Melina Kanakaredes .... Dr. Sydney Hansen
Mike Farrell .... Dr. Jim Hansen
Paula Cale .... Joanie Hansen
Seth Peterson .... Robbie Hansen
Concetta Tomei .... Lynda Hansen
Melina is a second-generation Greek-American who was born and raised in Akron, Ohio, as the youngest of three
sisters. Her retired father was an insurance salesman and her mother is a homemaker. Growing up, she spent many
hours in her family's candy store.
She began singing locally with her sisters and made her acting debut at 8 years old in a community theater
production of "Tom Sawyer." In high school, she would troop over to the all-boys Jesuit school to work
on stage ("They really needed girls for their plays."). She was a runner-up in the Miss Ohio beauty
Kanakaredes attended Ohio State University to study music, dance and theater, but the lack of unity between the
theater and music departments prompted her to opt for a conservatory education. She transferred to Point Park
College in Pittsburgh, which was affiliated with the Pittsburgh Playhouse, and she soon appeared in commercials,
industrial films and on stage at the Pittsburgh Playhouse and Pittsburgh Public Theatre. She graduated magna cum
laude with a bachelor of fine arts in theater and moved to New York City, where she supported her acting dreams by
working on a dinner boat and in off-Broadway plays.
Eventually, Kanakaredes was spotted by a William Morris agent, and from 1991-95, she portrayed Greek immigrant
Eleni Andros Cooper and earned two Emmy nominations in the daytime drama "The Guiding Light." This led
to being cast in a recurring role as Jimmy Smits’ girlfriend in "NYPD Blue." In 1995 she co-starred in
the drama series "New York News" and was a co-lead in the drama "Leaving L.A." She
guest-starred in "The Practice" and "Oz," as well as in the television movie "Saint
Maybe." Her feature films include the recent "Rounders," "Dangerous Beauty" and "The
Long Kiss Goodnight."
Known for researching her projects, she visited a coroner's office for "Leaving L.A." and plastic
surgeons for "Providence." She was cast for "Providence" without an audition and the other
members of the cast were chosen on the basis of their chemistry with her.
Last summer, Kanakaredes starred opposite Robert DeNiro in "Fifteen Minutes." The film is scheduled for
release by New Line in 2000.
Away from the set, Kanakaredes enjoys visiting her family in Ohio, reading, swimming, working out with the Pilates
system, traveling (especially to Greece), listening to James Taylor, and is a sports fan of the Cleveland Indians
and Chicago Bulls.
She met her husband, Peter Constantinides, a professional chef, at Ohio State in Sigma Epsilon Phi, a group for
Greek-American students. Her extended family is so large that she and her husband invited 550 guests to their 1992
wedding. The couple reside in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley.
Her birthday is April 23, 1967.
Few actors can claim the distinction of starring in a television series or critically and commercially
successful as "M*A*S*H," but far fewer ever choose to commit themselves to the human rights and public
service causes that are activist Mike Farrell's passion.
"It's all about valuing people," says Farrell, who was named Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations
High Commissioner for Refugees after trips to Bosnia and Somalia. "Most of us are trying to make the world
into the place we want, deserve and expect it to be. But things don't just happen for the better if you sit back
and do nothing."
Farrell was born in South St. Paul, Minnesota, and moved with his family to West Hollywood when he was 2. His
father worked as a studio carpenter and his classmates included Natalie Wood, Ricky Nelson and other celebrities
of the age, but he was then too shy to pursue acting. After high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Marines, and once
discharged, a buddy confronted him about his itch to act and took him to workshops.
It was a defining moment for Farrell. Slowly, he picked up work (including a brief line in "The
Graduate"), but his first breakthrough came as a cast regular on NBC's "Days of Our Lives." Two
years later, he co-starred on "The Interns" series followed by another role in "The Man and the
City" (starring Anthony Quinn) in 1971. After working under contract to Universal, he began his 1975-83 stint
as Captain B.J. Hunnicut in "M*A*S*H."
