TVGuide.com: Look at you, playing grandma to some twentysomething girl!
TVGuide.com: What drew you to this film? It's not exactly a glamour project.
I cried my eyes out when I read the script. It so moved me and it had such a wonderful message that I wanted to be part of it.
TVGuide.com: In some ways, it reminded me of The Notebook.
Yeah. It's a cross between The Notebook and It's a Wonderful Life, where you don't realize at the time the impact you have on people.
TVGuide.com: Are you a fan of these types of stories, where a wise elder relates a sprawling yarn?
Yes, older people sharing their lives with younger people is such a gift. They're going to live their life no matter what it is, but you do have wisdom and experience to offer. So when they come to a fork in the road or a place in their lives that is really hard, they know that other people have survived really hard things, and that's important.
TVGuide.com: We see the changes it makes with Elizabeth's granddaughter, who starts out all headstrong and snotty and then is given new perspective on what life's about.
Yes, she is.
TVGuide.com: So, I grew up a Charlie's Angels fan....
TVGuide.com: At the time you joined the series, did you know exactly what you were jumping into meaning, the crosshairs of Farrah Fawcett fans?
[Laughs] Sure, because she was a phenomenon at the time. That's why I turned it down the first few times [executive producer] Aaron Spelling asked me to do it. Then we created the Kris Monroe character together and really gave whatever actor [who played her] the chance to come in and not feel like they had to be Farrah. We created such an interesting character with Kris the goofy and funny younger sister, always making mistakes and being enthusiastic that you just had to like her and root for the underdog.
TVGuide.com: What's the most important thing you came away from that experience with?
An understanding of the technical aspects of my craft, to the point that I didn't even have to think about it. Being on camera for four years, 15 hours a day, nine months a year, really gives you a technical understanding of what your craft is, for sure. It also gave me a great jumping-off point for what is now a 30-year career.
TVGuide.com: Looking back at your career, which project are you most glad to have been a part of?
Obviously Charlie's Angels, because it was so successful. Also, my experience on Broadway replacing Bernadette Peters in Annie Get Your Gun as an actor and singer/dancer, I so much loved being able to use all those talents. I did that for six months and it was a great joy. The audience is so alive and each performance is its own moment in time.
TVGuide.com: And now you're on Las Vegas. I imagine that when they were casting the wife of James Caan in a glitzy, Sin City-based series, actresses were champing at the bit to get this gig.
I was very happy to get it. It's just such an interesting role to play, and there are so few well-weathered, long-term relationships with married people on television where they're still crazy about each other. It's fun to play that and to work with Jimmy Caan, of course. He's a classic actor.
TVGuide.com: What about him surprised you most?
The energy this man has is just unbelievable. He has this huge, intense energy.
TVGuide.com: On this week's episode, airing April 7, Jillian plays a matchmaker of sorts by flying in Delinda's college boyfriend (Summerland's Shawn Christian). How is the dynamic you have with "daughter" Molly Sims?
I love working with Molly she's such a lovely young woman and a terrific actress. She just gets better every episode, don't you think? She keeps blooming and blooming and really bringing fun things.
TVGuide.com: What's your favorite Las Vegas episode to date? The one where Ed thinks Jillian's having an affair with Sugar Ray's Mark McGrath must rank high up there.
Oh, definitely. That was great fun. It was our 30th wedding anniversary, so there were lots of surprises. You didn't really know what was going on with her.
TVGuide.com: I don't know if you're all still pals or not, but has there been talk of cashing in on the idea of having any of your Charlie's Angels costars guest on Las Vegas?
I won't say that subject hasn't come up, but I don't know if it's really been pursued. That would be fun, though, wouldn't it?
TVGuide.com: Totally. So what the hell are we going to do for a season finale this year?
Ooh, something good...
TVGuide.com: We've sent Danny off to war, and last May blew up the damn casino. What's left?
[Sneaky laugh] You'll have to see. It's something good. Something surprising.
TVGuide.com: Ed's a woman...?
OK, not quite that surprising.
TVGuide.com: Tell me about the menopause-awareness effort you're involved in this year.
There are about 40 million women of menopausal age living in this country, and so many of them stop going to their doctors to talk about it. What they don't understand is the consequences of what starts to happen in this time of your life, all the health issues that are connected, and it's really important to talk about those things. I'm taking women's health issues out of the closet.
TVGuide.com: Are women of that age afraid to broach the topic out of some fear of mortality?
In the old days, women used to live five to 10 years after menopause; now women are living 25 to 35 years after menopause. That's a long time, so if you're going to be around, you might as well be healthy enough to play a round of golf.
TVGuide.com: I was going to say, with all you have going on, do you still make time for golf?
I try to, but I haven't gotten to play much this year.
TVGuide.com: I know Vegas' Josh Duhamel likes the links.
I haven't played with Josh, but we talk golf all the time, and we hit balls on the set.
TVGuide.com: Lastly, you were talking about the longevity of your Las Vegas marriage. In real life, you and your husband are going on, what, 25 years?
We just had our 25th anniversary.
TVGuide.com: How does one pull that off in today's Hollywood?
I guess you just have to be with the right person, and you have to value partnership and friendship.
TVGuide.com: When you first met him, did you sense he was going to be a keeper?
Yes, I did!