Teryl Rothery: Tall Talent

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If you looked up the word “bubbly” in the dictionary, you would find a picture of Teryl Rothery. Of course you would also find her under “flirt”, as you will see. I have had the pleasure of seeing Teryl three times now. She attended Chicago twice, though the second time she almost didn’t make it. One of my favorite memories of Teryl’s first visit to Chicago was her Cabaret performance. Before doing one of the three song and dance numbers she had prepared, Teryl discovered that a young girl in the audience was there to celebrate her tenth birthday. She invited the child onto the stage, taught her a very simple series of dance steps, and then they performed together! Talk about a birthday wish come true!

When Teryl took the stage in Vancouver, she first polled the audience for children and “convention virgins”, a.k.a. people who had never attended a convention before; then she decided to start taking questions. She described to us how it works for her. “Basically what I do is I give you guys this time. You ask as many questions as you want to ask, I do my best to answer them, and I don’t really know all the answers so – (sees people she recognizes in the front rows) Oh my God look at all these wonderful familiar faces! – so what I do then is I rely on a lot of you to answer the questions that I don’t know. Is that a deal?” Yes Teryl, we’ll help you!

Teryl was in luck. Her first question was about the infamous “Puff and Ruffle”! If you haven’t heard of this, make a point to ask any original SG-1 cast member about it at a convention. They’ll wonder how the story has survived this long, but you’ll love seeing them act it out! This transcript can’t possibly do it justice! “That’s very rude, puffling and ruffling and there are children in this audience! Seriously, you’ve not seen the Puff and Ruffle? Oh my God, I’ve got to go back through the fog of – how many years would it be now? Come on you guys, you guys are good at – math gives me diarrhea! How many years has it been when we did season 1? What was that, somebody? [I shouted “12!”] No, it’s got to be more than 12 years. Just 12? 13? Holy Toledo!

“Ok, 13 years, Puff and Ruffle. I think it was season 1. Well it actually continued throughout the show. For those of you who have been to umpteen conventions, I apologize for you having to hear this umpteen times. But for you newbies, there’s so many of you, and it’s so exciting that more and more of you are coming and joining the fun here at Creation, and we love having you here so I will do the Puff and Ruffle story again. Basically, when you are on a show and you are as fortunate as we have been to be on such a great show for such a long period of time – seven years for me; truly the best seven years of my life – you become a family. Not just the cast but your crew; right from your producers all the way throughout, we are a family. So when you first meet, you get things like they kind of look at you like you’re a pretty girl at the very beginning. Chris [Judge] and Michael [Shanks] and Richard [Dean Anderson] used to flirt all the time because Manda [Amanda Tapping] and I were The Girls, and we were new. And as time wears on, you’re one of the guys. And worse than that you become sisters. And you what that entails if you have siblings, so they treat you as such. So all of a sudden you’re not the pretty ones anymore, you’re just one of the guys! And you’re family! And so all these guest stars would come in. Of course, being military we’d be covered up (indicating her chest and neck area), and guest stars would be scantily clad. But even in the read-through’s and stuff – my God it was just pathetic. Typical men stuff – No groans from the guys cuz you agree, right? All this guy stuff, so they’re be a guest star coming in, and they’d be like punching you (punches the air) or Christopher would love to go inside his nose (pretends to be picking her nose) and go on about his nose hairs and pluck it out and put in on your clothes. I’m not kidding! He did! He would do that! But when the new girl would come in, all of a sudden – and this is where the puff thing comes out. You’ve all seen birds, the male species of the duck or the pigeon, and they do that whole puffing thing (rolls her shoulders back and shakes them) where the pigeon gets that puffy chest? And the male peacock has the beautiful tail, so of course they see a female and the tail starts (turns profile and wiggles her . . . ahem). And I am not exaggerating, nor am I making this up for the purpose of making you guys laugh. They would – (sees the questioner readying her camera) you want a picture of this, don’t you? Look at you! – the guys would see the new girl coming in and literally they’d going from pulling their nose or doing that stuff to (rolls the shoulders shakes them, and struts!) ‘Hey, hey baby. How’re you doing? Welcome! So good to see you!’ And they’d all do this whole thing where they’re chest would puff up and the ruffling, you know! And there was this time where – well, every time – you’d go onto a set at the sound studio and it’s freezing bloody cold first thing in the morning, so they always give you parkas and stuff to stay warm. So at this particular time for some reason Amanda and I weren’t in one, so this particular guest star that they’re doing the whole Puff and Ruffle thing for comes in, and in the mean time we’re going like this (shivers and says with gritted teeth) ‘Is the coffee ready? Oh my God. Brrrr!’ We’re freezing, this one comes in, and literally Richard’s like, ‘Oh hey (shoulder roll, shake, strut), baby look at you, you’re freezing! Wardrobe! Wardrobe! Can we get a coat for her?’ And we’re like, ‘(raises a hand, so cold no understandable words come out!) But it didn’t apply to us. So that’s essentially in a condensed version the Puff and Ruffle.”

