Tag Archives: Unforgettable

Marilu Henner Talks ‘All Star Celebrity Apprentice’ and Other Memorable Matters

marilu henner            The March 3-debuting “All Star Celebrity Apprentice” is bigger and tougher and faster than other “Celebrity Apprentice” seasons.  At least, that’s the idea one gets from talking to Marilu Henner, who is among the contestants who’ve returned to tackle the NBC reality show a second time, along with names including Gary Busey, Dee Snider, Trade Adkins, LaToya Jackson, Penn Gillette, Lil Jon, Stephen Baldwin and past winner Bret Michaels.

            “The tasks were more challenging.  Also, because people had played the game before, they knew what to expect, so you didn’t have people breaking down as much as you saw them really putting their best efforts forward, and everybody got to play to their skill set,” says the actress, author and memory maven.   “The first time I played I enjoyed myself and this time I enjoyed myself even more.  Really, you learn your personal best.  I  came back from this experience on fire.  Like, ‘I’m the project manager of my life and I’m going to whip this into shape and that into shape!’”  She laughs, and adds, “Trump is a character and he’s a lot of fun to play the game with himself.  He’s very: ‘I love the smell of business in the morning.’  You sort of pick that up from him.”

            Marilu is also on fire with her drive to help people get the most out of their memories.  Famous for her eidetic memory that gives her extraordinary powers of recall, she has translated her best-selling “Total Memory Makeover” book into a calendar format with tips to enhance our autobiographical memories day by day.  The paperback edition of “Total Memory Makeover” comes out in June.  A side benefit of Marilu’s program is going through each day with more acute awareness and more of a sense of being present in the moment. 

In May, she’ll go back into production work on CBS’ “Unforgettable.”  You may recall that Poppy Montgomery-Dyaln Walsh series was canceled — then un-canceled — by the network and is now slated to return in summer with 13 new episodes.  To refresh your memory:  Montgomery’s character is a detective who has an eidetic memory like Marilu’s, and Marilu is a tech advisor, part of the creative team, and has been established in the character of Montgomery’s aunt.  Ironically, the aunt has early-onset Alzheimer’s.   

Will she make more appearances this coming season?

“Probably.  I think that’s going to happen,” answers Marilu. 

Also, viewers can expect to see Montgomery going through the process of clinically testing her memory, as Marilu did.  “You’ll see some of that in action.  You’ll see the person who was kind of her mentor in this the way.” 

The character is based on Marilu’s own memory mentor, neuroscientist and Fello, Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory at the University of California at Irvine.  “The first time I was tested I had to answer over 500 questions.  I went through every memory test ever devised.  There were tests for HSAM, highly superior autobiographical memory — they have kind of this gold standard test that’s 60 questions.  And then they put things from my own life, because they were able to look up a lot of information about me,” recalls the actress who rose to fame on “Taxi.”

Marilu had fun going through some tests set up for her on Anderson Cooper’s show that airs tomorrow (Feb. 22).  Her commitment to memory improvement stems from her belief that “if all we’re doing is living our lives where we wake up, go through our day, turn off the light and go to sleep – wake up, go through our day, turn off the light and go to sleep — nothing has moved forward with us. No experience has had any meaning for us.  I feel like developing a strong autobiographical memory is the strongest line against meaninglessness that we can have.  Because then we can take the information every single day, bring it to our present and then let it inform our future, and that makes a huge difference.”

It’s something worth remembering.

Jane Curtin: ‘Unforgettable’ Series Role Came ‘Out of Left Field’

'Unforgettable' Role no drain for Jane Curtin CBS photo

Jane Curtin returns to the tube tonight (2/7) joining the cast of  “Unforgettable” as an acerbic and demanding forensic pathologist who teaches romantic poetry on the side.  It’s a part the “Saturday Night Live,” “Kate & Allie” and “3rd Rock from the Sun” television favorite tells us came “out of left field.  My agent called and said, ‘You have an offer to become a regular character on a procedural cop show that started in September.’  It was such a great idea.  Why not?  It’s something I’ve never done, and I do like a challenge, so I’m doing it.”

She hasn’t asked why creators of the Poppy Montgomery crime drama thought of her for the part, and doesn’t plan to do so.  She knows better than that, she explains.  “When I was first starting in the business, I got a commercial and I wondered, ‘God, why did they pick me?'”  Then she found herself sitting next to the product manager on a plane ride, so she asked him.  “And he said, ‘Your face was big enough to superimpose a drain on,'” she recalls.

Curtin surmises that the “Unforgettable” series team was probably looking for her to bring some humor and lightness to her character, the tough and brilliant inspector, Joanne Webster.

She’s been working with the same technical advisor who helped Leslie Hendrix learn about the medical examiner’s work for “Law & Order,” she lest us know.  And that’s big, because “She set the standard for playing a medical examiner.  No one’s done it better than she.”  There are certainly an abundance of medical examiners on television – Dana Delany, Robert David Hall and David McCallum, to name just three.  Curtin is well aware of that.  Or, as she puts it, “Anybody who is anybody is a medical examiner these days.”

Naturally, “You wonder how you’re going to differentiate this particular medical examiner.  It’s not as if people who work in that end of medicine are lacking a sense of humor.  There are times when you use it to relieve the stress.  These human beings deal with a lot of stuff every day, and sometimes the only thing you can do is quote Monty Python lines.”

Dylan Walsh: ‘Unforgettable’ Team Awaits Marilu Henner…and Fate

Poppy Montgomery, Dylan Walsh CBS photo

Dylan Walsh reports that Marilu Henner will soon be in New York to play the aunt of Poppy Montgomery’s character on their “Unforgettable” CBS crime drama.  The red-haired one-time “Taxi” star, as you may know, serves as a consultant on the show in which Montgomery plays a detective who can recall all the moments of her life with perfect clarity — the extremely rare superior autobiographical memory that Marilu has in real life.

Walsh says he’s looking forward to seeing Henner again.  “With her role as consultant, there’ve been a lot of telephone calls between her and Poppy, but I haven’t talked to her since last summer,” notes the actor, who plays Montgomery’s colleague and former lover. 

Now if only “Unforgettable” can take hold.  It’s been a ratings toss-up, and right now, its fate remains up in the air.

“We’re waitng to hear what our future is on the schedule.  Nobody talks about it,” according to Walsh.  “I hope to get some good news about continuing soon.  We’ve put in a lot of hard work, and there’s a lot more hard work ahead.  It’s been bumpy, but the reason it’s been bumpy is something I’m as proud of as anything — it’s that people are trying to do more than just your dry procedural.”   

He goes on, “Everyone assumed that her superior memory would be a superficial way to get people into the show.  But the writers have really cleverly used it as an integral part of the stories — including the fact there’s this romance, albeit in the past.  She keeps remembering, and people get to see this couple without betraying what the show is in the present.  There are a lot of flashbacks to their relationship.” 

As far as what that means to him as an actor?  “The challenge is the fun,” says Walsh.  “I get to play a younger guy, a guy who is in love, more of a suburban guy than in the present, a guy rising up through the ranks.”

Walsh, who lived in L.A. while making “Nip/Tuck,” is extremely glad to be back in his former NYC stamping grounds for his current show.  “It’s the best part of all of this.  I’m so happy here.  I’m in Tribeca right now,” he tells us via phone.  “On the weekends, one of my hobbies is learning all the architecture, building by building.”

Whatever the future of “Unforgettable,” Walsh is already thinking ahead to the holidays.  “I’m having my kids come out for Thanksgiving,” he says, “and I suspect the same for Christmas.”