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U-M alum’s acting credits include TV?legal dramas

By Kurt Anthony Krug
Legal News

Actress Miriam Shor has learned to live in the moment.

“When you’re living life as an actor, you’re never gonna know what’ll happen next,” said Shor, of New York City. “I’ve been in the business long enough now to know nothing’s ever a sure thing, so I try to enjoy myself while I’m doing it and have the best time I can in the moment because that’s what you have at any given time. Nobody can guess what’ll happen next.
Nobody can guess what’ll be a hit or why. Nobody knows what’s gonna work or not work and why. I kinda feel like you enjoy what you can, you do the best work you can, and you just count yourself lucky to be working and working with good people.”

Born in Minneapolis, Shor grew up in Ferndale. She graduated from Ferndale High School in 1989 and the University of Michigan in 1993 with her undergraduate degree in English and theater.

“I have two degrees and I use both of them: I’m an actress and I speak English every day,” she quipped.

Best known for appearing on the two short-lived TV series “Swingtown” and “GCB,” Shor has had recurring roles on the legal drama “Damages” and “The Good Wife.” Currently, she plays Diana Trout on the TV Land comedy series “Younger,” which debuted March 31, opposite fellow Michigander Sutton Foster, a Tony Award-winning actress.

“I love Sutton. I’ve known Sutton for a long time. I went to U-M with her brother Hunter (who’s also an actor). She’s remarkably talented. We’ve never worked together before. It was a really fun project to do with her,” praised Shor. “She’s so down to earth, so fun, so real, a really great person to spend your days with... It’s just a really nice environment when you’re with Sutton; she makes it fun and relaxed. And since she’s super-talented too, that makes it even more fun.”

Created by Darren Star of “Sex and the City” fame, “Younger” is about Liza Miller (Foster), a 40-year-old divorced mother looking to reenter the workforce, which proves to be difficult. She gets a makeover in order to appear to be in her mid-20s and subsequently becomes assistant to Diana (Shor), the no-nonsense head of a publishing house.

“Darren’s good at this: He’ll create a character and the audiences think they know exactly who she is,” said Shor. “But (Diana) has these moments where you think there’s something else going on under there. A: She has a heart, which you might not think at first. B: There’s this insecurity… I feel there’s a bond Sutton’s character and my character forge. Her character understands my character’s insecurities and fears on a level that I don’t know she understands because I don’t know she’s my contemporary; I think she’s in her 20s.”

She continued: “We have these moments where you get to learn that Diana has a heart and does care, as much as she tries to she seem like she doesn’t. That’s her armor (after) having made her way in a man’s world, having become a boss, and trying to stay there. That’s not to say she becomes sweetheart; there’s no danger of that happening. But there are these moments.”

According to Shor, someone will learn about Liza’s true age in upcoming episodes – “that’s obviously inevitable” – but wouldn’t say who. She did say this, however: “Needless to say, a great deal of hilarity ensues.”

As to how she got the part of Diana, Star called and asked if she’d come in and audition. They formed a good working relationship during their time on “GCB.”

“I wasn’t going to say no to him because I had such a great time working with him. Also, it’s shot in New York City where I live and where I want to work. I love shooting here – I love it. It’s a dream come true for me. If I wasn’t already sold, then I read the script and the character and I thought, ‘Okay, she’s hilarious and fantastic and really fun to play. How can I say no?’” said Shor, laughing. “The writing gets better and better with each episode.”

Shor recently appeared in the March 22 episode of  “The Good Wife,” playing journalist Mandy Post.

“I love that part. The creators asked me if I’d be interested in doing this arc... Again, I’m just gonna say it: Another great show shot in New York City,” she said, laughing. “To have them call you for this part, it was so amazing, like a dream come true. They kept calling and said, ‘Hey, wanna come back?’ It’s a gift. That cast is amazing, too. You can’t find an actor in New York who’s worked on that show who doesn’t rave about it. It’s a fantastic set and a fantastic group of actors.”

According to Shor, Mandy is someone who’s trying to be a good journalist and tell the best story she can, but she’s not always ethical about it.

“The audience reaction to it was she’s (conniving) and just out for herself with an evil tinge to her… I was shocked at how people’s reaction was, but I loved it ultimately,” she explained.

Shor enjoys the scenes where Mandy spars with series regular Alan Cumming’s Eli Gold.

“Alan and I are always putting it in there, regardless that it’s not in the script or makes it on-camera,” said Shor. “We have these little adversarial moments, which is just fun.”

She also compared Mandy to Diana.

“Mandy is coming from a place… she really thinks she’s trying to get her job done. She doesn’t go at it from a place of insecurity like Diana does. Diana’s very cruel to people because she has fear and insecurity driving her. They’re similar in that both are ambitious in a world where women aren’t treated so well. So they have to put on their armor and bully their way through,” explained Shor.

Another memorable role was meth addict Carrie Parsons on “Damages” – something that was against type for Shor. Carrie’s the sister of attorney Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne), the protégé of hard-driving, high-powered attorney Patty Hewes (Oscar nominee Glenn Close).

“It’s another show that’s shot in New York City, by the way, so there’s that. I’m all about shooting here when I can. That show’s just amazing; it’s so well-written. It was not a huge part at first, then they asked me come back for a whole story arc that was just great,” she said.

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