The show”Northern Exposure”, Cast, Pictures, and Trivia!
This series is about a Jewish doctor, Joel Fleischman, from New York City,
who after finishing his residency, has to work in the town of Cicely, Alaska (Cicely of course is a fictional town) for the next four years. The reason for this is because Joel has to repay a student loan that he received from the state of Alaska, so that he could attend medical school. Unfortunately, the city of Anchorage where he was supposed to fulfill his contractual obligation is full. He instead is given an alternative post in Cicely. As someone who has lived in a city and a fast-paced city at that, to have to move to this remote town with it’s somewhat strange inhabitants is sometimes a little tough to bear!
Joel Fleischman (Rob Morrow)-Joel Fleischman is a Jewish physician who is literally experiencing first hand, that feeling of being a “fish-out-of water”. Used to the hustle and bustle of a big city, he is unprepared for the solitude and feeling of a small town community that awaits him.
Maurice J. Minnifield (Barry Corbin)-Maurice is an ex-astronaut. He is proud, incredibly successful, manly, patriotic and a millionaire. He owns 15,000 acres of land locally, and is bound and determined to make the small and almost insignificant town of Cicely, into the next metropolis or the new “Alaskan Riviera”. He is also the owner of the local newspaper as well as the radio station, KBHR. And it was Maurice who made the arrangements for Dr. Joel Fleischman to be brought to their tiny town, which until then had not had the benefit of having a doctor residing there on a permanent basis.
Maggie O’Connell (Janine Turner)-Maggie is a former debutante who hails from Grosse Pointe, Michigan. Her family is Irish-American and rich. She is now a professional bush pilot working in the wilds of Alaska. Her past history with men is somewhat odd, in that every boyfriend she’s ever had has somehow died in a strange accident, leading her to believe that she may be cursed. When Fleischman arrives in Cicely, they develop a sort of love-hate type of relationship, but with a strong sexual undertone running through it.
Chris Stevens (John Corbett)-Chris works at the local radio station, KBHR as the disc jockey. An ex-convict who likes to offer his opinion on varied subjects, as well as things going on within the small town. And all usually done in between songs! Since he is a former prisoner, he had the opportunity to read extensively, which exposed him to many different writers and books, and something which he tries to pass on to the town while on the air. In addition to his job on the radio, he is also the only minister in Cicely.
Shelly Marie Tambo (Cynthia Geary)-Shelly is a former beauty pageant winner, brought to Cicely by former astronaut, Maurice, in the hopes that she would marry him. However, soon after her arrival, she instead fell for the owner of the local restaurant in town, Holling Vincoeur (John Cullum). Holling and Shelly, who are quite far apart in years, (44 to be exact) now, reside quite happily together above the restaurant, and Shelly works as the waitress.
Holling Vincoeur (John Cullum)-Holling is the owner of the “The Brick”, a restaurant and bar in the small town of Cicely. He lives there with his younger but perfect match, Shelly. He is a hunter originally from Canada, who later became a naturalized citizen. His best friend is Maurice, although their common interest in the same woman (Shelly) put a strain on their relationship. For a long time, Holling had determined that he was going to stay single forever, due to the fact that both his father and his grandfather had lived to be over 100 years old. Which of course sounds wonderful except for one thing, they spent most of their years alone, despite marrying younger women. But Shelly’s arrival changed his mind. Holling also serves as the town’s unelected mayor.
Ed Chigliak (Darren E. Burrows)-Ed is a half-Native Alaskan who was raised by the local Tlingits. He is a sweet, mellow man who has a tendency to speak before he thinks. He learned almost everything he knows about the world and everyday life from films. Most notably, from those of Federico Fellini and Woody Allen. He works at the general store part-time, and also does odd jobs now and then for Maurice. In addition to his jobs and his avid enthusiasm for movies, he is also a shaman-in-training. Because of the latter, he is on occasion, visited by both his own personal demon, “Low Self Esteem”, as “well as One-Who-Waits”, his invisible spirit guide.
