- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 30, 1999

NEW YORK
Jenny McCarthy is full of surprises.
She reads spiritual books, dyes her dogs' fur pink and blue and loves reality television, especially "Trauma: Life in the ER" on the Learning Channel. Most surprising, perhaps, is the switch from her signature blond locks to a decidedly darker shade.
"I'm willing to take risks and not hold back, and that's what makes me free and sometimes comical," Miss McCarthy says, her new jet-black hair swept up on top of her head.
Miss McCarthy, known for her comedic roles, plays a prostitute in "Diamonds," which stars Kirk Douglas, Dan Aykroyd and Corbin Allred. The film is about three generations of one family making peace with one another.
It's a part Miss McCarthy, a former Playboy Playmate and MTV game-show host, almost didn't play because her manager turned it down without reading the script, fearing she was again being typecast as a brainless beauty.
But Miss McCarthy, 27, saw the potential.
"I've learned to read everything. I read this once, and I knew it was the first opportunity I've had to show that there is a little bit more to me," she says.
Also, she adds, how could she pass up a chance to work with a legend like Mr. Douglas?
"At first I was terrified of being in the same room with him, but after a few hours I just started to learn a lot," she says.
Miss McCarthy says she most admires the 83-year-old Mr. Douglas for his ability to play a role with honesty and reality.
"I'm really expressive, and I have a tendency to be a little 'too big,' " Miss McCarthy says. "I'm so bubbly because I'm so excited to be there and be working.
"At home, I'm a little more mellow," she says, but "Diamonds" director John Asher shakes his head to disagree. The couple married in September, after the movie wrapped.
She has a development deal with 20th Century Fox that gives her final approval on the premise of a new TV show, unlike her failed NBC sitcom "Jenny," which Miss McCarthy concedes even she didn't think was funny.
Miss McCarthy, who will appear in the upcoming film "Scream 3," says she has no regrets about any of her career decisions. "It's how you grow. If you didn't have those experiences, you'd just stay the same. I love all the good and bad that's happened."
Q: "Diamonds" is about a family and how they relate to one another. Do you get along with your family?
A: I love them so much. We're very close. We're an Irish-Catholic family on the South Side of Chicago. I've learned that every family has its problems, so I can't say we're perfect, but we love each other so much. I talk to my mom three times a day. I need to hear her voice constantly, and then it doesn't feel like I left home. I'd do anything for them, and I've helped them tremendously.
The first thing I did, my first priority, was to completely take care of their debt because we grew up kind of lower-income. So my first check, I brought it home and said, "Get out all the bills," and I wrote checks for them. That was the best moment ever.
Q: The film also addresses first loves. Do you remember yours?
A: The name in the script originally was Julio, and I went to the director and said, 'I just don't feel anything.' I said it was going to take away from the beautiful story she's going to tell, and I asked if I could please use Tony because that was my high school sweetheart for five years.
Q: Is there one "true love" out there for everybody?
A: I do believe that there is more than one soul mate out there, but people sometimes don't find even one. I actually gave up looking and said, "Forget it," and then it just smacked me right in the face because there he was. And I knew it the moment that I met him. Then on the second day I knew him, I told him I loved him and that I was going to marry him.
Q: Has marriage changed you?
A: I can say it has changed me not a bit, which is great. And it hasn't changed him a bit, and that's exactly what I wanted. I think I was born to be domestic. I've always wanted to be the nurturer and clean the house and bake.
Every day I wake up going, "I'm so excited I get to spend the rest of my life with this man." And that's what marriage means, it means I've got him.
Q: Do people recognize you with black hair?
A: People come up to me and say, "Are you an actress?" And I say, "Yeah." And they say, "90210?" "No." Then they say, "Where?" And I say, "Friends Courtney Cox."

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