Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

For George Clooney, the Operation's a Tremendous Success

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

For George Clooney, the Operation's a Tremendous Success

Article excerpt

* The star of `ER' discusses his ascent to superstardom.

GEORGE CLOONEY seems unaffected by his simultaneous burst of fame in both film and television, but that's to be expected. His aunt is singer Rosemary Clooney, with whom he lived in Beverly Hills during his hungry days. His father is Nick Clooney, a TV personality and newscaster.

Both Rosemary and Nick have experienced the rise and fall of show business careers, and George appears to have profited from their counsel. He recently talked about his ascent to superstardom in an interview. Clooney is helpful with journalists (he was one himself) although publicly outraged by celebrity-hounding paparazzi, especially in the aftermath of Princess Diana's death. He also is attentive to fans. He is realistic about his current fortune without being dishonestly humble. His intense blue eyes exude warmth, with a hint of devilishness. It seems astonishing now, but during his struggle to gain a foothold in Hollywood, Clooney couldn't get a tumble from filmmakers. "I was reading for the casting director's assistant for small, small, small roles in films, and couldn't get by him," he recalled. "I wasn't going to get the role of the leading guy's buddy. And I wasn't going to get the leading man's role, because that was going to people who had film names. "I was sort of at an awkward age. I looked a little bit younger. My hair was longer, I wasn't as gray. I couldn't play out of my range." Television was more receptive. Warner Bros. placed him under contract and cast him in a recurring role on "Sisters." Recognizing his appeal in the long-running series, the studio groomed him for both a half-hour sitcom and an hour drama series. While preparing for a series called "Zero Tolerance," Clooney read a script written by Michael Crichton. It was "ER." Clooney auditioned for the series and was chosen. Complication: NBC had authorized the pilot for "Zero Tolerance," starring Clooney. Since both shows would be produced by Warner Bros. for NBC, Clooney pleaded to be allowed to join "ER." His wish was granted, and his gratitude is the major reason he has remained with "ER" while his movie career has zoomed. "They were honorable with me all along," said the actor, "so it's easy for me to do right and stick with the show." Within the first few weeks, "ER" smashed through the roof and was on its way to becoming one of the most successful series of all time. Clooney wasn't prepared for what happened next. "Since I had the smallest part in the pilot and on the show, I thought that I would get edged out," he remarked. "So I got a publicist, and I did some things to separate myself from the show in terms of getting my name out there. I started getting involved in other projects I wanted to publicize. "My first magazine cover was US magazine; that helps separate your name. …

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