Ruth-Anne Miller (Peg Phillips)-Ruth-Ann is the owner of the local general store in Cicely. She has been a resident of the town for the past thirty years, since moving from Portland, Oregon. She is a widow who always seems ready to listen to her customers whenever they need someone to talk to. She is known to be calm and reasonable, and therefore a good choice to help when sorting out a problem.
Marilyn Whirlwind (Elaine Miles)-Marilyn is Dr. Joel Fleischman’s Native American receptionist. She is always calm and never seems to get ruffled. She speaks very little, which is in strong contrast to her boss who never seems to stop talking or acting out in some way. On the rare occasions when she does actually say more than a few words or phrases, it is usually to offer some Native American kind of wisdom to a disturbed fellow resident in the form of a folk legend.
This show is funny but also realistic, as it shows quite effectively, what life might be like if you were taken out of your regular environment and dropped into a completely foreign one. Enjoyable and original, this show is a fine way to spend some time. I give it 7 out of 10.
Joel Fleischman-Rob Morrow
Maggie O’Connell-Janine Turner
Maurice J. Minnifield-Barry Corbin
Holling Vincoeur-John Cullum
Shelly Marie Tambo-Cynthia Geary
Chris Stevens-John Corbett
Ed Chigliak-Darren E. Burrows
Marilyn Whitehead-Elaine Miles
Ruth-Anne Miller-Peg Phillips
Recurring Cast Years
Dave the Cook-William J. White 1991-1994
Walt-Moultrie Patten 1993-1995
Hayden Keyes-James L. Dunn 1993-1995
Eugene-Earl Quewezance 1994-1995
Michelle Schodowski Capra-Teri Polo 1994-1995
Dr. Phillip Capra-Paul Provenza 1994-1995
Bernard Stevens-Richard Cummings Jr.1990-1995
Barbara Semanski-Diane Delano 1991-1995
Owen-George Barril 1993-1995
Rick Pederson-Grant Goodeve 1990-1992
Adam-Adam Arkin 1990-1995
Mike Monroe-Anthony Edwards 1992-1993
Gary-Gary Taylor 1990-1995
Ronald Arthur Bantz-Doug Ballard 1991-1995
Erick Reese Hillman-Don McManus 1991-1995
Gil Le Fleur-Bob Morrisey 1993-1994
Crow Flies Straight-Harry Pringle 1991-1995
Eve-Valerie Mahaffey 1991-1994
Leonard-graham Greene 1992-1993
Lester Haines-Apesanahkwat 1993-1995
Mrs. Whirlwind-Armenia Miles 1990-1993
Though it was supposed to be set in Alaska, the show was actually filmed in Roslyn, Washington.
Janine Turner has never been married but had dated many well-known men. Sylvester Stallone with whom she worked in the movie “Cliffhanger”, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Troy Aikman, Jerry Jones, Jr., and Alec Baldwin.
John Cullum (Holling Vincoeur) is not only a talented actor but is also incredibly skilled in the sport of tennis. He won the Southeastern Conference doubles championship in 1951 with partner, Bill Davis.
Peg Phillips (Ruth-Anne Miller), who wanted to act since she was four years old, started her professional acting career in her 60’s. Having spent most of her life as a wife, mother and accountant, once she did embark upon an acting career, it was quite lucrative.
Barry Corbin joined the United States Marine Corp at the age of 21 years old.
Elaine Miles, who plays Fleischman’s receptionist (Marilyn Whirlwind), got the part by total accident. Her mother, actress Armenia Miles, was there auditioning for the part of Marilyn, but they gave it to her daughter instead. However, Aremenia Miles did get a role on the show that of Marilyn’s mother. So, in the end, Elaine and Armenia Miles were mother and daughter both onscreen and off.
John Corbett (Chris Stevens) has been in a relationship with actress Bo Derek since 2002. They actually met on a blind date.
Rob Morrow (Joel Fleischman) plays a Jewish doctor on Northern Exposure, and is Jewish in real life as well.
