Tag Archives: J.J. Abrams

Boris Kodjoe: His ‘Sexpionage,’ His Wife, and the Life Mission that Drives Him

Boris Kodjoe, Gugu Mbatha-Raw NBC photo

To-die-for handsome Boris Kodjoe, who’s been steaming up the small screen with his “Undercovers” leading lady Gugu Mbatha-Raw, insists his real-life wife has no problem with all that passionate “sexpionage” on their light-hearted spy show.

“My wife is gorgeous,” he reminds.  In case you didn’t know, he’s maried to his one-time “Soul Food” cast mate, Nicole Ari Parker.  “She’s very confident in what we have.  We’re in this business together.  She’s an actress. She’s done love scenes with everyone from Denzel to Eddie Murphy.  We have techniques we apply.  When I watch a movie with her love scene coming up, Iconveniently get up and make a sandwich.  That’s what I do.”  What does Nicole do?  “Well, sometimes she wears a t-shirt that says ‘No tongue, no trouble,'” Boris reports.

Tonight (11/1), Boris will be on hand for the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ “Primetime TV Crimefighters” panel presentation in North Hollywood — along with names including Nathan Fillion, Angie Harmon, Thomas Gibson, Matthew Bomer, Marg Helgenberger and Mary McCormick.  He’s looking forward to seeing Fillion, an old pal, and the others, and says, “Maybe we’ll exchange advice.”

Boris says he handles the exceptional physical exertion and long hours that come with the job of starring in an hour action show because, “I love my job.  I’m so blessed to be doing this, I wake up every morning with a smile on my face.”  And because, “I’m very motivated to make the utmost of this opportunity.”

He and Nicole are using their fame to further their work with their Sophie’s Voice Foundation.  It’s named for their five-year-old daughter, who has has spina bifida.  Meaning “open spine,” it’s the most common permanently disabling birth defect in the United States — and preventable in some 70 per cent of cases with the right pre-natal care, he wants to stress.

Of the foundation, he says, “That’s not work, it’s a mission.  It’s a purpose.  It’s helped us to get over the initial shock and pain and dispair you first feel when get a diagnosis like that.  We feel it’s something like, it must be our calling, you know?  There’s a reason things happen, a reason God placed Sophie in our hands.”

Response to their two-year-old organization “is huge,” says Boris .  “We get letters and phone calls from all over the world — Asia, Africa, everywhere.  We’re the first sort of interactive foundation for spina bifida that’s actually communicated with families about their individual issues.  When you’re in the same boat, you can not only lend a hand, but also give different perspectives.  Every child is different, and parents have to navigate and find ways to instill confidence in what’s going on.  Sometimes it’s best to speak to other families that can relate to each other more than doctors who give generic advice.”

Gerald McRaney’s Debt of Gratitude to Former Top — Really Top — CIA Man

Gerald McRaney NBC photo

If Gerald McRaney looks like a natural as a CIA liaison in J.J. Abrams’ sexy new “Undercovers,” premiering tonight (9/22), it could be because he has pals who know the spy game inside out.

“As luck would have it, I’ve actually worked with people in the past who are retired from or associated with the CIA,” the well-liked star of shows including “Simon and Simon,” “Major Dad,” “The Promised Land,” “Deadwood” and “Jericho” lets us know.  For instance, “The gentleman who helped us coordinate a movie I worked on in Thailand, ‘Vestige of Honor,’ and some other people.”

Other people indeed.  McRaney happens to be friends with George H.W. Bush, who, you’ll recall, was Director of Central Intelligence — the head spook himself — before he became President.

“I suppose that if I needed technical advice, I could get it from him,” observes McRaney with a smile.

That would work.

In fact, McRaney’s relationship with the 41st President and Barbara Bush helped save his life.  Years ago, as part of a celebration of George’s and Barbara’s respective birthdays, McRaney took part in a charitable fundraiser for M.D. Anderson Hospital in Houston.  “I did the tour, met some of the doctors,” he recounts.  Later, “When I was diagnosed with lung cancer, I turned to the staff at M.D. Anderson and asked if I could come down there and get a second opinion.”  He went on to have surgery and follow-up treatment at the esteemed facility.

“I wouldn’t have even known about the hospital if it hadn’t been for President Bush,” says McRaney.  He also says he left a thank-you message for Bush, and was surprised awhile later, when he picked up his ringing phone and found himself chatting with the former Prez.  Talk about something to bolster one’s spirits.

These days, McRaney’s spirits are soaring.  He’s now six years’ cancer-free, he reports, having just received his annual clean bill of health.  His 23-year-marriage to Delta Burke still gets him gushing like a newlywed.  And he’s loving his latest TV gig, as the boss of super agents Boris Kodjoe and Gugu Mbatha-Raw.  “I come in two or three times an episode and tell these young people what to do.  They do all the heavy lifting, all the stunt work,” he says.  “I have never been around two more beautiful people, I don’t think.  And then both of them, being that gorgeous, have the temerity to be nice guys, too.”