Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Chad Everett Sobers Up and Returns to TV

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Chad Everett Sobers Up and Returns to TV

Article excerpt

THE LEADING-MAN roles don't come as often now, but the creases that line Chad Everett's chiseled face play a role of their own. They seem to say, "Don't worry about me, I can handle it."

From 1969 to 1976, Everett starred as Dr. Joe Gannon on the CBS series "Medical Center," the longest-running doctor drama in TV history.

In those days, Everett was in big demand to speak at medical conventions, but there was something the doctors and nurses didn't know: The actor was nursing a serious addiction to alcohol.

Everett held out a steady hand and said, "I needed it to stay like that."

This fall, we'll see just how steady he is. Everett is returning to TV as the star of "McKenna," a weekly ABC series set in the Pacific Northwest. He plays a wilderness guide trying to patch up a bruised relationship with his son (played by Eric Close).

Everett had been an all-state quarterback in high school in Dearborn, Mich., but turned to acting at Michigan State and Wayne State. His first starring role on TV was on "The Dakotas."

Then came "Medical Center." Everett sat back in a suite at the Universal City Hilton and recalled those days.

"We were required viewing by most of the nursing schools," he said. "And we took on issues. It used to be not against the law to discriminate against a person because of his medical background. Now it is. The bill was passed because of a show we did about cancer."

But during the last two years of "Medical Center," Everett began drinking heavily. It continued through his roles in the series "Centennial" and "Hagen."

"My addiction was strictly chemical," he said. "I never beat my kids or wife, and I never got into drunken brawls. The industry never knew. I never missed a date. I was doing stunts and 180s in cars probably twice a week."

Nine years ago, "I found myself inside the bottle, and I didn't like it. …

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