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Point Park grad plays President's wife on 'That's My Bush!"

Wednesday, May 23, 2001

By Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor

On Comedy Central, Carrie Quinn Dolin plays the standard-issue sitcom wife, a woman who's smarter than her husband but loves him anyway. There's just one twist: Dolin doesn't play just any sitcom wife, she's first lady Laura Bush in "That's My Bush!"

Carrie Quinn Dolin, who portrays Laura Bush on Comedy Central's "That's My Bush!" says she has "found a lot of things shocking from the very first episode." (Ron P. Jaffe)

The series ends its first short season tonight at 10:30 on Comedy Central.

Dolin, who grew up in Huntington, W.Va., and graduated from Point Park College in 1983 with a degree in dance, got her biggest break yet when she was cast in this satire of TV sitcoms from "South Park" creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone.

As Laura, Dolin puts faux Texas twang to good use and has helmet hair to match.

"It is my hair, but that's not the way I normally wear it," she said. "It takes lots and lots of product and lots of teasing, and, voila, helmet head."

On the series, Dolin's Laura has been trapped in a bathroom with raw sewage, fallen down drunk, and misunderstood George's complaints about their stinky cat (she thought he was talking about her).

"There's not been anything I've said no to, but I found a lot of things shocking from the very first episode," Dolin said. The premiere featured a fetus puppet as an anti-abortion activist. "Being with the fetus, oh please! And then we found out the fetus was in our bed at the end of the episode. It's certainly shocking, but all for the good of art."

Dolin said she hasn't been overly concerned about playing a character based on a real-life person. She and co-star Timothy Bottoms, who plays President Bush, were invited to the White House Correspondents' dinner, but they weren't able to make it.

Dolin hasn't met or spoken to Laura Bush, and the only time she's heard "That's MY Bush!" mentioned to the first lady was in an interview with Larry King.

"She said, 'Oh no, no, no, we don't watch that.' Of course, I find it hard to believe they're not at least curious about it," Dolin said.

Dolin watched tapes of Laura Bush before taking on the role and found Laura's body language more helpful in creating the character than her voice.

"Watching her sitting next to George during a Barbara Walters interview gave me a lot of insight into what they're really like," Dolin said. "They're very much enamored of one another. ... Her smile, the way she listened. She nods quite a bit. Her nonverbal behavior told me more than what she actually had to say."

After leaving Pittsburgh, Dolin appeared in an off-Broadway production of "Cabaret" in New York. In 1991, she moved to Los Angeles and worked as an extra on TV shows and in films and has been active in theater, sitting on the board of directors at the Attic Theatre Company. It's also where she met her fiance, James Carey (not the rubber-faced superstar), whom she'll marry next month.

Dolin is waiting to hear whether "That's My Bush!" will be renewed for a second season, and she realizes she may be faced with a big decision if the program is still on the air when the next presidential election comes around. Will she vote for a Democratic challenger or try to keep her series on the air by voting for Bush?

"I've got to tell you," she said, "it will be a tough choice for me."

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