Friday, September 23, 2005

TIP O' THE HAT SQUAD: SHIRLEY JORDAN

Usually, the "Tip O' The Hat Squad" feature serves as a memorial to the Television work of a recently departed actor.

But not this time.

This time it is a celebration.

Andy Millman, an actor played by Ricky Gervais in the new series 'Extras', calls himself a "background artiste". Those actors who do a lot of character work in small roles are sometimes called "atmosphere people" as well. Sometimes they prove to be of more interest than those main characters in the foreground

But don't blame it on the extras. Blame it on the lack of talent in the so-called stars.

Many times an actor will get to showcase their skills for playing a particular kind of role. Off the top of me head I can think of Richard X. Slattery as a beat cop, and Bryan O'Byrne as a member of the clergy.

Shirley Jordan has played a variety of roles in recent years - as reporters, cops, correctional guards, patients, and FBI receptionists. But many times her characters are in the medical profession, and usually a nurse at that.

And best of all - most of them remain unnamed. That way I get to have some Toobworld fun and link them all together as one character.....

[Mary Alice approaches the nurse’s station with a file folder. A younger Felicia Tilman is talking to a nurse who is looking at a calendar at the desk.]
Nurse: "What a lovely calendar. Was this taken around here?"
Felicia: "Oh, no. That's way out in Fairview. I have family there. Isn't it idyllic?"

That was the opening scene for the season finale of 'Desperate Housewives' back in May. It was a flashback to sixteen years ago; before Mary Alice killed herself in Fairview. And if you hadn't guessed yet, Shirley Jordan played the Nurse.

The Nurse didn't know that calendar scene wasn't in the Los Angeles area, because she had only recently moved out there. During the 1980s, she lived in Pine Valley where she worked at the local hospital. During one of her shifts, she helped remove a bullet from Palmer Cortlandt. ('All My Children')

After getting her credentials and resume updated by working at that women's health clinic, she then went to work at Community General. She was working in the emergency room there in 1996 when a noted cardiologist committed a murder. ('Diagnosis Murder')

It could be that Community General was also the same hospital where a member of the Forrester Family was brought in, after he drove his car over a cliff. As a trauma nurse, she helped save the life of one of the leading figures in L.A.'s world of high fashion. ('The Bold & The Beautiful')

Although Shirley filmed a scene with Vivica Fox for 'City of Angels' back in 1999, in which she again played a nurse, it was edited out of the final version. So since it was never broadcast, it can't be included. And that's a shame, because her nurse character had a name in that one - Eloise Martin.

If we were able to use that as her name, it's quite possible then that we'd know the last name of Phoebe Buffay's first OB-GYN back in New York City, when she was pregnant with her half-brother's triplets in 1998. Trust me, it's a long story, but one with free porno! ('Friends')

It's my belief that both the Nurse and the Doctor were twins who lived near each other in New York state; one in Manhattan, the other in Pine Valley. I don't have any theories as to why the Nurse would have left for the West Coast near the end of the 1980s, but I don't think it was due to any enmity between the twin sisters.

That's because by the dawn of the new Millennium, both of the sisters were living in Chicago. There, the Nurse worked in a homeopathic clinic for cancer patients to support them both while the Doctor went back to school to change her area of study. ('Andy Richter Controls The Universe')

She was obviously a quick learner, because by 2002, she had gone to work as an analyst for the IDC. ('ER') But she also continued to practice medicine, as she was the attending physician who treated Mary-Kate and Ashley Burke after a brawl at a Chicago hockey game. ('Two Of A Kind')

Once her sister was re-established in her new profession, the Nurse headed back to Los Angeles and worked for a short time as a nurse in a high school. ('So Little Time') But she must have finally felt homesick and headed back East. There she got a job as an assisted-living nurse at a nursing home in the town of Harmony. ('Passions')

And that's where we stand at the moment with those two medical professionals.

As for the woman who played them......

Shirley Jordan is one of my dearest friends; my soul's twin as I used to say. And I'm so thankful she answered my casting call for a scene I was directing back in college. That's how we met, too many years ago for either of us to mention.

And this week, she celebrates her birthday. Soooooo.....


HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SHIRLEY!

Notable TV Guest Appearances
"Monk" playing "Second Reporter" in episode: "Mr. Monk Gets Fired" (episode # 3.4) 16 July 2004
"ER" playing "IDC Analyst" in episode: "Chaos Theory" (episode # 9.1) 26 September 2002
"The District" playing "Sandra Rooney" in episode: "Shades of Gray" (episode # 2.18) 20 April 2002
"Andy Richter Controls the Universe" playing "Nurse" in episode: "Gimme a C" (episode # 1.5) 16 April 2002
"Ally McBeal" playing "Nancy Sosha" in episode: "Blowin' in the Wind" (episode # 5.9) 14 January 2002
"Yes, Dear" playing "Woman" in episode: "The Ticket" (episode # 2.5) 22 October 2001
"CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" playing "Deputy" in episode: "Evaluation Day" (episode # 1.22) 10 May 2001
"The West Wing" playing "FBI Receptionist" in episode: "Somebody's Going to Emergency, Somebody's Going to Jail" (episode # 2.16) 28 February 2001
"Angel" playing "Internal Affairs Woman" in episode: "Reprise" (episode # 2.15) 20 February 2001
"Judging Amy" playing "Aunt Billie" in episode: "Waterworld" (episode # 2.8) 19 December 2000
"Malcolm & Eddie" playing "Jackie" in episode: "Radio Daze" (episode # 4.17) 20 March 2000 and in episode: "Clubbed" (episode # 4.4) 27 September 1999
"Friends" playing "The Doctor" in episode: "The One with the Free Porno" (episode # 4.17) 26 March 1998
"Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman" playing "Cop" in episode: "Meet John Doe" (episode # 4.14) 2 March 1997
"Diagnosis Murder" playing "Nurse" in episode: "Murder Can Be Murder" (episode # 4.7) 24 October 1996
"General Hospital" (1963) TV Series .... Kate Wilkerson (1994)

BCnU!
Tele-Toby

1 comment:

Shirley Jordan said...

WOW!

Toby,

You are absolutely amazing! I'm completely stunned by the amount of work and effort and time which you put into writing the piece. It's quite possibly the best birthday present I've ever gotten in my entire life. (And I do mean that.) I sat and cried when I finished reading because the sentiment and the honor touched me so deeply.

Thank you for being my friend all these years and even more for being my twin.

I love you, Toby~
Shirley