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Julianna Margulies on the Pressure That Comes With Being a ‘Sunshine Girl,’ Leaving ER, and Whether She’d Go On The View Now

julianna marguiles

Spoiler alert: She’s not opposed.

Over the course of her impressive career, Julianna Margulies has starred on some wildly popular television shows. She played nurse Carol Hathaway on the definitive medical drama, ER. She starred as the disgraced politician’s wife, Alicia Florrick, in The Good Wife. And coming this September she’ll be joining the stellar cast of The Morning Show.

The award-winning actress and producer is now starring in her own story, by way of her memoir. Margulies is taking a look at the impact of her nomadic childhood and upbringing in her memoir Sunshine Girl: An Unexpected Life.

Margulies is the latest guest on Next Question with Katie Couric. Read some of the highlights below before diving into the episode.

Julianna Margulies on the weight of being a ‘sunshine girl

“The title of the book Sunshine Girl was a nickname my mother gave me when I was little because she said I was always a ray of sunshine. When I walked in a room I made people happy. I smiled, I never cried as a baby. I was easy. And I wore that like a badge of honor because I realized that I needed to lighten up situations that felt very heavy and beyond my grasp. In the book, I talk about how that actually crippled me as an adult, because when you grow up with a name like ‘sunshine girl’ how are you ever going to say, ‘No, I don’t like that,’ ‘No that doesn’t work for me,’ or ‘This doesn’t feel good’ when you get older? You just sort of learn to grin and bear it and pray that everyone else is happy.”

Margulies on what she learned from her time at ER

“In the beginning, I didn’t really, I couldn’t grasp it. I went from zero to a hundred in such a short amount of time. To go from being a struggling actress to being all over the world on a show everyone’s talking about is — I still have a hard time believing it, even though I know it happened. And I know I was a part of it. I’m still in awe that I was a part of it. It was an amazing time and it was an amazing group of people to be with. I felt like I was a real newbie. So I learned from the best and I watched and I listened and I learned. I am so grateful for the discipline of that show because it taught me how to really work hard and not ever complain again, because once you’ve done a medical show, like ER, everything else is a piece of cake.”

Margulies on a possible ER reboot

“I mean, I think we all feel the same way, which is like, you can’t catch lightning in a bottle twice. That show was on for 15 years. And I got to be a part of the first six. I just don’t know how you would reboot something. It was that good. And we’re also much older now. And, you know, I feel like, leave well enough alone and find something else.”

Margulies on being roasted by The View for her decision to leave ER

“You know, I’ve never been on the show, but the truth is I’d be happy to go on. And now, because I don’t care anyway, I could talk about it now and it doesn’t matter. But I know I never went on the show because I felt they showed such disrespect because no one bothered to ask me, they just made assumptions. And when I felt horrible, I called my father and I said, ‘dad, everyone’s laughing at me and making jokes and I just want to disappear. This is horrible.’ And he said, ‘well, honey, you turned down the American dream. So what they’re really upset about is they know that that wouldn’t have been their choice and it makes them angry. That that is your choice. Really it’s about them. It’s not about you, who doesn’t take that money.’…And I realized, I was like, right, this isn’t really about me at all. This is about their reaction to a choice I made. And, and you know, it wasn’t easy at first, but in time I really stopped caring what anyone thought. It’s my life. And I’ve had some amazing things come out of it.”

For more of their conversation, listen to the full episode now.

Find out more about Julianna’s memoir, Sunshine Girl: An Unexpected Life, and where to get your copy at Penguin Random House.

Katie and Julianna’s conversation was recorded by the Wilbur Theater in Boston, on behalf of Brookline Booksmith, as part of Julianna’s virtual book tour. And if you’re interested in seeing Katie when she goes on her book tour (Going There is out Oct. 26) you can go to to find out when and where she’s headed and get your tickets.