EXCLUSIVE: Marilu Henner has been hitting the road.
The former “Taxi” star is currently in Canada quarantining with her co-star Candace Cameron Bure where they’re gearing up to star in another film from Hallmark Channel’s “Aurora Teagarden Mysteries” franchise. Their latest movie, titled “Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: How to Con a Con,” is part of the network’s “Spring Fling” lineup, offering feel-good films the whole family can enjoy together.
The 68-year-old is also set to star in a Lifetime film premiering on March 21 titled “Pearls in the Mist,” which she said will certainly shock longtime fans.
Henner spoke to Fox News about working alongside Cameron Bure, 44, her favorite memories from “Taxi,” which aired from 1978 until 1983, as well as what has kept her going over the years.
Fox News: Many fans remember you from “Taxi.” What’s your favorite memory from your time on the set?
Marilu Henner: Oh my gosh. Well, first of all, we had a party every Friday and everybody would come. We were like the cool kids in school. And during that time on the Paramount lot, we had “Happy Days,” “Laverne & Shirley,” “Bosom Buddies” with Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari. We had “Working Stiffs” with Michael Keaton and Jim Belushi. “Mork & Mindy” with Robin Williams and Pam Dawber.
So we were like the cool kids and everybody would come and hang out with us because we had these parties every week. So those were certainly memorable. And then there were so many great “Taxi” episodes. It was just a great experience. Just so special. It was definitely the golden era of sitcoms.
Fox News: Have you stayed in touch with any of your “Taxi” castmates?
Henner: We always stayed in touch with each other. We never lost touch… [And with this pandemic], we do a “Taxi” Zoom every two months. We have one coming up pretty soon. We did one in Christmas, one around Valentine’s Day, one for Jim Brooks’ birthday. And he did one for the anniversary of “Taxi.” We just keep having these Zooms. So we’re all very current with one another. And we have a text chain as well. We’re in contact every week. So yeah, I’m very close to those guys.
Fox News: How would you describe the last time you saw Andy Kaufman?
Henner: I saw Andy the month before he passed away. I saw him at a screening. “Taxi” finished in ’83 and then I saw him in the fall of ’83 at a macrobiotic restaurant that I’d go to.
And I didn’t recognize him. I mean, I knew it was Andy, but he was so sunken in and just so sick. So ill-looking. And I saw him two more times, right before he passed away. I saw him again and he was rallying for the screening. But he was super thin and obviously very, very sick. So I wasn’t surprised when he passed away. I knew how ill he was. But it was so sad and depressing.
I loved him. I loved Andy Kaufman. I got along very well with him. He was very special. He prided himself in being a song a dance man. We were always singing and dancing and fooling around that way.
And you know, with all due respect to Jim Carrey, I did not like “Man on the Moon” because I felt his performance didn’t show the humanity, the human being that Andy was. Because there was something very, very sweet about Andy. We once flew together and just talked non-stop. We held hands when the plane took off and when it landed. I don’t think people really know what a sweet person he was, you know?
So I was kind of upset that “Man on the Moon” exploited him in some way and made him not the nice person that I know he was, even though he was a provocateur, even though he could drive you crazy, even though he always wanted to wrestle me – but he was so kind and wonderful.
Fox News: And what about Jeff Conaway? Do you remember the last time you saw him?
Henner: Tony Danza and I spent the last two weeks of his life pretty much almost every day at the hospital. And I had seen Jeff a few months before that. I did the national company of “Grease” with Jeff. So I knew him.
I spent a year on the road with Jeff before. This was before we even got “Taxi” together. Jeff was like my brother, you know? He was a lot of fun. We always talked to each other on holidays. I love his sisters and spend time with them. Losing Jeff – that was really sad. That was another devastating experience.
Fox News: You’re currently in Vancouver quarantining with co-star Candace Cameron Bure. What’s that been like?