Uh oh. Ok, this is where the “flirt” comes in. A gentleman comes up to ask a question, and Teryl loves it so much she asks for his name, Paul, then comes down off the stage, holds her own mic up to him and has him repeat it. “Shanks’s character was found on another planet. What clause did you have to sign in order for you to come back? We want you back!” This is where Teryl can get herself in trouble. She’s so outwardly affectionate . . . She says, “I love you Paul! I really do!” She reaches up, because Paul was a good foot taller than her, hugs him around the shoulders, and plants a big kiss in his cheek! Then Teryl says, referring to his wife who’s in the audience, “When you’re dead you ain’t being buried, she’s gonna cremate you. . . . Well, let me tell you. I don’t know what clause Shanks signed, but I wish I had signed that same clause. It was so upsetting! And that’s another thing! It’s again this male thing! The Puff and Ruffle guy thing! He ascends beautifully, this spirit going (floats a hand skyward). What do I get? (Slaps her chest audibly) Staff blast right to the chest! Oozing blood. It’s just awful! My eyes are like wide open starring up. And I’m lying in ice-cold mud. I don’t know, Paul. I kept hoping beyond hope they would bring poor old Janet Fraiser back, but alas I don’t think it’s going to happen. Unless of course you all write to the new people. Isn’t there like a new show or something? What is it, Stargate Universe? (Grinning) I think we should all write in. Cuz then now they’ll still keep bringing me back, k? Thank you!” She blows Paul another kiss. “Michael is here on Sunday, right? Payback time, Paul!”

When did they tell you you were going to die? Was is a shock, or did they prep you midseason and say, ‘Hey we’re going to kill you off!’ Or was it just like, ‘Hey, here’s the script, read through it,’ and on the tenth page it’s like, ‘I’m dead!’” “You know what, it was a phone call. Because at that point contracts were up. I mean everybody’s different contracts. So at this point we were kinda doing a freelance kind of thing. (Teryl sees a Creation staff member moving something near the stage and she says, “You afraid I’m going to trip on that? I’ve only had two sips. They don’t want to be sued.”) I got a call, I guess it was in the Januarys. We’d only started filming in February, right? I think it was January, maybe December, when they said, ‘What’s up’ because I had taken a play – I love theater, for any theater lovers here. So I’d taken this job in this play, so they didn’t know what was happening. So [Robert] Cooper called me to say, ‘Is everything going to be ok? Are we going to be able to work through your schedule?’ I said, ‘Yes we can work it through. The theater, everybody knows what’s happening so we’ll just make it work.’ He says, ‘Ok great. Listen, while I’ve got you on the line, how would you feel if we killed you off?’ (Gives us look with her hands out that clearly says ‘What the heck?!’) A, this is your livelihood. It’s like somebody saying ‘how would you feel if we just made your position in the company nil. Gone.’ I was like, “(really indiganant) What do you mean, ‘how would I feel?’ I’m an actress! I’d be really . . . (looks as us, smiles innocently, and revises whatever she was about to say to:) ticked off.’ I remember all those kids! ‘I’d be really angry, of course! What do you mean? Why what’s happening?’ [Cooper] is like, ‘Well we just want to shake things up a little’ and ah – oh, I was just thinking ahead a little to what I actually said and it just sort of gave me a little start. You guys will understand in a minute. He said, ‘we just want to shake things up,’ and I said, ‘if you wanted to shake things up why wouldn’t you kill off Hammond instead of Fraiser?!’ [We all moan sadly] Which is exactly what I said, which it why I prefaced it saying I just had this big lump come when I thought of that story. But that is the God-given truth, that is exactly what I said. And I did phone Donnie [Teryl’s nickname for Don Davis] right afterward and I told him I said this, and we laughed about it, and I just miss him terribly. I guess we had to get through that one, didn’t we? (Wipes a tear and steadies her breath) So yeah, that’s essentially what it was. I still blame the producers being on drugs for writing me off.” We all laugh and cheer, and then the gentleman who asked the question says something like, “They couldn’t replace you”. There was more to it but I couldn’t catch it over the applause. Teryl, being Teryl, couldn’t resist. “Bless your heart! Are you married? Where is she? Stand up! (Comes down off the stage) It’s you? Oh, she’s cute! You kinda look like Carter! A redheaded version! (Goes to the guy who asked the question) Ok, ready? Give me a hug!” Teryl reached up – because again the guy was a good foot taller than her – hugged him around the neck, cheek to cheek, and let his wife take a picture, but apparently she doesn’t come close enough for Teryl’s liking and she says, “Oh for God’s sake, get over here!” While waiting, someone says that this is the gentleman’s father’s day gift, so Teryl asks him how old his child is. “Two in June? I have a six month old today! She turns six months today!” Did anyone know that Teryl had a baby?! I didn’t!

