ER's Final Episodes: Paging Dr. Ross

George Clooney's appearance in ER's final episodes

Betty Boyfriend of the Week

ER’s Final Episodes:

Paging Dr. Ross

George, it was so great seeing you last night!

-Carolyn Noyes

George ClooneyI’ve watched ER ever since the premiere in 1994; it was one of two Chicago hospital dramas debuting that fall, the other (anyone remember?)…Chicago Hope. Seriously, did the CBS execs think their show stood any chance against ER when ER had GEORGE CLOONEY?

Clooney’s Dr. Doug Ross was the prototype for McDreamy and McSteamy to come, the perfect blend of puppy-dog cute and hot-hot-hot bad boy with commitment issues. But I have to confess, he was on my hunk radar even in the days of his shag haircuts, failed sitcoms, and little-known dramatic roles–see it all here. (Come on, ladies, I know I wasn’t the only one jealous of Sela Ward when he played her boyfriend in TV’s Sisters right before ER came his way.)

When he left ER after five seasons, he left me, too, wondering where I would get my Clooney fix. (Unfortunately, his next move–starring in Quentin Tarantino’s From Dusk till Dawn vampire flick–didn’t give much opportunity for ogling.) Single at the time, I even dated the absolutely wrong guy for a year because there was something one-million-miles remotely Clooneyesque about him. OK, I’ll admit it now, that oh-so-striking similarity was, well, the same haircut. And while Clooney’s ER-hunk-in-residence successor, Goran Visnjic, is certainly something to look at in his own right, he never could quite make me forget that George wouldn’t be checking back in to County General anytime soon.

I did manage to build a Clooney-less life in the meantime–though I also did pay for and sit through 2002’s sci-fi snore Solaris in an attempt at a one-sided reunion. But then came the day I was simply walking through the lobby in my office building, when THERE HE WAS, up on the mezzanine level in a cordoned-off area. He was doing a video shoot in connection with Esquire magazine’s 75th anniversary–he was, for some odd artsy reason, dancing with pre-selected women from the company (look closely near the end of the dancing clip for Oprah’s pal, Gayle King).

As though he would even notice any single person among the mostly female crowd that was gathering, I went to the elevator bank where I could gawk from afar. On a break from the dancing, he went over to the refreshment table, poured his own drink, made small talk with some of the execs, and appeared to be conducting himself like a normal person–except that HE’S GEORGE CLOONEY! He is perhaps even more amazing-looking in person, with those eyes and that ease that make you realize why true stars really aren’t just like the rest of us.

Margulies and ClooneyAnyway, the next time I saw him was last night–ER simply couldn’t close out its 15-year run with any amount of credibility unless its biggest breakout star was on the final credit roll. All signs had pointed to a reunion: He and Julianna Margulies, who played his long-suffering but ultimately triumphant (cough, b****, cough) love interest, were reportedly filming scenes on a closed set in January. And while Margulies had been featured prominently in the ER finale teasers, NBC remained cagey about Clooney’s appearance.

So, George, thank you for the reunion date last night. And thank you, TiVo, for the “Keep until I Delete” function.

Clooney Slideshow! See pictures of George from schoolboy to ER to the leading man he is today…

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