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WITH AN EYE ON . . . : Gigi Rice hopes to step out from behind the bar more on new 'Larroquette'

August 06, 1995|N.F. MENDOZA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Despite appearing in three series--including NBC's "The John Larroquette Show"--actress Gigi Rice never gets recognized.

" Never ," emphasizes the willowy Rice, who plays the happy high-priced hooker turned bus-stop bar owner Carly on "Larroquette." "I don't look anything like I do on TV," she says with a giggle.

"I don't wear makeup and I run around in sweats in real life," Rice says from her L.A. beach community home. "Ted [husband actor Ted McKinley] always is recognized, but not me."

Rice returns to work this week and hopes the third season brings Carly "out of pining away for Hemingway [Larroquette] and gets her doing more than just wiping a lot of glasses."

FOR THE RECORD
Los Angeles Times Sunday August 27, 1995 Orange County Edition TV Times Page 13 Television Desk 1 inches; 12 words Type of Material: Correction
In some Aug. 6 editions of TV Times, actor Ted McGinley's name was incorrectly spelled.

At home, Rice focuses a lot of her attention on the couple's 14-month-old son Beau. This summer, Rice and McKinley ("Married ... With Children") gave up a trip to Fiji, "so we could just hang out with Beau." In June, the entire family spent four weeks in Austin, Tex., while Rice shot her scenes in the NBC movie "Deadly Family Secrets," scheduled to air in the fall. She stars opposite Loni Anderson and Greg Evigan.

Despite childhood dreams of a career as a prima ballerina, by the time the Columbus, Ohio, native got to high school she "was a certifiable drama geek. I even gave up cheerleading to be in drama."

Later, armed with a degree in music and theater from Ohio State University, Rice headed to Jupiter, Fla., to apprentice at the Burt Reynolds Theater. Reynolds directed her in "I'm Not Rappaport," where she caught the eye of critics, as well as co-star McKinley.

"I really didn't know who he was," Rice says. "He wasn't on 'Married

"I didn't recognize him, but I thought he was the most gorgeous man," Rice says. "The minute I saw him I knew I was going to marry him. Ted says the same thing about me, but I know he's just being nice."

After joining McKinley in the City of Angels, she found "the lifestyle was very difficult. I was very intimidated. I didn't fit in. I was sort of a theater person. I didn't think I was attractive enough to work here. But I had this gorgeous husband, who's been my No. 1 supporter."

She landed a role in the play "Uncommon Women and Others," where she and co-star Anne Ramsay ("Mad About You") caught the attention of agents.

Rice's TV debut, coincidentally enough, was on Burt Reynolds' 1989 ABC series "B.L. Stryker." Regular roles on the syndicated "Harry and the Hendersons" in 1990 and ABC's' "Delta" in 1992 followed, as did guest and feature ("Deadfall") work.

With work in the feature film "A Gift From Heaven," she thought she might make the move to the big screen. "I thought it was what I wanted, but now--I'm not saying this isn't what I want to do--my top priorities are my baby and my husband. I really want to be a working actress."

As for the future, Rice says, "Ted and I just keep thinking it's so rare for a two-actor household where both are working and we're just so happy for it."

"The John Larroquette Show" airs Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m. on NBC. The show moves to Saturdays at 9 p.m. in the fall.

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