June 15th (1998) interview with Patti Cohoon
I was born in Whittier, California, January 27, 1959. The youngest of four girls: Terry, Judy, Susie and then ME. I understand my Mom was really hoping for a boy for a change, but my Dad was loving having a bunch of little girls running around who adored him.
As the story goes, since I started talking, I used to mimic every TV show, and especially commercials. None of the sisters seemed real interested in the TV, so finally, when I was nine-years-old, probably after driving everyone crazy, a friend of my Mom's, Meg, looked into how to get me started in television. Now, no one we knew was in the entertainment business so somewhere Meg found an advertisement for an actors organization called S.E.G (Screen Extras Guild--now not in existence) that said it was always looking for new talent.
My mom and Nana (Grandma) drove me from Orange County up to L.A. (about a fifty minute ride with no traffic) to meet with the guild, and they were so excited they got me a job immediately. On -- guess what -- the pilot episode of The Brady Bunch. I was Susan Olsen's stand-in. Well that was pretty fun, but not exactly what I had in mind. I wanted to be the one who had the lines when the camera started rolling. Fortunately the kids, and their mothers on The Brady Bunch set, were very nice and suggested that I meet with their agent Toni Kelman (four out of the six "Brady" kids were with her agency).
We met with Toni. I loved her, she loved me, my Mom loved us both and off we went. I did my first commercial in less than a month and booked the Here Comes the Brides series not long after.
I believe I was a pretty good little actress, but I think what helped me the most was that I was tiny, and very short for my age, so I could play much younger roles.
I've been trying to remember some interesting things about working on Emergency!, I know when I see the show again, I'll remember once more, what comes to mind right off was that I found it so ironic that I was hired to do this show (these were the days when I didn't have to audition for all parts on shows. I had done a lot of work by then and they were offered to me via my agent). About nine months before I did the show, I was practicing gymnastics with my High School team. I had qualified to go to the California State Championships for the balance beam and vault events and two days before the competition, I fell from the beam and broke my collar bone in three places. So here I am, doing a show where I fall off the balance beam. The Emergency! director loved the fact that I could do a lot of my own work on the beam. They did have a double on some of the stunts, not that I couldn't do them mind you, but they didn't want me to hurt myself and not finish the show. They did however, let me do the shot where I fall off the beam and look like I hit my head. I told them what I was best at, unfortunately, was falling off. They agreed and the shot was mine.
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