[…] TV star Jorja Fox of “Crime Scene Investigation: CSI” talked about how she plays with her pooch while she has time between scenes. She also talked about her roles on “The West Wing” and “E/R.” Jorja says her dream job would be appearing on TV on Animal Planet. Were the bosses listening that day?
Animal Planet Radio - (10 min)
Steve Dale We’ll be right back with Jorja Fox on Animal Planet Radio!
Theme to CSI: Who Are You?
Steve Dale You’ve seen her on the West Wing and ER. Oh, remember that episode of Ellen? It was called the ‘Puppy’ Episode. We’ll talk about that in a second. Her name is Jorja Fox, and right now she’s the hottest thing on TV. Well no, I don’t mean it quite that way. Well, you know, maybe I do. You see her on CSI and she’s giggling. Hey, Jorja.
Jorja Fox Hello, Steve. How’s everything?
Steve Dale Everything is great. You know, the reason why we wanted to have you on Animal Planet Radio was because I’ve got, right in my hand here, your bio. And it says your name, you know, and then the date of birth, which is interesting cause the year is actually on this. I don’t know any other actress that does that.
Jorja Fox See, I’m not quite sure how that all slipped out. But it’s all out in the open.
Steve Dale The place of birth, and then your pets.
Jorja Fox No, it doesn’t!
Steve Dale It does! Ali the dog, a boxer, Rumplestiltskin your cat, and Sidney Potier, your cat.
Jorja Fox Yes.
Steve Dale Well, we need to talk about this.
Jorja Fox Okay.
Steve Dale I mean, you are a HUGE pet lover.
Jorja Fox Um .. I’m, I’m an extreme animal lover now. And I love you know all animals. Domestic largely, but I’m kind of an animal freak, I guess you could say.
Steve Dale Well, I don’t think it’s a freaky thing, I think that’s a great thing. Lets, you know I understand that between takes, I don’t know many, you know, television scenes, exciting, and it kind of is, but you know, a lot of these shows especially those that are not sitcoms, they take a while. Yours is done in film style, movie style, and that means there’s time between these takes.
Jorja Fox Yes.
Steve Dale Things have to be set up and especially with you show, because things are so specifically detailed.
Jorja Fox Very visually oriented.
Steve Dale Mm hm. What do you do with all that time?
Jorja Fox laughs That’s a very good question. Well, we have all kinds of games on the set. Like chess and checkers and things like that. Match games like soccer and basketball break out. I have a big music collection in my trailer. And we’re actually really lucky because we shoot a little outside of LA and we’re allowed to bring our dogs to work.
Steve Dale Now “’that’s”’ where I’m going.
Jorja Fox Yeah. Yes, exactly, so.
Steve Dale So the really big game isn’t chess or checkers, it’s fetch.
Jorja Fox Mm hm. Yeah, Marg has a dog she brings sometimes. And George Eads brings his dog to work “’every”’ day.
Steve Dale Ah, you’re talking about Marg Helgenberger.
Jorja Fox Yes, Marg Helgenberger is on the show.
Steve Dale And?
Jorja Fox And George Eads. And his dog, Maverick, is there every day. If he’s there, Maverick’s there. And I bring my dog, I’d say, you know about once every couple of weeks. I- I bring her if I have a shorter day. Because I have two cats, she has company at home. So unless- If I’m there for a couple of hours or less, I have the time. If it gets to be a long day then laughs she’s ready to come home, you know, before I am. That’s a lot of fun, and it’s a big gift too. That’s not often, I mean you see that on some sets sometimes, but it’s rare on a show that people are allowed to bring their pets.
Steve Dale Well, and those names of your pets intrigue me. Ali, named after the boxer?
Jorja Fox Mm hm.
Steve Dale Really?
Jorja Fox All three of them, of my animals, came with their names. Sid Potier, actually was originally named Sid Vicious. And I quit calling him that, sort of altered that name, because he was inheriting his namesake a little bit, and I thought that maybe. And kind of the funny thing about that after he became Sid Potier, he did sort of relax. He’s very debonair now.
Steve Dale He’s a much better actor.
Jorja Fox He’s a perfect gentleman.
Steve Dale Yeah.
Jorja Fox And, ah, Ali was named after the great Muhammad Ali.
Steve Dale Mm hm.
Jorja Fox Who, who was I to change their names? And I actually love all of their names.
Steve Dale Where did you get your dog, Ali, the Boxer, from?
Jorja Fox Ah, um. Ali was a personal rescue, actually. I had a friend who couldn’t keep her, and she was about ten months old. He had heard that I just moved out to LA and had a small yard and he called me and I said sure, that I would take her. She sort of came with an expiration date. That after six months, if I wasn’t completely satisfied, that he was moving out to LA, and he would take her. And, ah, you know, of course, I fell madly in love. I think it took all of about a week. Ali was one of the best decisions I ever made.
Steve Dale You know, they say that. And I used to do a lot of celebrity interviews, and I would talk, eventually, because I’m me, with the celebrities, about their pets.
Jorja Fox Right.
Steve Dale And one of my favorite questions was-
Jorja Fox Even before Animal Planet?
Steve Dale Yeah! Yeah.
Jorja Fox Which I’m a huge fan of, by the way.
Steve Dale Well, thank you! Thank you very much. Well I wanna know if your dog’s personality, in any way, reflects yours?
Jorja Fox Um laughs Well. People say that.
Steve Dale Really?
