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Dr. Stable and Mr. Hip

Hector Elizondo may play a hospital chief of staff on TV, but in real life he's a cool cat.
Joe Rhodes
From the Print Edition:
Michael Richards, Sep/Oct 97

(continued from page 5)

Still, there are days when he looks forward to the end of the run of "Chicago Hope," when his schedule will be less regimented, his time more his own. The show, he admits, sometimes feels like factory work, closer to a 9-to-5 life than he ever thought he'd come. "It's too hard, 15 hours a day. Some actors love that, but I've changed my stripes over the years. I like my work, but I'm not obsessed with it." Even so, he is not yet ready to leave Phillip Watters behind.

"I love this character," he says. "He reminds me of my father. I like the fact that he still functions in spite of his feeling beleaguered. He's very close to my bones, 'cause in a time when people aren't too sure about anything, they can be sure about that guy. There are days when I think it's time to travel on, but on other days I realize I want to unpeel the onion some more."

There is a shimmer in his eyes, the beginnings of tears. "Yeah," he says. "I cry easily these days. I'm touched a lot by simple things. Before, I'd be introspective and contemplate things, but now, instead of sighing, I have a tendency to cry. I've crossed over.

"But you know what the poets say: 'Tears unshed are stones upon the heart.' "

And there is nothing to do but drink in the moment, sit back and simply whisper, "Cool."

Joe Rhodes is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and contributing editor at US magazine.

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