Henner: Oh, well this is our fourth time quarantining. She and I get along really well. We’re very compatible, a well-oiled machine at this point. I saved up all the things I haven’t seen on Netflix and we watch them together. And the house is big enough that we can be on different floors and I can get my 10,000 steps in on a different floor. And she’s on the Peloton. We have a routine down and it all works.
Fox News: Looking back what initially drew you to the role of Aida Teagarden?
Henner: Well, first of all, I love a good mystery and I love a fabulous character. Charlaine Harris wrote the original Aurora Teagarden books, so when we started doing the films, I read the books. I loved the way that she described my character. She’s opinionated, a little bossy, but wants the best for her daughter. She hates that her daughter keeps putting herself in danger.
Fox News: How important has it been for you to be part of Hallmark and what it stands for?
Henner: Hallmark’s like a real family. [They’ve] created this whole world of Christmasland and all these wonderful, feel-good movies. My niece can sit and watch an Aurora Teagarden film and try to figure out the mystery. It’s pretty safe for her to watch it with me because nothing is scary.
You never see anybody being killed [in Hallmark]. You never see red blood. And there’s only a certain amount of times that people can say “kill” or “murder.” So when you read the script, it’s like, “Oooh, I got a ‘kill.’” It’s all more clever than scary.
Fox News: How has your relationship with Candace changed over the years?
Henner: You know, we related to each other right away. We even have the same birthday, 24 years apart. She had her children very early in life, I had mine very late in life. So my son is only two and a half years older than her oldest daughter. So we related to each other a lot as mothers and actresses, of course. And we get along very well. We cook together, we watch things together, we work out. We have a lot of similarities in terms of temperament, so it makes it easy.
Fox News: You’re also going to be starring in a new Lifetime film titled “Pearls in the Mist.” What can audiences expect?
Henner: Well, it’s a V.C. Andrews book that’s part of her Ruby Landry series. I’m just this horrible, evil, rotten person. It’s the most villainous character I’ve ever played… And it takes place in 1962, so there’s period wardrobe, hair and makeup. It’s a completely different look for me. It’s very, very different from the way I think people are used to seeing me.
Fox News: What was the biggest challenge you faced on set?
Henner: I think the whole look, the feel – just trying to find a way for me to embrace a character that is very unlike me and not helpful at all. But it was kind of fun to play somebody just so awful, especially because I adore my co-star. I always gave them a hug afterward *laughs*.
Fox News: You’re known for your amazing memory. How has that kept you feeling young and energetic?
Henner: I don’t know anything else. It’s me constantly going and taking in information. It hasn’t suffered at all during quarantine… It’s always good to develop a better autobiographical memory. If all we do is wake up, live our lives, turn off the light and go to sleep – what does it all mean? To me, developing a better autobiographical memory, it’s really our strongest line of defense against the meaninglessness that we have.
Because if we take things that we’ve been through, if we can take our past and bring it to our present and then let it inform a better future, we’re going to be a lot better off. We’re going to be able to recognize red flags a lot more quickly.
… If you’re constantly recording your life in a way that feels like it’s really seeping into your brain, it’s already on your emotional hard drive. It makes you behave in a certain way, whether you’re aware of it or not. If you become more conscious about how it’s seeping in, then you’re going to be able to use the information a lot more easily.
Fox News: Do you have any advice for women who want to feel just as energetic?
Henner: Make sure you get all your steps in. Love the food that loves you because you know which foods don’t and you’ve certainly had time to experiment. Motion is the lotion. It lubricates your joints. Get going and make sure you move.
Even when I was quarantining at a hotel, I was able to do between 11,000 and 13,000 steps a day. Otherwise, I would have gone crazy. And if you have some kind of drama with somebody – I apply what I call the 36-hour solution. Give it 36 hours and watch it change because there’s something about that different time of day. It’s a different perspective. Let’s say you had a fight with somebody. Give it 36 hours before you go back and deal with it because it’ll make a big difference.
“Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: How to Con a Con” airs Sunday, March 14 at 8 p.m. ET on Hallmark.