Darren E. Burrows (Ed Chigliak) had to dye his naturally blonde hair black every two weeks for the entire run of the series.
After Rob Morrow left the show, Paul Provenza was hired to replace him as Joel Fleischman. This was later decided against so as not to estrange fans of Northern Exposure who were also fans of Morrow. Instead, Provenza was simply cast as a new doctor, Dr. Phillip Capra.
Barry Corbin (Maurice Minnifield) lost most of his hair to due to the condition alopecia areata, during the 1990’s.
John Corbett released a country music album in 2006. The album’s only single, “Good to Go”, went to #43 on the “Billboard Hot Country Songs” chart.
Although the town of Cicely is fictional, it is based on the real-life town of Talkeetna, Alaska.
During seasons 4 and 5, Rob Morrow and his reps spent a great deal of time trying to get a better contract, while periodically threatening his departure from the show. The producers’ solution to this problem was to lessen the amount of storylines given to the Fleischman character, while introducing new ones to the cast.
John Cullum has been married to his wife, Emily Frankel for 54 years.
Janine Turner (Maggie O’Connell) left home at the age of only fifteen to pursue a career in modeling.
In 1965, Barry Corbin’s only daughter, Shannon Ross was born. Her mother, who had a short-lived affair with him, gave up the child without telling him about the baby and without his knowledge or consent. She was adopted when she was just an infant. When Shannon was 26 years old in 1991, she found her birth mother which led to her finding her father, Corbin. Now she and her children live with him on his ranch near Fort Worth, Texas.
John Corbett came from his home state of West Virginia to California, and worked as a steel laborer for six years. He then injured his back and had to find a different career, so he started attending classes in drama.
Sadly, Peg Phillips died in 2002 from pulmonary disease at 84 years old. Very similar to her character Ruth-Anne on Northern Exposure, Phillips had been a smoker since an early age.
Barry Corbin was one of the actors considered for the role of former Texas Ranger, C.D. Parker. This role on “Walker, Texas Ranger” went instead to actor Noble Willingham.
The moose that was used in the opening sequence was named Mort.
Since the birth of her daughters, Olivia and Lyla, Cynthia Geary (Shelly Marie Tambo) is more of a stay-at-home mom, and only acts sporadically.
Darren E. Burrows was the son of actor Billy Drago, who starred with Clint Eastwood in the movie, “Pale Rider”.
Janine Turner spoke at the Republican National Convention in 2012.
John Corbett has starred in a total of five television series. Three of them, “Northern Exposure”, “Sex and the City”, and “United States of Tara” were all successes.
Many of the films that Barry Corbin has been in have required some time on a horse. Unlike other actors who have to have stunt doubles, Corbin is not one of them. Before acting ever became a part of his life, he won many competitions in what is called, cutting-horse. (Cutting-horse is where a horse and rider are judged upon how well they can remove one animal from a herd of cattle and keep it away for a small period of time.) He has also ridden in charity rodeos for years, and is well-known for his love of riding horses.
Strangely enough, the acting mentor of Janine Turner is Barry Corbin. Corbin and Turner of course worked on Northern Exposure together for six seasons.
Rob Morrow is on the Board of Directors of Project ALS, which is a group that is dedicated to financing the research that is vital, for finding a cure for this deadly disease. ALS is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, which is also referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease” as well. This is a fatal and horrible disease that affects nerve cells in both the brain and spinal cord. And when the brain can no longer control or initiate muscle movement because of the death of the motor neurons, it is only a matter of time until the death of the patient. This is because of the progressive degeneration of the motor neurons.
John Corbett, who played the vegetarian boyfriend of Nia Vardalos in the popular movie, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”, (2002) is also a vegetarian in real life. He also starred in the movie, “I Hate Valentine’s Day” in 2009 with Vardalos as well. In addition, he was the only one of the lead actors to turn down an offer to appear in the TV spinoff of the movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding. And was unable to be in the sequel to the movie, “My Big Fat Greek Life” in 2003, due to a prior acting commitment.