Farrell now co-owns a TV/film production company. Among his TV movies, he co-produced "Memorial Day;"
starred in "Choices of the Heart," "Vanishing Act," "Vows of Seduction" and
"Private Sessions;" directed "Run Till You Fall;" and produced and starred in "Incident
at Dark River," "The Whereabouts of Jenny" and "Sins of the Mind." Among his feature
films, he produced "Dominick and Eugene" and the recent "Patch Adams." He portrayed President
John Kennedy in PBS' "JFK – A One-Man Show," toured in the one-man play "Clarence Darrow"
and hosted many wildlife TV specials.
Farrell's charitable endeavors include serving as the spokesperson for CONCERN/America, an international refugee
aid and development organization, co-chair of Human Rights Watch in California and board president of Death
Penalty Focus. He is a member of the California State Commission on Judicial Performance.
In Farrell's first regular series in 16 years, he plays a veterinarian whose relationship with his grown children
changes when his wife dies. "He's one of those quiet men who have more strength than they realize," he
says. "But he let his own desires be sublimated because of his wife's assertiveness, and now he's undergoing
a metamorphosis." Farrell, who has two adult children, is married to actress Shelley Fabares. He enjoys
reading and cross-country motorcycling.
His birthday is February 6, 1939.
Paula had given herself five years to prove her worth as an actress. After starring in the comedy series
"Buddies" and "Local Heroes," and recurring as McGovern, an MTV-ish reporter in "Murphy
Brown," her five-year plan is looking pretty successful. Nonetheless, she first hesitated when asked to
audition for the drama "Providence."
"I came from a comedy background," says Cale. "But after I read the pilot script, I realized that
the roles I played on Broadway (including Gilda Radner in 'Bunny, Bunny') had a mix of humor and drama that were
very similar to my character of Joanie."
Cale was born and raised in Great Falls, Virginia, 10 miles outside of Washington, D.C. Her father, now a top
Capitol Hill lobbyist, worked as a congressional liaison during the Nixon and Ford presidential administrations,
and her mother was a homemaker and chairwoman of the Fairfax County school board. The youngest of three children,
Cale put aside her interest in theater to study teaching at Vanderbilt University.
After one year Cale transferred to Chicago's prestigious Goodman School of Theatre (now known as The Theatre
School), where she won a scholarship to study drama. "Coming from a conservative Republican household, my
parents had hoped I would become a teacher," she says. "But they've become very supportive of me."
It was then that Cale vowed to succeed in five years, but she didn't have to wait long. She originated the role of
Suzanne in the Steppenwolf Theatre production of Steve Martin's "Picasso at the Lapin Agile" and came to
Los Angeles with the production in 1995. While performing, Candice Bergen spotted her and later offered Cale the
recurring role of McGovern.
Soon after, Cale was starring in two different comedies on two different networks simultaneously. She played a
sassy waitress in "Local Heroes" and portrayed the neurotic wife of comedian Dave Chappelle in
"Buddies." She then went to New York to appear in "Night of the Iguana" on Broadway and
followed that with her favorite role as Gilda Radner in "Bunny, Bunny." When she returned to Los
Angeles, she guest-starred in two episodes each of NBC's "The Naked Truth" (as Tea Leoni's sister) and
Cale weaves both comedic and dramatic elements in her character of an unwed mother in "Providence."
"As I told the producers, Joanie is a lot like me," she says. "She's full of emotion, shoots from
the hip and is very straightforward. She doesn't use her mind as much as her heart, and that sometimes gets her
Off the set, Cale performs volunteer work for her church and also enjoys puttering in her flower garden, watching
sports and taking as many as three bubble baths a day. She also vows to return to teaching elementary school
sometime in the future. She and her husband, a financial planner and musician, live in Los Angeles.
Her birthday is June 2, 1970.
Much like his newest alter ego, Seth Peterson confesses to a streak of mischief in his youth that faded when he
channeled his bad-boy energies into acting, which served him well during the audition for the
"Both Robbie and I are wily rascals, but we have good hearts," says Peterson, who might be best known to
moviegoers as the trigger-happy helicopter pilot who was swallowed by the title character in last summer's
"Godzilla." "I think they cast me because I'm a bit of a rascal, it comes through. But I've mended
my ways since I was in my teens; I got into acting as an art form and it made me look at my life and the guys I
was hanging around with."
