Nametag Roles

badgesIn my living room, I have a dish filled with name badges from many of the roles I’ve played over the years.  I’m not always able to talk the props department out of parting with them or there would be more.  (I don’t, for instance, have the nice gold metal one I wore to play a prison guard at Alcatraz on the series Dangerous Minds.)

Many times, these badges are worn by nurses–I’ve played a lot of nurses in my time.  (Ironic, as my mother happens to be a real nurse.)  Some favorites have included various nurses on Ghost Whisperer, including one who helped Melinda (Jennifer Love Hewitt) give birth to a litter of naked cats in a dream sequence.  I have one from a psychiatric hospital in the film Good Burger, one I wore in a couple of episode of Desperate Housewives, and one I wore as a home health nurse in a quirky little film called Love Comes to the Executioner.

The badge I wore as a hotel worker in Krippendorf’s Tribe identified me as Kim Gravnik; rumor has it that was the director’s sister’s name.  I have a badge from one of the many cafeteria ladies I’ve played, Miss Poupiepenz, who worked in food services on Sabrina the Teenage Witch.  I’ve even got the badge I wore in my first-ever union movie, the memorable classic, Mannequin II: On the Move.

I have a badge with a very unattractive period photo of me that I wore to play the receptionist at the Pan Am Building in Steven Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can; in that scene, I got to play with Leonard DiCaprio.  I also have a badge I wore for six weeks, playing the bank manager who is taken hostage by a team of robbers that included Sean Patrick Flanery, Dean Cain, Andy Dick, Luke Wilson, and Drew Barrymore, in Tamra Davis’ Best Men.

I didn’t wear a badge to play the nurse who helped lock up Christine Collins (Angelina Jolie), the same nurse who later saved her from electroshock therapy, in Clint Eastwood’s Changeling.  In that film, I wore a family heirloom instead: a Red Cross watch on a retractable chain that belonged to some distant relative.  I’m not sure I had anything at all to identify me as the nurse who wheeled Steve Martin to an unexpected prostate exam in Father of the Bride II.

My “name badge roles” haven’t always been prominent appearances, but each badge in that jar holds good memories of an interesting project and amazing people.  I treasure my little pin-on collection.