Tag Archives: Kellie Martin

Christmas Season Time of Really Big Cheer at Hallmark Channel

kellie martin christmas ornamentThe Hallmark Channel gang was in a celebratory mood at the holiday soiree and premiere screening of its new “The Christmas Ornament” at L.A.’s The Grove the other night — with good reason. As pointed out by CEO Bill Abbott just prior to the showing, The Hallmark Channel’s “Countdown to Christmas” programming earned the channel the No. 1 spot in cable for the past two weekends running.

Those who believe it’s impossible to attract an audience without profanity, violence or nudity, take note. “Christmas Ornament” stars Kellie Martin and Cameron Mathison were among the stars present for the pre-screening party at nearby La Piazza. (Kellie’s support retinue included her husband, attorney Keith Christian, their seven-year-old daughter Maggie, her parents and in-laws.) Also there was Hallmark Channel fave Candace Cameron Bure, who has her own movie premiering on the network Nov. 30, “Let It Snow” — in which she plays a hard-charging hotel executive charged with transforming a ski lodge into a modern winter hotspot, and stripping away its quaint Christmas traditions. Other Hallmark Channel names were on hand for the fun as well, including Bruce Boxleitner, Barbara Niven and Dylan Neal of “Cedar Cove.”

A tale about a grieving widow who thinks she’s going to skip celebrating Christmas until Hallmark Channel-style things begin to happen, “The Christmas Ornament” is just the thing for those who prefer more sugar than spice in their holiday fare.

It’s the latest in a string of Hallmark Channel movie for Martin, the former “Life Goes On,” “Christy” and “ER” actress. According to her, “They’ve been so great to work with for so long. I’ve worked with them since 2004. That’s when — I think that’s when I did the first ‘Mystery Woman,’ or maybe 2003.”

Martin took time away from her career from Maggie’s birth to the start of school. “I got her ready and into kindergarten totally solid, no changes with mom. Mom was not working.” Now, the former child star and Yale grad says she weighs prospective assignments as they come. “I’m having a lot of fun with Hallmark.”

As for whether Maggie might follow in Mom’s footsteps, Martin makes it clear she will have to wait: “I told her she can act after she goes to college. If she still wants to do it when she’s old enough to take herself on auditions, she can do it.” Meanwhile, she’d like Maggie to focus on being a kid.

