You'd think Charlene Hubenthal would get enough of the grisly and gory in her real life as a firefighter, ambulance driver and former reserve cop in North Charleston, S.C. You'd be wrong. Hubenthal, the only female in her firehouse, just loves watching CSI. So much that the single mom wrote to CBS's Early Show for its "Week of Wishes" requesting the chance to play a corpse on her favorite crime drama. Her back-up faves were JAG and Without a Trace, but she got her first choice!
"I got a phone call from an Early Show producer," she says, "telling me they'd fulfill my wish." So Hubenthal and daughter Jessica were flown to Los Angeles, where they were given a whirlwind tour. Then, she got her 15 minutes of fame literally. That's about how long she had to lie on a morgue slab, eyes closed and "holding [her] breath," while the CSI cameras zoomed over her "bloody and bruised face, made up like [she] was in a car accident.
"I'm not the main body, just an extra," she happily adds. And her wardrobe was pretty simple a winding sheet. Fortunately, she didn't have to feel too exposed as a quasi-corpse. Underneath the sheet, she was allowed to wear a flesh-colored bra and sweatpants. Phew!
But even more exciting than her acting debut was meeting CSI stars Jorja Fox, Robert David Hall and William Petersen on the set. "They were all so nice. I have so much more respect for the [entertainment] industry," says Hubenthal. She was so starstruck when she met Petersen, she blurted out, "You're more sexy in person than you are on TV!"
Hubenthal's CSI episode airs Dec. 18, and her Early Show segment airs tomorrow. But even before her actual TV debut, her firehouse buddies have been giving her a "hard time," she laughs, "calling me a superstar. But I'm sure they'll all be watching."
So what's the lucky lady's next wish? "To find the man of my dreams," she admits. Well, how about booking herself on a reality dating show? "Forget it," she says. "I'm not going to compete with other women for a man's attention. But if I'm the girl choosing the guy...."