A Minute With: Marilu Henner's "Unforgettable" life

Wed Sep 14, 2011 5:19am EDT
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By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Actress Marilu Henner has enjoyed living with a fantastic memory since she was a child, but it was only recently that her special powers were diagnosed as real-life condition and given a name.

Now the "Taxi" actress and self-help author is a consultant on the new TV crime drama "Unforgettable" featuring a detective played by Poppy Montgomery who can't forget the past. Henner also has been cast on the show in a very different role.

Henner, 59, who also appeared in the movies "LA Story" and "Perfect" spoke with Reuters about her work on "Unforgettable", and her upcoming book that helps others uncover their past.

Q: "Unforgettable" wasn't based on you, but the character has the same condition. I've heard it called Superior Autobiographical Memory, hyperthymesia. Which do you prefer?

A: "It's called highly superior autobiographical memory, or HSAM. They are creating gradients of it now. They stopped calling it hyperthymesia, which I really did think sounded like an illness."

Q: And what's your work as consultant?

A: "I feel so protective that it (HSAM) doesn't come off as this weird creepy kind of thing because that's not what it is ... So I said, 'I can tell you guys what it's like to have this and live with this all the time and what happens and give you some story ideas.'

"One of the things I was very insistent on was that for people who have HSAM, when we go back to a memory, we are there in present time looking out through our eyes. It's not third person. We are not looking at ourselves ... we are back in our bodies looking out. So it would be ridiculous for (actress) Poppy Montgomery to have a camera on her head and walk through the memories. I think they handled it brilliantly."   Continued...

<p>Actress Marilu Henner poses in Hollywood in this October 30, 2005 file photo. REUTERS/Fred Prouser</p>