Kellie Martin Talks Being Married to a Movie Star, Hallmark Channel Style

Talk about being left up in the air! Kellie Martin, whose captain character was last seen on Lifetime’s “Army Wives” on a troubled plane that was bound for Afghanistan, not only doesn’t know if she has a future with the show, up until last month, she didn’t know wether the show itself would have a future.  “Wives” has been picked up — but will the plane go down?
“They suggest the plane went down, but we don’t know what happened,” points out Kellie, whose previous series include “Life Goes On,” “Christy” and “ER.” “
Whatever happens, as far as Kellie is concerned, “I did eight episodes and had a great time. I think the producers and writers are plotting out a lot of options, because I don’t know which of the regular cast members are going to be back. I think there is going to be a fair bit of shuffling going on.”
Kellie has been doing a fair bit of shuffling herself, between her busy work schedule and life outside Hollywood. The actress, who comes across genial, energetic and efficient in an afternoon’s interview, has much to think about besides acting: her husband Keith Christian and their five-year-old daughter Maggie; Keith’s Colorado cattle ranch; and Romp, the online toy store Kellie impetuously bought a year ago when she found out it was on the brink of going out of business.
She’ll next be seen starring in the Hallmark Channel’s “I Married Who?” romantic comedy — debuting tomorrow (10/20) — about a woman whose bachelorette party gets out of hand and she wakes the next morning to find herself married to a movie star who is a stranger to her. Of course.
“My character is definitely type A, someone I can totally relate to — someone who needs to loosen up. I had a good time making it, and I just watched it, it’s really cute. It’s funny. It’s a bunch of fun,” she says of the movie in which hunky Ethan Erickson plays the matinee idol.
Kellie’s character is anything but star-struck — which couldn’t help but bring back real-life memories for her. “I’m not a movie star, but I’ve been an actress forever, and the first time I went on a date with my husband, he said to me, ‘So I hear you’re an actress. I’ve never seen anything you’ve done.’ We were like, oh gosh, 21 when I met him, and I laughed, because I’d done ‘Life Goes On,’ and ‘Christy,’ and I mean, I’d been working forever. So I laughed and said, ‘Oh, really? You’ve never seen any of my shows?’ And he said, ‘No, I didn’t get the ABC affiliate in Montana, so I haven’t.'”
She admits, “I thought he was lying at first. I thought he was being funny. You know, at college — I went to Yale, and everybody’s very smart, and everybody has their thing that makes them special, and people at Yale would pretend they didn’t recognize me. Only after they’d had a couple of drinks would they start singing the ‘Life Goes On’ theme song,” she relates with a laugh.
“So I thought, ‘Oh, he’s doing that. He’s being too cool.’ But then I realized, ‘He’s just being honest. I loved his honesty, you know? I thought it was very refreshing and sweet. He had no preconceived ideas, no notions of anything about me. He just kind of took me as I am, and that was pretty great.”
Of course, it couldn’t have hurt that Christian himself obviously had a lot on the ball. An attorney and entrepreneur from a Montana ranching family, he readily went along with it when Kellie decided to enter the world of online sales with Romp, a store specializing in the kind of non-plastic, imagination-building playthings she buys for Maggie.
Now Maggie is her No. 1 test market, which both mom and daughter apparently find quite a hoot. Kellie doesn’t expect to make a massive financial killing with Romp, but says she’s enjoying making these sorts of toys available to parents in places where they’re not easy to come by.
As far as pursuing more series and movie work, Kellie says she’s open, but not actively seeking anything in particular — which has been her style throughout her career.
She notes, “The great thing about my relationship with Hallmark is, they’ve definitely invited me to bring them stuff, and they’ve been so great to work with for so long. I’ve worked with them since 2004, that’s when — I think that’s when I did the first ‘Mystery Woman’ movie, or maybe 2003. Unless I’m developing something, I kind of wait to see what comes my way. Right now, my daughter just started kindergarten. I finished up ‘Army Wives,’ in June, I flew back to L.A., we had our summer vacation here and in Montana, and the most important thing was, I got her ready and into kindergarten totally solid, no changes with mom. Mom was not working.”
Life with a cattle ranch, TV stardom, online toys, Yale and parenthood in it sounds pretty rich, to say the least.
Kellie laughs. “Right? We have lots of different interests. I’m pretty happy with it.”



How George Clooney Became Prince of the Ball

Interesting, the story behind George Clooney becoming this year’s honoree at Barbara Davis’ gala of all Hollywood galas, the Carousel of Hope Ball.

The socialite philanthropist, whose event draws dozens of A-list stars and power players each year, tells us that she got to know Clooney just after he put together the January, 2010 Hope for Haiti telethon.

Medical personnel on the scene in that earthquake and poverty-stricken land needed drugs, including Insulin and antibiotics specifically used for diabetics. Clooney turned to Davis – whose Carousel of Hope events have brought in more than $100 million for the fight against the disease– and she turned to the pharmaceutical companies who know her well. Soon, the asked-for medications were on their way to Haiti – and Clooney and Davis had become philanthropy pals. Now Clooney’s the man of the hour at this Saturday’s (10/20) Carousel of Hope at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

“Honestly, I can’t rave enough about the man. He uses his celebrity in such amazing ways. There may not be a Santa Claus, but there is a George Clooney,” says Davis, whose fundraiser benefits her Denver-based Center for Childhood Diabetes. Her friend George is a huge draw, of course, and it sounds as if the suave star even has Davis a little breathless. “He’s so nice you just can’t believe how wonderful! He’s such a mensh,” she gushes.

