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Two Days, Three Interviews

By RD Heldenfels Published: November 3, 2005

I do actually talk to other people every now and then, and the last couple of days have found me on the phone.

On Wednesday, there was a short chat with Patricia Heaton about her new TV movie, ''The Engagement Ring.'' Because of her success on ''Everybody Loves Raymond,'' Heaton is much sought after, and the interview -- although one-on-one -- came with one of those publicist advisories to keep it to 15 minutes. Fortunately, Patty talks fast, and so can I, and we covered a fair amount of ground in a relatively short time. The movie was better than I expected. And I'm comfortable talking to her; she's a Northeast Ohio kid, and I have interviewed her in person, been to the ''Raymond'' set, talked to her on the phone a few times. She always manages to sound down-to-earth, for instance noting that a lot of her time these days is spent monitoring the homework of her four children. I should have a story in the Beacon Journal before the movie premieres on Nov. 28.

Early this afternoon, I chatted with Kathy Kinney -- Mimi on ''The Drew Carey Show'' -- about improv and the Drew Carey All-Stars touring improv troupe, which is coming to Cleveland in December. I had also talked to Kinney before, at one of those press meet-and-greets that look like parties but are really designed for work. As I may have mentioned before, actors who show up at these things and then are difficult to talk to (it happens) are not viewed kindly by us ink-stained sorts.

My recollection of talking to Kinney before was that she was a little distant. No such problem today. In fact, I felt early on as if she was describing some snowballing improv routine -- it was Kinney's birthday, and her house was being cleaned, and her two cats were making a fuss around the cleaning, and her computer had begun making a funny noise, so she had asked her boyfriend to come look at it. ... It was pretty amusing. And we talked a lot about improv. So that's another story.

Then came a conference call with Teri Garr, another former Buckeye, Lakewood division. Yes, I talked to her before, too. How long ago? It was a phoner about this new movie she had done, ''Close Encounters of the Third Kind.'' (I've been at press conferences for her TV shows since then, but ''Close Encounters'' was our last direct chat.)

This event was tied to her new book, ''Speedbumps,'' which covers her career and her living with MS. (75 percent life, 25 percent life with MS, she said.) It's not a bad book, funny and unexpected, very much in the voice you know from Garr's semi-wacky talk-show appearances. It was a conference call, which usually means that you're one of many, many people trying to get a question asked. But for some reason, there were few people asking questions (I've heard there were more just listening in). So I got time to ask a couple of questions, got back in the question line, and found myself back talking to Garr, got done again, went back in line and -- boom! -- was talking to her AGAIN.

I don't think that was entirely comfortable for her, getting the same questioners over and over, but it was great for me. Almost a one-on-one. The story is scheduled for Monday's paper. Check out the book.

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