Fans of "thirtysomething" will remember Patricia Heaton as the "bearer of bad news every week" as cancer-stricken Nancy Weston's gynecologist.
After two years of delivering doom and gloom on the yuppie series, Heaton was ready for a comedy. She stars with Linda Lavin in ABC's new sitcom "Room for Two," premiering Tuesday. Heaton plays a successful producer of a New York morning talk show whose life is turned upside down when her widowed mother comes for a visit and gets a job on her daughter's show.
The Ohio native says she has always had a good relationship with her parents. "They are pretty supportive," she says. The second youngest of five children, Heaton says "everyone is rather independent, but (my parents) will lovingly offer their suggestions on how you can improve your life. My father realizes he can say what he wants, but we are going to all go and do what we are going to do."
Heaton planned to follow in her family's footsteps and become a journalist. Her father is a sports writer for the Cleveland Plain Dealer and her brother is a columnist for the newspaper.
Heaton was majoring in journalism at Ohio State when she realized she had made a mistake. "I was just towing the line." Switching to drama, Heaton headed for New York after graduation where she modeled shoes and operated the copier machine at People. Eventually, she started a theater company. She moved here after bringing one of the company's shows, "The Johnstown Vindicator," to Los Angeles.
"When I moved here, everyone was very open and friendly about helping you. In New York, there is so little work, there is much more of a guardedness."
Heaton is married to British actor David Hunt who is currently doing a film and a TV series in London. The separation has been difficult. "Our phone bills are massive," Heaton says. "We talk to each other twice a day."