leaves all the room for everybody else to bury you. Your like, 'You guys go worry about your own dicks and please leave my penis out of it.'"
George's summary of how his life has changed since his uncle passed away from cancer in 1990. "I'm now aware of how breif life is," he said, " and how you have to mark every day and make it matter-not just the best moments, the award nominations, the opening nights. If all my life is about these satellite moments, what then? They come and they're gone. I have to live it whole. It's finally about friendship and loyalty and treating people right."
In Style Magazine------March 2000
Julianna talking about her decision to leave ER. Today the scales are tipped heavily in favor of the casual. The trademark raven ringlets are tied back, the alabaster skin glowing without makeup. Coffee fix aside, Margulies is at the top of her game. Last Thanksgiving, when her ER alter ego gave birth to twins fathered by George Clooney's character, Dr. Doug Ross, some 30 million viewers made it one of the most watched stork-drops since Lucy brought Little Ricky into the world. Around the time she was filming that episode, Margulies dropped something else- a bombshell- by forgoing a reported $27 million offer to stay on the show until summer of 2002. "Through all this ridiculous hoopla about money, my hope is that people might look at me and say, 'You know what, it's not necessarily the American dream to be the richest person in the world. Maybe the dream is to be the most fulfilled.'"