I worked on 24 the year I had Cancer- Pictures included.
I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer of the milk ducts in June of 2005. Two weeks later I received a call from Central Casting. I had been picture picked to be a part of season 5 for 24. I called them back and left casting a message that I was sick and could not do it. Then I thought about it and finally called them back and left them a message saying that I had cancer, had to have surgery and was afraid the surgery would alter my appearance and well, 24 was one day in one season and I did not want to mess them up. Casting called me back and told me I was cute and that they were not going to let me quit the fitting for 24.
My first day was just a fitting and I went to 24’s main studio location. I don’t think I knew what category I was going to be yet. I was also working the film “Stick up” at the same time and needed to leave the fitting straight for set. I took my own suits with me and at the fitting I told wardrobe that I would be having surgery at some point and that they needed to dress me in case my upper body changed. I was not yet sure what to expect to happen. This was just weeks after finding out about the cancer. Wardrobe told me I did not have to tell anyone about my condition. Wardrobe decided to fit me in my own suit, so I would not have to worry and well I could just wear my clothes to set. They did have me wear their earrings I remember and a necklace I think.
I remember they asked me to move into my chair on set. You can see me in the first pic in the light pewter blue suit- hair bob cut and curly. I am walking into the seats at this point. I was playing a reporter and this was episode 10 to 11 am. I accidently, due to a mistake from casting, worked a day when they had reporters and mourners outside the Former President’s location of death, but you can’t see me in that scene, though I may go back at some point and check deleted scenes (they had me in one of my own black suits and also put me through hair and makeup to disguise the mix up).
Sometime while shooting at this location I fainted on set. It was very HOT. The medic wanted to know if I was under a doctors care for anything. I finally confessed that I had cancer and begged him not to send me home. I needed to work and well sending me home was not going to make me better. The cancer would not go away by simply taking me out of the heat. The medic ended up giving me the phone number of a plastic surgeon he knew. I did not go to him, but he gave me advice on what to expect. I apparently called the medic from the hospital when I recovered. I have no idea what i said, but later when I ran into him on set he told me my message was funny. I think I just told him I made it and was OK and thank you, but then I was under the influence of very strong pain medicine.
Next I worked a day when the president was seeing the Russian prime minister off. This was episode 3 to 4 pm.
This was the day I met Glenn Moreshower for the first time. Not sure why, but he told me we red heads need to stick together. One of the other actors on set told me about a seminar Glenn was having so later I went and heard him speak and he actually wanted to introduce me to his agent, but I gave Glenn my resume and was kind of not pushy. At this point I knew I had to have surgery and well I was scared and what was I supposed to do. “Hi agent yeah sign me but I may be dead in a few months I don’t know yet.”
I also worked at the main studio once. We did a studio “night” press conference with President Logan. I remember I had lunch with one of the Crew “NIck?” who was also a writer. Someone gave us a hard time about it, and he looked at the person and said “Hey I am trying to make a friend here.” That to me was respect. Apparently I forget to make a copy of that image but it was a press conference at the Presidential “retreat” where Logan declares martial law, and I found me in my blue suit, though you only really see my back half behind a camera.
After my surgery was done and I found out I was OK I called Central casting and told them that I could go back to work on 24 if they wanted me. I got a call that they wanted me to work on location on a military base and needed my information to do a background check. (INTERESTING HUH? IN the summer of 2005 the US military and the US government KNEW what I was doing to make money. they also knew I had cancer. They all also knew I was good at acting and being on a set. Later the military would try to convince me to work for them as an actor, but I said NO way. there was no way I was going to work in bad conditions in the dessert after I lost all my upper body fat to cancer. Also I was a conscientious objector, which is a valid reason under the Constitution not to be forced to bear arms or be involved in activity that could lead to the loss of life. Seriously I think having a mastectomy should be classified as a disability. Every 10 years I have to have surgery to have my implants replaced. MEN in the US define a woman on LOOKS and flat chested women are not seen as women. MY cancer was cut out of me, but I will NEVER get my breasts back. the feelings I Had in my upper body as a woman are also diminished.
Anyways, I remember I worked on 24 for a few days on what turned out to be the final episode of the season 6 am to 7 am. It was the funeral scenes/ arrest. Again in the blue suit you can see me as a reporter in a small crowd of reporters trying to talk to LOGAN as he arrives.
