Close-up: Patricia Heaton |


Close-up: Patricia Heaton

In ABC's ''Room for Two,'' the actress lets her witty side blossom

When she made her first acting mark as Nancy’s cancer doctor on thirtysomething, Patricia Heaton didn’t feel much like bringing her dialogue home to her husband, British actor David Hunt. ”’Nancy, your hair is going to fall out. Nancy, we have to take your ovaries.’ At least once I wanted to say, ‘Nancy, you’re never going to play the violin again,”’ says Heaton, 32. Now she can indulge her wicked wit as the uptight daughter on ABC’s Room for Two, trading quips and barbs with Linda Lavin. ”I love to laugh,” Heaton says. ”It’s better for your health.”

The daughter of Chuck Heaton, a popular Cleveland sportswriter, she started college with a journalism major but ”began thinking I was on the wrong side of the tape recorder.” Though Heaton has logged some varied experiences in her time, including working as a shoe model and as a copy clerk at People, she worried she lacked the background for her new role: ”I was scared to tell the producers I didn’t have a mom — she died when I was 12 — since the show is about a mother-daughter relationship,” she says. ”But Linda said, ‘Relax, I don’t have any children.’ You could say we’re both completely faking it.”