Peterson, an only child, was born in the Bronx and bounced back-and-forth between Brooklyn and Los Angeles in his
early years. His father was a high school mathematics teacher and his mother is a former actress who became a
paralegal (he now has a half-sister). His mother performed at the Colony Theater in Echo Park, California, and he
enjoyed his days there so much that he returned after he left high school in Hollywood.
Peterson studied, appeared in local equity waiver theater and worked as a part-time office temp, followed by a
stint in a bank's human resources department. "I just kept plugging away," he recalls. "I was into
playing the intense, brooding kind of guy. But after I took a 'cold-reading' class (designed to help actors who
have no time to prepare but must instantly read for auditions), I experienced a change in attitude. It gave me
more accessibility and practical knowledge than you'd ever get from a Method acting class. I learned that acting
is a business like anything else; you just don't show up with good hair."
The approach resulted in more guest-starring roles for Peterson over the last few years in such series as "Arsenio,"
"Clueless," "Relativity," "Beverly Hills, 90210" and NBC's "Profiler" (in
different roles over two seasons). In addition to "Godzilla," his feature film credits are "Can't
Hardly Wait" and the upcoming independent "Dumped." However, he considers his favorite role to date
to be Billy Bibbett in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" at the Garden Pavilion in Los Angeles.
In his leisure time, Peterson prefers to play basketball and chess, swim, play his guitar and is a loyal Los
Angeles Lakers basketball fan. He resides in the west San Fernando Valley.
His birthday is August 16, 1970.
After teaching in a Milwaukee suburb for four years, Concetta Tomei decided that it was "now or never"
and reluctantly told her adoring students that it was time for her to pursue her childhood interest in acting -- a
bold career choice which she credits to the support of her father, a retired policeman and accomplished artist,
and her mother, an avid reader.
Tomei, an only child, was born and raised in Kenosha, Wisconsin. She hails from a long line of educators and
enrolled at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where she earned a bachelor of science degree in education.
She gained entrance to the prestigious Goodman School of Drama in Chicago, where she received a bachelor of fine
arts in theater arts three years later.
Tomei served an apprenticeship at the Alley Theatre in Houston and appeared elsewhere in Chicago and Canada in
such regional and repertory theater classics as "A Streetcar Named Desire" (as Blanche DuBois), "Candida"
and "Blithe Spirit." She moved to New York where she received critical acclaim on Broadway in "The
Elephant Man" (as Mrs. Kendal, a role she reprised while touring with David Bowie), "Noises Off"
and "Goodbye Fidel." She also starred off-Broadway in Tommy Tune's "Cloud Nine" and in Joseph
Papp's Public Theatre productions of "Fen," "A Private View," "The Normal Heart"
(creating the role of Dr. Bruckner opposite Brad Davis) and "Richard III" (with Kevin Kline), for which
she won the St. Clair Baysfield Shakespeare Award for her performance as Queen Elizabeth.
After relocating to Los Angeles, Tomei began a prolific television career which included her favorite role as
Major Lila Garreau in "China Beach," as well as regular roles in other series such as "Madman of
the People" and "Max Headroom." She also had recurring roles in "Murphy Brown" (as Jim
Dial's wife), "Picket Fences," "Lush Life," NBC's "L.A. Law" and "Wings,"
and guest-starred in "Touched By an Angel," "Star Trek Voyager," "Ellen" and NBC's
"Sisters," to name a few. Among her movies are "In Love and War," "The Betty Ford
Story" and "Murder in Three Acts."
Tomei's feature film credits include "Deep Impact," "Out to Sea," "Don't Tell Mom the
Babysitter's Dead" and "Twenty Bucks." She can be seen this fall in "The Muse," directed
by and starring Albert Brooks.
Now, as a chain-smoking matriarch (Tomei, a non-smoker, is quick to note that she uses herbal cigarettes in the
series) who converses with her daughter from somewhere in the afterlife, Tomei finds that her alter ego is indeed
larger-than-life. "She's a lioness who is loving and passionately protective of her family -- even though
she's a control freak."
Away from the set, Tomei enjoys reading, walking, yoga and traveling. She and her husband, an attorney and
businessman, reside in Los Angeles.
Her birthday is December 30, 1945.
Biographies courtesy National Broadcasting Company and People Weekly.