Hot Shots: Wendie Malick

Wendie Malick is at a bar, which is exactly where you'd expect her to be if you ever watched her as the boozy, beautiful Nina Van Horn on Just Shoot Me!, a role she played from 1997 to 2003 and for which she won a Golden Globe and two Emmy nominations. Only the "bar" she's at is Stormi's on Euclid, where the characters on Hot in Cleveland hang out. It's actually located on Stage 19 at the studio, and for the record, Malick's not drinking anything today. The 5-foot-10-inch actress began her career as a model but moved to Los Angeles, where she has worked steadily since the early 1980s, including guest appearances on Kate & Allie, Baywatch, Seinfeld and Frasier. Now 60, she's hilarious as the beautiful — and a tad boozy — soap opera star Victoria Chase on Hot in Cleveland.

Ohio ties: Born in Buffalo, N.Y., Malick attended Ohio Wesleyan University. "It ended up being such a happy four years," she says. "I still have good friends. We still get together once a year — kind of our Big Chill moment."

What her Ohio friends say about the show: "They're so happy that they're on the map again, even if we sort of make fun of the Midwest."

Unlikely internship: Malick moved to Washington, D.C., after college to work with Congressman Jack Kemp, who had been a longtime family friend from his days as the Buffalo Bills quarterback.

How she's a mother-in-law — sort of — to her co-star: Jane Leeves played Daphne on Frasier. Daphne married Niles. Niles' father, Marty, married Ronee, who was played by Malick.

That voice: Malick perfected her snooty arch delivery at an early age. Her mother would invite ladies over to play cards, and Malick would watch. "They were all very dramatic," she says. "They all had very droll, dry senses of humor." One day, she showed the group her imitation of them. It was a hit.

No heels at home: Malick's favorite thing to do is put on boots and jeans and ride one of her three horses in the hills around her home in the Santa Monica Mountains. "I'm pretty down to earth," she says. "I'm a tomboy at heart."

A little like Nina: Some time ago, Malick realized that, to stay thin, she would have to choose between sweets or the occasional glass of wine. She hasn't had a cupcake since.

On her co-stars: "It's like playing tennis with great people. Everybody hits the ball back here. The idea of having four women in a cast could be deadly, [but] we're just here to make each other look good."

What she likes about Hot in Cleveland: "There are so few shows out there that are about women. On this show, men come and visit and then have to go home."

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