Jorja Fox Definitely say that. And that’s the thing I’ve been intrigued with for a long time too, cause I notice dogs, I think in particular, that are with owners or human companions, or whatever you want to call them, you know, the two personalities definitely seem to blend. The question to me has always been ‘has it been the dog the takes on the human personality, or the human takes on the dog personality.’ laughs And it’s kind of a brilliant thing. But yeah, so I’ve heard. I’ve heard that we look alike, I’ve heard that we have definitely similar personality traits.
Steve Dale Mm hm. Have you always been this huge animal lover?
Jorja Fox Yeah, I mean, matter of fact, even as a kid, I grew up in a small, beach town in Florida, and there was more wildlife there than there probably were humans. At that time, things have changed, sort of a bit. My grandmother, who’s 98, is a huge environmentalist, and has always been very, ah, very sort of tuned in to the natural world.
Steve Dale Hmm.
Jorja Fox And I think, as a young kid, I, um I really wanted to be like a marine biologist, or work with wildlife, more than I wanted to do anything else. And as I got older, you know, my science skills are really weak, which is also sort of iran- ironic cause I’m playing a scientist laughs right now on television!
Steve Dale Yeah, now you weren’t supposed to tell me that.
Jorja Fox laughs Science and math. It sort of became clear to me, probably around Jr. High or High School, that I might not make it! You know? Like I would love to do it as a career, work with wildlife, but the actual mechanics of getting a degree might not really be in my future.
Steve Dale You know what would really be cool? And you never know who’s listening to this show, wouldn’t it be great if you hosted a show on Animal Planet? Where you didn’t have to really know the science?
Jorja Fox Yeah!
Steve Dale But you did have to use your ability, well you know, talk into that camera or that camera. And read off cue cards and do all the things that you can do. And- And and I don’t mean that in a bad way! And still be able to go out and do things, like, with dolphin show trainers. And go to, maybe, a rain forest somewhere. Wouldn’t that be great?
Jorja Fox Steve, you know, if that could be in my future, I would be absolutely thrilled. That would be amazing.
Steve Dale Okay! Let’s say, alright, this is your- remember ‘I Dream of Jeanie'?
Jorja Fox Mm hm.
Steve Dale Okay.
Jorja Fox Actually, I grew up ten minutes from the town where ‘I Dream of Jeanie’ took place, Coco Beach, Florida.
Steve Dale Alright, so you are now Jeanie. And you can cross your arms like Barbara Eden used to do, and close your eyes and, and all and make a wish for a TV Show. I mean, after CSI runs its very long and healthy course. Which we want.
Jorja Fox laughs Thank you.
Steve Dale What would that show be? Would it be a sitcom, would it be really a nature show?
Jorja Fox Um yeah, I mean I would love to go out into the world, and sort of, you know, meet animals where they live and where they are naturally. I think that would be the all time greatest job. That was my hope, you know, even if it was being a wildlife photographer or that, where I could go to the places where animals are. That would be good.
Steve Dale You know, one thing I learned about this business: You say it, and it can happen. You do, you never know who’s listening. But the first job, or one of the first times that we became familiar with you, Jorja Fox, was on ‘Ellen.’ They call that last show, and you’ll have to explain something to me, and if it’s filthy, don’t explain it. Why is that last show refereed to, like on all the websites? As-
Jorja Fox As ‘The Puppy Episode.'
Steve Dale Yeah!
Jorja Fox I wish that I had a great answer to that question, and that’s something I’ve always wanted to personally ask Ellen myself.
Steve Dale Is it something you can say on the radio, do you think?
Jorja Fox I, well, I don’t even know the answer.
Steve Dale You have no idea.
Jorja Fox And I know that it is absolutely a term of endearment. That it’s an inside joke, that there’s an inside story to why it was called ‘The Puppy Episode.’ Obviously there’s no puppies in that episode. And there’s really, I don’t think there’s any reference to any type of animals at all. But, ah, it’s quite possibly, when Ellen was writing the show with the writers, you know, something that came, that was very personal to them, which you know at least that has in common with that episode. It was a show that was extremely personal to Ellen.
Steve Dale I want to talk about CSI for a second. I mean, you are now probably being heard all over the nation, all over America, but I’m from Chicago and there’s a Chicago connection: William Petersen’s on the show.
Jorja Fox Yes, he is.
Steve Dale And he has something in common with you, because you have roots in the theater and so does he, I know.
Jorja Fox Yes. Absolutely. William Petersen is maybe one of my all time heroes. And, ah, he is from Chicago, he spent most of his break in Chicago. We’ve just come off break. So we had six weeks to sort of go away and do whatever we wanted to do.
Steve Dale You know, I’ve referred to him as, ah, er, others have referred to him as an actor’s actor. I don’t know quite ever what that means. Maybe you can explain it to me.
Jorja Fox loud laughter Oh, I think that’s very specific right now, because he’s producing [[CSI]] as well. So he’s wearing two hats and, ah, as a producer, um, probably his number one concern, I think, that he looks after, is the actors on the show. And, um, he kind of once said to me that he wouldn’t know how to work if it wasn’t a collaborative process. Which is something that is extremely common, coming out of theater. If you work, you know, working on plays, two months of rehearsing, it becomes very much this collective of what people want to do. So that’s how he works, and it’s kind of unique to television, and um, everybody supported that. I think that they knew when they got William Petersen and he would be involved, that that’s how the show would go. It’s a very, very special thing.
Steve Dale Well, CSI’s become a very special thing, a very successful show. Wouldn’t be that without you, Jorja Fox, thanks for sharing some time and talking about your best friends with four legs.
Jorja Fox laughs Thank you so much!
Theme to CSI: Who Are You?
Steve Dale Jorja Fox promoting the Pounce Purr-fections, that’s a new cat treat, and Jorja was involved in a promotion to benefit the ASPCA. It was a treat talking to Jorja …