Laurette Spang-McCook

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Laurette Spang-McCook
Born Laurette Spang
(1951-05-16) May 16, 1951 (age 63)
Buffalo, New York,
United States
Occupation Actress
Spouse(s) John McCook (1980-present) 3 children

Laurette Spang-McCook (born May 16, 1951) is an American television actress. She is most well known for playing the character Cassiopeia in the original Battlestar Galactica (1978).

Biography[edit]

Early life/family[edit]

Spang was born in Buffalo, New York and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan. During her youth, she was an active letter-writer, penning letters to actors. She was also a fan of the gothic soap opera, Dark Shadows and of the television western, Bonanza.

At 16, she accompanied her father on a business trip to New York City, where she waited at the stage door of Dark Shadows. The stage guard allowed her to walk in, leading her to actress Kathryn Leigh Scott. After their meeting, Spang would answer Scott's fan mail through high-school.

Career[edit]

The summer of her junior year, Spang auditioned to be an apprentice at Williamstown Summer Theater. A year later, Scott set up an audition for Spang at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. She received a scholarship and graduated from there two years later. Following graduation in 1969, Spang returned to Michigan where she attended Adrian College, living dorm life on a small campus, but not far from her family in Ann Arbor.

After a Universal Studios talent agent spotted her in 1972, Spang signed a 7-year contract with the studio. She then had a succession of guest-starring roles in television shows including Emergency!, Adam-12 (Episode: Venice Division), The Streets of San Francisco, The Six Million Dollar Man, Happy Days, Chase, Isis, Charlie's Angels, and Lou Grant. Spang also appeared in the TV movies Short Walk to Daylight, Runaway!, and Sarah T. - Portrait of a Teenage Alcoholic. She co-starred with Jean Peters, William Windom, and Joseph Bottoms in a production of Winesburg, Ohio on KCET's Hollywood Television Theatre.

Towards the end of her contract with Universal(by which time, according to People Weekly Magazine,[volume & issue needed] her money was almost exhausted and she had been evicted from an apartment she had been renting), Spang was cast as Cassiopeia in the Battlestar Galactica pilot movie, "Saga of a Star World." An initial draft of the script had her killed off in the pilot film, in which the reptiloid Ovions consumed her, almost cannibal-style. However, the character survived and the network kept her on in a regular role in the subsequent weekly series, but "Standards And Practices" (network censors) forced a change of profession upon her. (The censors would no longer allow her to be a socialator, so Glen Larson and Donald P. Bellisario had her character become a medtech in the series, beginning with "Lost Planet Of The Gods, Parts One And Two.")

Spang's later acting performances were in The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, The Dukes of Hazzard, the TV movie The Day the Bubble Burst, and finally an episode of Magnum, P.I.. She took a de facto retirement from acting in 1984, though she made a brief appearance in the 2007 horror film Plot 7, which also featured her by-then husband John McCook.

In 2002, Spang appeared in the Battlestar Galactica episode of Sciography documentary series on the Sci-Fi Channel in 2002. In 2003, she appeared in another Battlestar Galactica documentary included as an extra feature in the DVD boxset of the series released for the show's 25th anniversary.

Personal life[edit]

Spang married actor John McCook on February 16, 1980. She had three children with McCook: Jacob("Jake"), Rebecca("Becky"), and Molly. Jake became a film editor and filmmaker, Becky became an assistant kindergarten teacher, and Molly carried both of her parents's careers into the second generation as an actress/singer who appeared on such shows as Monk, 10 Things I Hate About You, and Glee.

References[edit]