WYTHE CO., Va., July 26, 2012- Long before George Clooney was tying his scrubs as the handsome and caring Dr. Doug Ross on ER, Chad Everett was the original Dr. McDreamy, setting the standard for medical dramas to come, as Dr. Joe Gannon on Medical Center.
Mr. Everett, the ruggedly handsome star of the long running 70’s medical drama Medical Center, died Tuesday, January 24th, after a year and a half long battle with lung cancer. Mr. Everett was 76 (June 11, 1937 – July 24, 2012) and leaves behind daughters Katherine and Shannon, and six grandchildren.
He was married to actress Shelby Grant for 45 years until her death last year.
What set Medical Center apart from past medical dramas was Mr. Everett’s insistence that everything on the show be as authentic as possible. So important was accuracy to him there was always at least one technical advisor on the set during taping.
For seven years we listened and learned and appreciated the demystifying of medicine in general.
The show was also groundbreaking in the topics it addressed; alcoholism, transsexualism and homosexuality, and unfair insurance and hiring practices, just to name a few of the controversial subjects tackled by the show. Everett received Golden Globe nominations for his role as Dr Gannon in 1971 and 1973 and the show won a Golden Globe for best television series in 1970.
Born Raymon Lee Cramton, June 11, 1937, in South Bend, Indiana, Everett’s father was a mechanic and race-car driver. “Raymon” went into acting because he was easily bored and acting seemed to him to be a great way to vent many different emotions and avoid boredom in doing so. Hence a future star was born.
After moving to Hollywood his agent Henry Wilson renamed him Chad Everett, a welcome change because he was tired of people spelling his real name wrong.
Early in his career, he appeared in dozens of television shows and movies, including “The Singing Nun” (1966) and “Return of the Gunfighter” (1967).He also appeared as a guest star in more than forty television series such as Melrose Place, The Nanny, Touched by an Angel, Diagnosis: Murder, Caroline in the City, Murder, She Wrote, The Red Skelton Show, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., and Route 66.
He most recently appeared on the TV shows “Castle” and ”Supernatural.” In perhaps his most memorable recent film role, Mr. Everett played a lothario who engages in a steamy audition with a young ingenue portrayed by Naomi Watts in director David Lynch’s “Mulholland Drive.”
Despite his impressive career, I will always remember him as the sensitive and handsome doctor on Medical Center that my mother watched religiously every week. I suspect those blue eyes and rugged good looks had an effect, that had little to do with medicine, on a lot of women in America.
What would any of us give for the kind of doctor Chad Everett portrayed in this show so many years ago? He reflected an era of compassion, not only in medicine but in how we treat each other, that is long past.
As yet another of our baby boomer stars passes, I cannot help but be nostalgic for a time in television when “Snookie, the Kardashians, and Big Brother had no place in television programming.
Rest in peace Chad Everett, and give my mom a hug when you get to heaven. I bet I will hear her scream with happiness from here.
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