Carousel of Hope has been called the glitziest, most elaborate event on Hollywood’s charity calendar for good reason. Sponsored by Mercedes-Benz (which contributed a $137,505 Mercedes-Benz 2013 G63 AMG design for auction this year), the affair boasts Neil Diamond and Babyface as performers, Jay Leno back as emcee, with George Schlatter as producer and David Foster as music director.

Davis admits her charity, like nearly every charity out there, has felt the impact of the recession (not that you’d notice). “Very honestly, there are some people giving less. But there are also some giving more. People affected by auto immune diseases are more prone to get yet another auto immune disease,” she notes. One of her daughters has had diabetes since age seven, the other has MS– both auto immune diseases.

Among the expected attendees this year: Tatyana Ali, Antonio Banderas, Adrien Brody, Cheryl Burke, Sophia Bush, Jessica Capshaw, Jackie Collins, Joan Collins, Cindy Crawford & Rande Gerber, Billy Davis, Clive Davis, Jane Fonda, David Foster, Quincy Jones, Shirley MacLaine, Alyssa Milano, Shaquille O’Neil, Sidney and Joanna Poitier, Don Rickles, Smokey Robinson, Sarah Silverman, Jaclyn Smith, Sharon Stone, Alan Thicke and Diane Warren.

And among the items being auctioned off, in addition to the Mercedes: a luxurious Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week, including tickets to runway shows by Valentino, Versace, Giorgio Armani and others; and a Bora Bora dream wedding valued at $250,000.

WELL-DESERVED: Nice to see Mel Brooks being designated next year’s American Film Institute lifetime achievement honoree – as well as getting the full-on biographical treatment from PBS’s “American Masters,” also for next year. The hard part will be dealing with time constraints, considering the funnyman’s contributions and hilarious behind-the-scenes stories. Three of Brooks’ movies are on AFI’s top 100 list of all-time great comedy films (“Young Frankenstein,” No. 13; “The Producers,” No. 11; and “Blazing Saddles,” No. 6). And then there’s his Broadway success, and his serious side (eg: “The Elephant Man.”) And he’s not done yet. The man who told us he delights in “putting pins into balloons, deflating pompous types”has a comedy horror picture called “Pizzaman” on his to-do list, with Cary Elwes and Stacy Keach.

“I’ve been accused of vulgarity, and rightly so,” admitted Brooks. “I think that vulgarity, pointed properly, can be a good weapon in the hands of a creative person.” It’s certainly worked for him.

THE FUNNY SIDE: Kellie Martin says that one of the appealing aspects of her Oct. 20 ‘I Married Who?” was that the movie – about a woman who wakes up wed to a movie star she doesn’t know – gave her a chance to work her comedy chops. “Usually I have to be really upset and emotional,” says the veteran of drama series including “ER,” “but this was‘Learn your lines and have fun.’” Fun she did have, including adding improvisational bits to some scenes, with a director who encouraged the cast to stay loose. “There were times I felt it was way too big or too broad, but when they put it all together I was so surprised they used as much of the improv as they did…I needed to feel safe, to be able to try and fail.”

Ethan Erickson plays the movie star, and Kellie applauds him for making the most of his perfect looks for comedy’s sake.

“It’s Hallmark’s answer to ‘The Hangover,’” she adds with a laugh. “A super clean version of the Hangover.’”


Celebrities Celebrate Beastie Besties at Hero Dog Awards

Dogs have always been man’s best friend, but it’s only been in the last few decades that we have started behaving as if it works both ways.  That’s an encapsulation of an idea that Betty White expressed last night, when she was honored at the Second Annual American Humane Association’s Hero Dog Awards — and Betty is one who would know.

The 90-year-old national treasure has been an animal lover throughout her lifetime, of course, going back to the days that, according to her, animal advocates were viewed as “a bunch of zealots” and our beastie besties were strictly considered beneath us.  Now, though, every year we’re discovering more capabilities of these wonderful creatures, Betty enthused.