What has been your favorite role to play? “Oh, hands down Janet. I love – how can you not love her? She was just so much fun, and seven years for her. Although I have to say, for those of you who have not seen the show it’s called Kyle XY, and it ran for three seasons, and then they cancelled us after three. But the character I played was so far removed from Janet Fraiser, it was hysterical. She walked around with a highlighter (choosing her words carefully) stuck up her bum. Oh dear! (To whichever MC was at the side of the stage) I’ve told you, you should have a sign that warns people bringing children under the age of 16! She was pretty up tight, Amanda Bloom, or no, I was Carol Bloom, my daughter was Amanda. But she was fun. Did you see the episode where she got drunk? Oh my gosh that was so much fun. Now you should haven the outtakes on that! That was a lot of fun. So yes, I much prefer Janet. I miss her.”

Tell us about Terleen and Minnie! “You better ask her that same thing on Sunday! For you newbies, do you have any idea what she’s talking about? No? I mean I know everybody else does. We had these alter egos, Amanda and I, because we play such straight, serious kind of characters, right? I mean anytime you saw Fraiser somebody was dying or somebody was coming through the gate that had to be dealt with, and Amanda had to solve something all the time. So we would have these alter ego characters just for fun, because we’re SOOOO unlike our characters. We were Minnie and Terleen. We took our names – isn’t this juvenile? But it’s so fun to be a kid! – That’s the best thing about being an actor, if any of you are aspiring to be one, it’s the best because you never have to grow up! Ask Christopher Judge! So, because she was Amanda, we decided to call her Minnie, and because I was Teryl we called her Terleen, and for some reason we just thought we had to talk like this, so we were Minnie and Terleen, and we were going to the Narvell School of Beauty. And we were taking hair dressing, and we’d go on and on. She’d say, ‘Hey, Terleen! How’d you do on that whole frosted tips section?’ I’d say, ‘We’ll I did mighty fine, but I just ruined my permanents! It was oh! There was smoke coming! We’d just keep going on and on. And then they’d say, ‘ok, places! Lets’ go!’ and they’d have the sound, and we’d have to go from (in the accent) Minnie and Terleen to (snaps her fingers and drops the accent) ‘I don’t know, sir. It’s an educated guess.’ Weird! It was just weird. And fun!”

How’s the baby, and how’s that new job going? “Oh, she is – do we have moms in the audience? Isn’t it the best? Actually, where is that lovely lady that asked whether I preferred the Carol Bloom role or the Janet Fraiser? I honestly have to say I think the mom role is truly the best role I have taken on in my life. It was totally unexpected. I really truly thought I was in early menopause. I know you’re laughing, but seriously I did! I thought, ‘what is going on? Why do I feel so sick?’ I thought there was something wrong. I didn’t know why I was feeling so sick, and somebody said to me – ok the father said to me (laughs) – ‘honey, you tend to be an emotional person to begin with, and very up and down and big, but can I just say you’ve been even more emotional these days?’ And he’s trying to really walk on eggshells, that poor man. And he said, ‘have you thought, maybe you’re pregnant.’ And I was like, (loud and angrily) I am not pregnant! What do you mean, ‘am I pregnant’? and he said maybe you should just get the te—‘ ‘I can’t to the test!’ Well, I did the test, and I didn’t have my glasses on, so literally I walked in with the stick and was like, (very agitated) ‘It’s ok, here’s the box, here’s the instructions, read this, look at the window, what’s happening?’ He’s trying to be so calm, bless him, I just love him to bits. He said, (hesitantly) ‘Well, ah honey. According to the instructions and the window, um, you’re pregnant.’ And I said to him, (still agitated) ‘No! it can’t be. It’s screwed up! You know what, I bought two for one at Costco, I’m going to do it again!’ Verbatim, I swear to you! I’m not making this up! I did again and I said, ‘NOW what does it say?’ and he went ‘well uh, honey, it’s a little brighter than the first one, but it’s still a pink plus sign, so yeah, you’re pregnant.’ So that’s how I found out. And as I say she is six months today and she is absolutely the joy of my life. I am loving it immensely. She’s great.” Look out world, here comes another Teryl!
What are you working on now? “I’m up for two roles right now, and we’re just waiting to hear, so hopefully you will be seeing me very soon. But essentially the last episode of The Guard I was in, I had the baby two weeks after that. I know, it was insane. And then I had London, and then I was back to work a week later doing some voice work, and then I did Smallville again. That was just a whole lot of fun. And then it’s just been mostly voice stuff. Doing that and doing directing and choreographing. I’m still tap dancing a lot and teaching, and choreographing different shows and doing the behind the scenes stuff right now, because it also gives me more time to be at home. But as I say I’m hoping at least one of these two jobs comes through (waves crosses fingers at us). It’d be fun to get in front of the camera again.” The woman asking the question says, “My husband will be happy to see you again.” “Will he? But my bum will be covered! (laughs) Do tell him I appreciate that though, very much!”

