Hey there! Welcome to the world of Canadian television! As one of the resident Canucks here at TVRage, I have taken it upon myself to educate the TV-loving masses on the sheer talent and number of fantastic Canadian actors and actresses that are infiltrating your living rooms. Here in the land of beavers, maple syrup and hockey, we take a lot of pride in the accomplishments of our home grown talents. I hope that each week I can surprise you with some very famous people you had no idea were from the true north, strong and free! It’s the invading moose!
She is talented, she is funny, she is sassy and she is 100% Canadian. This week’s ‘Canada, Eh’ feature will be looking at the career and life of Canadian sweetheart Sarah Chalke. Chalke was born in our nation’s capital, Ottawa, Ontario, although she grew up in the beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia. Chalke’s mother was born in Rostock, Germany, and therefore Chalke attended a German school in her hometown twice a week; she can speak the language fluently, alongside a bit of French. French is our second language here in Canada, but I will let it slide that Chalke can only speak it “fairly well” but still managed to master the German language.
Chalke’s very first acting role was on Canadian television show ‘Neon Rider,’ which was followed by a role in the made-for-TV movie ‘City Boy’ in 1992. While her entrance into television couldn’t exactly be described as a big splash, she apparently made enough waves to land the role that would bring her fame after only one year of acting. In 1993 Chalke auditioned for the role of Becky on ‘Roseanne,' and needless to say, she nailed it. The role was not hers to begin with, with Chalke taking over for actress Lecy Goranson when she departed the series, but it brought attention to Chalke as a young, bubbly and talented young actress. When ‘Roseanne’ ended Chalke came back to Canada (who can blame her, it is fantastic here) and starred in the CBC television drama ‘Nothing Too Good for a Cowboy’. Yeah -- I have never heard of that series either -- but does it really matter, because Chalke was moments away from landing the role that would define her career and make her into a female comedic idol and a silly, smart, sexy doctor.
In 2001 Chalke was cast in the role that we all know and love her for the most: Dr. Elliot Reed on the NBC comedy ‘Scrubs.' Between Chalke’s adorable and awkward portrayal of Elliot, the bro-mance between Zach Braff (J.D.) and Donald Faison (Turk) and the sneaky janitor with a vendetta, the series was a cult-favorite and a loveable comedy. I will still stop what I am doing and watch entire episodes and marathons of the series if I catch it on TV. ‘Scrubs’ ran for nine seasons on television, all of which she says garnered her playful teasing from her co-stars about her Canadian background. "For 10 years on 'Scrubs' I would say words in Canadian and they definitely would be like, 'That's actually not how you pronounce it,"' says Chalke. "I'm like, 'That's how you pronounce it in Canada,' and they were like, 'No, you're just an idiot. That's not right.” We don’t all say “aboot” here in Canada, okay!?
Since ‘Scrubs’ went off the air in 2010, Chalke has had numerous starring and guest roles on television series’ like ‘How I Met Your Mother,' ‘Mad Love,' ‘Cougar Town’ and ‘How to Live with Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life).’
Outside of her life as an actress Chalke is a passionate and determined activist. When her son, Charlie Rhodes Afifi, was 2 years old he was diagnosed with the rare and hard to diagnose Kawasaki’s Disease. The episode “Can’t Fight This Feeling” on television series ‘Grey’s Anatomy,' which starred Chalke as a mother of a sick boy with Kawasaki’s, was created at the urging of Chalke to bring awareness and attention to the rare illness.
Chalke is also fiercely passionate about encouraging breast cancer detection and prevention after losing both her aunt and her grandmother to late stage breast cancer. She is an ambassador for the Audrey Hepburn Children’s Foundation, a supporter of same-sex marriage initiatives and the 2009 ambassador for the Susan G. Komen Passionately Pink for the Cure program. If you didn’t love her already for her acting, you can love her for her dedication to making the world a better place.
Sarah Chalke is one of those actresses that you can’t help but love -- you want to be her best friend, see her succeed and revel in the fact that she was born and bred in Canada (unless you aren’t Canadian, in which case, you can be jealous instead). Chalke has said herself that “Canadians bring a certain je ne sais quoi, un mystere — the good stuff,” to the world of acting, and who can argue with her? The woman has talent, she has looks, she has personality and she has a nation standing proudly behind her.
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