By Luaine Lee
McClatchy-Tribune News Service.
Actress Kellie Martin was celebrating the best role she’d ever had. Even though she’d starred on shows like “Christy” and “Life Goes On,” she was costarring on “ER,” a cosmic hit on television. But Martin’s character was soon to be obliterated.
“I took a break from college to do ‘ER,’ for a year and a half and then my character was going to die a terrible death,” she says over an English muffin in a cafe here, “which was actually such an honor to be killed off. After I left ‘ER’ I decided to go back to college. I had to re-apply, and got in again.”
She’d left Yale between her junior and senior year. By the time she returned she was 25 and married, a coed who’d spent most of her life on sound stages.
“Of all the things I’ve done in my life, graduating from college is probably up there with giving birth to my child as one of the things I’m most proud of,” she says. “It was so hard for me to do, it was really, really hard.”
It was so trying because during that time she lost her beloved younger sister to lupus.
And though she was a seasoned professional, she knew little about life. “(Child actors) are very mature and wise in a lot of ways because they have to be little professionals,” she says. “Yet I feel like, at least in my case, there was a certain arrested development.
“I didn’t know how to talk to a kid my own age. There’s a lot of things I wasn’t capable of handling. I’m still terrible with money. Thank God I’m married to my husband … I didn’t know how to do my laundry when I got to college. There were certain things I didn’t know how to do because I was a professional little actor. So I had to learn how to do all that.”