Did anything ever gross you out? “ You know what, it’s really weird. The only thing that ever really grossed me out was when – and I think this was season one – do you guys remember, was it ‘Tin Man’ where I stuck my hand in . . . “ Teryl was making a motion like she was putting her hand into her stomach, and I knew right away what she meant, so I started shouting “Hathor!” Those fans who know me personally are well aware that I pride myself on my trivia knowledge, and I was positive I was right. As the loudest one, I’m almost certain Teryl’s gaze was centered right on me as she said, “It was ‘Hathor’ where I stuck my hand in Richard’s gut? (Incredulously) That was ‘Hathor’?! [I shouted “YES!” while other fans agreed with me] What the hell was I doing in his gut in ‘Hathor’? [I shouted, “She tried to make him her new Jaffa!”] Oooh! That’s right! He was a Jaffa! Bless you, thank you for remembering! [I turned bright red] That was really gross! Because they had to make this goop that they out in this little fake tummy thing that I had to go inside of. I won’t say the name of the restaurant, but what they used was – (a floor light on the stage pops on right next to Teryl – she must have bumped the on switch) Ops, the light just came on. (Retreating back to the middle of the stage) It was the restaurant owner that flicked that light on. Um, they used this stuff that they make milkshakes with – (some fans go “eew”) I know, gross huh!? She asked what was gross! This was gross! So it was like this syrupy kind of stuff, and the mixed it up so it was like this honey goopy kind of stuff, that and that was what was gross because they wanted it so that when I went in I had to get my hand in it, and when I pulled my hound out of it they wanted that trial of droplets, like honey. That was really really gross. “

As anyone ever asked you medical things while you were playing the role of a doctor? This question was worded much more awkwardly than this, and Teryl got a little confused. “I was going to say, I have an honorary doctorate from so many shows, which one? Do you mean about health? Has anyone ever asked you for medical advice? No, but you know what’s interesting, I get sometimes, and this is true! In some of the fan mail there’s almost a psychology kind of thing. I’ll get asked certain things about choices that people what to make, which is fascinating! I think it’s the whole lab coat. I mean if they ever saw me like this they’d never want my advice! But I think it is! There’s just something about that lab coat that they think you’re a power of authority and you should know. I have lab coat syndrome. I can’t watch surgeries when they do that stuff on TV. Or if there’s a cut, I’m – honestly I will faint. It’s horrible. So no, nobody’s ever asked me for advice.”
A fan comes up and tells Teryl about a website that has video of Teryl from various shows and movies. He said it’s called “Teryl Rothery Pack” but it’s not coming up on my Google search. Does anyone know about this? If not, don’t feel bad. Neither does Teryl! “You see I don’t do computers either!” He tells her that they have footage from Totally Awesome, a TV movie comedy that aired in 2006. “Oh my God! That’s on it too?” “Yeah! When you were on the set, were you like goofing around all the time?” “It was absolutely insane. The guy who directed used to co-write with Dave Chappelle and was one of the guys on the Dave Chappelle show. So he would just give you license to do whatever, so you would just go way over the top. Because they were really caricatures. Christopher Tan, if any of you are familiar with him from Saturday Night Live, he was the star of it, and we were just over the top. It was just again one of the most fun sets to be on. Everybody just played. And we’d get reined in when we adlibbed stuff, and they decided if they were going to keep it, but it was a blast, an absolute blast.”