You can see me again at the back of the crowd with a mic and a camera as Logan gives his speech.
The weird thing is I found an image of a guy I worked with the last time I worked “Boston Legal.” We were on a break and I remember he was showing me what was going on with the UNIONS. It was the last time I worked Boston Legal, after my accident- 2008. I remember also that Anne Maria Johnson was doing a guest spot that day. She came out and actually talked to us about the politics of the potential merger. She also said something very weird about how ABC needed to protect the value of its library of recordings?? Keep in mind this was a good two years after I had cancer and worked on 24. I was also studying to do digital media and had hoped to find work in the industry that would allow me to be around sets, continue to build a professional working actors resume (not a celebrity I am a star and know it work) and work not as physically abusive as being a grip or production assistant, something where I could use my skills with a computer and a camera and photo shop. I had cancer people so I needed to take care of my body, heart, mind and soul.
I AM FURIOUS with the US. I was working hard. I had a great reputation on a set and was so good that when I was sick 24 hired me, one of the top shows at the time on TV. TO have the cast of Grey’s Anatomy out of some political jealous crap have me blacklisted so that my reputation could be destroyed is wrong and I SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO SUE FOR IT, especially since my OWN UNION is going be in my opinion outdate archaic perspectives that if you ever worked on a set as background you are incapable of acting or of being ever seen as a professional actor or set person. THAT HAS TO END and I want a lawyer to stop it, especially since it seems that they seem to treat more WOMEN that way then MEN. Basically what I am trying to say is the the Government probably did not do this to me, but ABC, DISNEY, Dempsey, DANE, AFTRA and My UNION DID. And contrary to what Republicans and my father may say- I am and was LIKED IN CALI.
The guy in charge of us on 24 on my last day for the season told me that they might bring me back season 6 and if they needed to, would switch my categorry. I kind of think it is strange that it never happened, though I never called Central and asked and never pushed. I did send thank you post cards. I often wonder now if the government stopped that, but I would run into people I knew who were working season 6 and they would tell me I should try to get on it. Some of the guys in that crew treated me like I could be more than I was. I appreciated that. Made me feel like I had a future that I wanted when I had cancer. I did not push for season 6 also because I was finding work and well I think the cancer memories were too much for me to deal with. Working 24 would being back the memory of the experience to me, and I needed time to heal.
I should also add that the man who told me I was on a watcher list by Disney was not in a security uniform, did not carry a gun. He had only a clip board and wore a pocket protector and reminded me of some of the conservatively dressed people I would see around the church of scientology or if I were casting him as something I would have cast him as an insurance man, teacher, or office staff. I remember a UNION background artist verbally slandered me on YouTube under a video on the dos and don’ts of working on a set. Looking back I think the guy was jealous. You see politics do happen but there are times when they go to far and are actionable. I never slept with anyone to get what I wanted, but if the employers liked me and wanted to hire me as opposed to someone else or an actor considered me a friend, that is not unprofessional or illegal, even if background. Prejudicing against me for being LIKED and hired all the time and good at the job, better than some UNION people out there- was and is WRONG. I don’t know to this day what I did to have someone at Grey’s meet me on a recall to be told I can’t work for them. If they fired me for talking to principals- sorry but that kind of violates the Constitution. So I was supposed to be RUDE and not converse with them when they liked my work enough to treat me like an equal??
This is what also bothers me. A girl who bullied me on Eli Stone claims to have worked on 24, Vegas, and well she did work on Eli Stone, however like me she was background. She also claimed to have gotten her vouchers on the show “Life.” I have watched all the 24s, Vegas, and I found myself in those shows, but not her at all. Let me make this very clear to- ANYONE IN HOLLYWOOD who would not hire someone because they did background- is being discriminatory, juvenile, prejudicial, and well you are passing on someone who has experience on sets and knows how things work on sets- does that make sense??
Pushing me into a life where I do work I did not fight to do or would not fight to do, is no way to make anyone achieve their goals, fight for money or even love. I am not the type who can do things for money alone. I will not accept a future where I can’t be hired by anyone in Hollywood after I worked so hard when I thought I was going to die. HOW DARE my FAMILY try to make me be a failure- do you think that will make you be a ROCKSTAR!!