In the new season, Dr. Austin is going a mission to outer space. Lahti says: It's a one-time deal for her. She's not going to become an astronaut for life. She really is attracted to huge challenges. She loves to bust up boys' clubs. I think that part of the world is still pretty much male dominated. She loves new frontiers."
Lahti recalls a time when, as a struggling actress, she performed as a mime in New York's Central Park: "I was waitressing, couldn't get a job as an actress, so my girlfriend and I went to Central Park one day. We had this brainstorm. She played the clarinet, I put the white face on. We made $3.50. We shared it, 50/50. The problem was no one was in the park. It was already starting to snow and no one watched."
But there was never really a desire to do anything else: "I think I was born to act. I always had this fever. I don't really know. Now I could say, 'well, I'm going to direct,' because I love directing, I have discovered this late in life. So, thank God I have something to fall back on."
Lahti won an Oscar for her directorial debut: a short film called Lieberman In Love. She calls it "completely embarrassing because I have so much to learn as a director. First time out of the gate - got the old guy. That was pretty encouraging."
As for the 100th episode of Chicago Hope, Lahti says there will be some surprises: "Peter MacNichol comes back, Mandy Patinkin, Roxanne Hart. A reunion deal. Peter MacNichol's character was killed off in the first season. I don't want to say how he comes back."
Lahti won a Golden Globe for Best Actress, but was in the ladies room at the moment her award was announced. The audience waited two minutes for her to receive the award. Lahti says this was good publicity but totally unplanned: "The truth was, in the program my category was toward the very end of the evening. What I didn't realize is they were jumping all over and didn't go in order, so I thought I had plenty of time. I'm just grateful I wasn't in the men's room because I nearly went there because the line for the ladies room is always so long."
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