After that, my hand gave out. I’ve experienced hand cramps before, but nothing like this. Actually, considering Teryl was the fourth guest appearance of the day, with only one 1 hour break during which I ran up to my room to update the blog, I was surprised my writing hand lasted as long as it did! On top of that, my camera battery died at the same time, so I could even take enough pictures to use to jog my memory! So, I had to resort to shortening my short hand even further. This means I still have Teryl’s responses to questions she was asked, but I can’t put it all in her words, and I don’t have all the questions written out. Here we go!

Teryl said that the needle jab that she gives Amanda Tapping at the beginning of ‘Foothold’ was payback for teasing she had received.

Teryl had to wear “picture shoes” with a three inch heal every time she had to stand next to Richard Dean Anderson in a scene. They had a nickname, too: The “Fraiser Spice Boots”! This story prompted Teryl to try and find someone who was shorter than her. She found a 13 year old boy in the question line, and this kid had no fear! Teryl pulled him up on stage and started chatting with him. He gave her grief, but you could tell Teryl was having fun! I think she was actually trying to get him to react, but he stayed cooler than a cucumber! He said he wants to be an actor, and when Teryl asked him why he said shortly, “Because I already act.” I really wish I could have gotten down more of this conversation, because it was so funny! Eventually Teryl called the kid “cheeky” and sent him off.

Teryl mentioned “The Graduate”, a movie coming out in theaters in the next few months. I didn’t take down the context. It’s possible that she’s going to be in it!

Someone asked about pranks, and Teryl told us a story that I will repeat in as much detail as I can. You know those times were you see Janet running into the gate room for an emergency? Apparently the directors were pretty insistent that Teryl really run, so in order to get up to any speed while still in heals, Teryl told us that she would use one of the halls just off of the gate room to work her way up to speed, and then when she actually reached the blast door she’d be coming in at a good clip. On one such occasion, Chris Judge, the infamous prankster, snuck up on Teryl and grabbed the bottom of her lab coat. Teryl started running on cue, and then realized she wasn’t going anywhere! She showed us how she beat him off, turning half way around and swinging an arm at him. I doubt it really did much good, but he did let go. Teryl ran for the gate room and was huffing and puffing, all flustered when she got there! Teryl also said that she didn’t play pranks on others, just had them played on her.
Teryl was asked, if you weren’t acting, what do you think you would be doing now? “I would be a veterinarian, I think. I can’t think of who else would hire me!”
Someone asked Teryl, since the cast became so much like a family, if she kept in touch with them after Janet was killed. Teryl said she had stayed in contact with Don Davis the best, and I can tell you that if you ever heard Don talk about Teryl, you could tell how much he cared about her and valued her friendship. Teryl also said that sometimes they would gather for holidays like Thanksgiving, usually at Chris Judge’s house because his house is the biggest.

When asked if she had a favorite memory from her time on Stargate SG-1, Teryl couldn’t do it, saying that “there were too many to name just one”.

Teryl said that her favorite part of stage acting is that everything is in sequence, “and you get to rehearse!”
Finally, here’s some quick trivia for those who love theater: Teryl Rothery has played Kate in Taming of the Shrew, and Louise in Kiss Me Kate.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about Teryl as much as I enjoyed getting to see her once again! I find both her portrayal of Janet Fraiser and her own personality to be wonderfully inspiring, and I have yet to make it though ‘Heroes Part 2’ without shedding a tear. I hope the day will never come when I can sit through it with dry eyes because that in itself will be a sad day for me.

If anyone who attended Teryl’s appearance at Vancouver ‘09 would like to help me fill in the holes caused by my hand cramps, please let me know! I know everyone will appreciate it!
Next, Saturday kicks off with the first of our three Atlantis boys! Let’s see . . . he’s a doctor, he has a sweet accent, and a sweet personality! What’s not to love about Paul McGillion?

Alyssa

2 thoughts on “Teryl Rothery: Tall Talent

  1. I ABSOLUTELY enjoyed reading about Teryl. I was able to meet and hear her speak at a convention two years ago. She is absolutely just as wonderful, funny and loving as you say. You’re so right: both Teryl herself and her portrayal of Janet Fraiser are very inspiring. Rock on Teryl!

    I hear you regarding every word you said about “Heroes part 2.”

    Anyone who is willing to fill in holes-due-to-hand-cramps would have my eternal gratitude, as well.
    Awesome, awesome job, PlayItGrand. I am extremely grateful to you for your detail and heart. Many blessings to you. <3

  2. Heya Grand, 🙂

    With these delightful Stargate Vancouver 2009 stories like this about Teryl, it is no wonder the viewership here is growing! Keep up the great work my friend!

    Puff and Ruffle! OMG! ROFL! 🙂

    PS: Cannot wait for your next posts regarding the other great Vancouver 2009 guests!

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