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October 11, 2007

What's Up, Doc?

Kate Walsh

Kate Walsh

Photo Credit: Mark Abrahams

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Says Shonda Rhimes, creator and executive producer of both Grey's and Private Practice, "She's like this 1940s movie star, an old-fashioned can-do girl. She can play anything, from the goofiest, 'poison oak on the va-jay-jay' plotline to the most wrenching, 'this baby is going to die.' I discovered I had endless stories to write for her. Grey's is mainly about young people starting their careers. I realized Kate could anchor a show about people 10 years down the line — what happens if they didn't achieve their dreams, or if they did?"

It's a question Walsh herself now faces: Along with leaving a guaranteed hit to launch a series whose success or failure will lie with her, she's getting married three weeks from the day we meet to Alex Young, a co-president of film production at 20th Century Fox. And she's moving — into the Spanish-style hilltop house they bought together, in L.A.'s upscale-funky Los Feliz neighborhood — today.

Is Walsh frazzled or distracted? "No, she's present," says Amy Brenneman, who plays Oceanside's psychiatrist. "She appreciates [this success] for the ride that it is, but doesn't take it too seriously. She's the anti-diva."

Breezing into the lounge at the Regent Beverly Wilshire, where she's staying during the move, Walsh wears a white eyelet baby-doll top, jeans, and sandals, and calls out, "Hello!" from halfway across the room. Addison spends a lot of time clenching her jaw and pursing her lips. In person, Walsh looks friendlier, less angular. Her only makeup is a touch of mascara, and her smooth skin is tanned from a recent trip with her fiancé to Bora Bora. She's a game conversationalist, punctuating her sentences with little "yeahs," like Diane Keaton in Annie Hall.

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