Kristin Chenoweth presents a new line of greeting cards for dogs — not too seriously — at the Hero Dog Awards

At the Hero Dog Awards, many of these remarkable capabilities were celebrated, as eight Hero Dog honorees and their stories were introduced with the help of emcee Kristin Chenoweth (and her own dog, Madeline Kahn Chenoweth), Joey Lawrence, Jewel, Pauley Perette, Kellie Martin, Denise Richards, Naomi Judd, Mark Steines, Jake T. Austin and other celebs.

For instance, there’s Jynx, the Law Enforcement/Arson Dog honoree.  He was on duty with his handler, Deputy Sheriff Kyle Pagerly of the Berks County Sheriff’s Department, and other officers in rough terrain — and the German Shepherd alone detected a bad guy lying in wait, ready to ambush the law men with a sub machine gun and a cache of other weapons.  Jynx alerted the deputies to the gunman’s presence, attacked the gunman — who nevertheless managed to fire several shots at Pagerly — and then attempted to pull his wounded master to safety.    Pagerly died at the hospital, but the other officers on the scene that day feel they owe the hero dog their lives.   Jynx now lives with Pagerly’s widow and baby daughter.   It was Mrs. Pagerly, only a few weeks pregnant when she lost her 28-year-old husband,  who tearfully accepted Jynx’ award — and a heartfelt standing ovation from the crowd.

There are stories of therapy dogs who’ve saved lives and brought troubled humans out of their shells, stories of courageous canines on the battlefield, dogs who’ve given people with disabilities ways to live normal lives.   Yes, have the hankies handy if you watch the Hero Dog Awards on The Hallmark Channel November 8.  Each honoree is loveable and deserving, unlike other awards shows we could name.

The Beverly Hilton Hotel’s Grand Ballroom, where such galas as the Golden Globes take place, was again the setting for the Hero Dog Awards, with quite a few canines, large and small, there to enjoy the event first-paw.  (Whatever must those doggies have thought of being applauded by a ballroom full of people?)  The crowd feasted upon sauteed tenderloin of beef and seared citrus olive marinated filet of sea bass — and a dessert of espresso almond tiramisu in a chocolate cup, complete with white chocolate hero dog medallions.   For those who watched the first Hero Dogs Awards last year, with Carson Kressley as host — expect a more even program this year.



Yoga, Culinary Arts Help Kellie Martin Curb Type-A Excesses

Kellie Martin, Kiernan Shipka, Simon Kassianides Hallmark Channel photo

One-time juvenile actress Kellie Martin admits she still has the perfectionist, type-A tendencies that led her to battle an eating disorder in her youth — but these days, she believes she knows how to channel them healthfully.

“It’s part of the reason I go to yoga as much as I do,” says the former “ER” and “Christy” star, who returns to the tube Saturday (2/5) in the Hallmark Channel’s fun family comedy with frog prince overtones, “Smooch.” (Kiernan Shipka of “Mad Men” and Simon Kassianides also star.)

“The whole message of yoga is being gentle and kind to yourself, and that will reverberate in your life and in the world.  Yoga really makes me slow down and breathe, and I really need that in my life, and I do it almost on a daily basis now.  It helps me not be such a perfectionist, and not such a type A.”

Another activity that’s become important to her, she says, is cooking.  “It’s something very meditative and very much a creative outlet for me.  I’m a really good cook, and I’m a really good baker, and I cook with my daughter Maggie and it’s just a really fun way for me to be active,” says Kellie, referring to her four-year-old.

“When I’m not acting, I have to have things that really feed my soul, and cooking really does that.  I think maybe it came from struggling with food issues as a teenager.  I’m very obsessed with food, but now I’m obsessed with food in a healthy way.”

Kellie and her husband and fellow Yale grad, Montana-born attorney Keith Christian, “have a garden where we grow our own fruit and vegetables.  That’s a big passion of mine right now,” she says.  “I want Maggie to know where food comes from. We’ve talked about getting some chickens and going out and getting fresh eggs in the morning. I’m very into the idea of fresh foods and whole foods, no pesticides, organic – but doing it yourself, not just having it as a trendy thing.  I want her to have a little bit of what my husband had which is the earthy ranch, farm experience,” she says, “have a little of that experience here in Southern California.