George Clooney Says 'ER' Made His Life 'More Complicated' (Video)
George Clooney has come a long way since he was an actor on TV shows like the The Facts of Life, The Golden Girls and Friends. He's now an Oscar winner (best supporting actor for Syrianna), director (Good Night, and Good Luck, The Ides of March) and through his Smokehouse Pictures shingle, producer of such diverse fare as Memphis Beat, Michael Clayton and The American.
Clooney was also recently the subject of a tribute at the Telluride Film Festival, and participated in a Q&A discussion moderated by THR chief film critic Todd McCarthy.
When asked whether he could remember the moment when he turned the corner to fame, Clooney recalled, "I was walking through the streets of New York half way through the first season of ER, and I'd been on a lot of TV shows so people would kind of recognize me, 'It's that guy from that thing,' And I remember walking down the streets in Manhattan and them going, 'Hey George,' and they knew your name as opposed to your character.
"I remember that was a moment where I thought, 'Things have changed.' "
He added that there was no turning back from that point on, "Nobody wants to hear anybody complain, so I don't do it. I don't believe in it. But it did become very different, more complicated."
He said ER's popularity cannot be overestimated, "People talk about numbers when you talk about American Idol or whatever the big one is -- 16, 17 million people. We were averaging 40 million people at 10 o'clock at night with an hour show. That made a huge difference in my career. It really changed things."
Another blast from Clooney's TV past? Having Rosanne Barr come on to him while he was on her sitcom. Clooney said, "The first season of Roseanne was pretty fun. The first time I met her she's like, 'You're really good looking. Why don't you take me behind the stage and make me stink?' "
He added that he enjoyed work schedule on TV comedies, "When you do a sitcom it's the easiet hours in the world. You work four days a week and you come in at 10 and you're done at five most of the time."