Messenger - Vol. 4, No. 4, Page 8
No-nonsense nurse on 'ER'

     Some actors might kick back and bask in the glory of working on a
television show that's become an overnight success. Not Yvette
Freeman, Delaware '72, a supporting actor on NBC's popular hospital
drama E.R. which won 20 Emmy nominations in its first season.
     "With the success and notoriety of E.R., I can get my projects
out there now. I want to create, to write scripts that feature black
women. I want people to know more about black women in society and the
part they play in making the country as great as it is," Freeman says.
     The show's reputation has boosted Freeman's stock, giving her a
recognizable name and a growing list of contacts in the entertainment
industry. As a result, her writing projects are receiving attention
and her musical, Bricktop, has piqued the interest of a Los Angeles
theatre. She's also written two television scripts that are now in
agents' hands.
     On E.R., Freeman plays Haleh Adams, a no-nonsense registered
nurse who knows her job and the doctors' jobs, too. Brash yet
compassionate, the experienced nurse may yell at a doctor one minute
and snuggle a child the next.
     "She is one of the most evolved black female characters on TV
right now," says Freeman, a Wilmington, Del., native who now lives in
Los Angeles.
     Freeman's theatre experience, she says, makes her well-equipped
to handle the rigors of television. And rigorous it is.
     When filming E.R., Freeman's workday begins as early as 5:30 a.m.
and often continues well into the night. She receives her script only
two days before taping, and there are no rehearsals.
     "If you drop the ball in a trauma scene on E.R., you mess up the
entire scene. It is choreographed. You've got to feel the rhythm of
the scene, and you can't make a mistake. It's that intense," she says.
     E.R. strives for authenticity. Most of the show's story lines are
true. Real doctors and nurses work as extras, and a physician serves
as technical adviser to ensure medical accuracy. Before taping began,
cast members spent hours observing doctors and nurses at work in
hospital emergency rooms.
     "I think E.R. is going to change television. The show tells
stories about regular people. People want to look at themselves and
see the heroes in themselves," Freeman says. "I don't think anyone on
the show is a Hollywood beauty. They're good-looking people, but
they're not 'Hollywood types.'"
     Success is not new to Freeman. She has worked on Broadway,
performed on theatre stages around the world and made guest
appearances in television shows and major motion pictures. An art
major and theatre minor at Delaware, she's also an accomplished
     Her television guest spots have included Life Goes On, Down the
Shore, Alien Nation, Sisters and Hanging With Mr. Cooper. Her name has
rolled in the credits of the big-screen movies Dead Again and Switch,
and she can be seen this fall in Angus Bethune.
     Freeman starred in the musical Ain't Misbehavin' on Broadway, as
well as in Parisian and international touring productions of the play.
She had a leading role in the musical comedy Nunsense at the Charles
Playhouse in Boston and was one of two dozen Americans chosen to
perform in an international festival of the performing arts in China.
     Freeman starred this summer in Dinah Was, a new play written for
her by Oliver Goldstick, a writer and producer of the television show
Coach. The play, which premiered in Williamstown, Mass., depicts the
life of well-known jazz singer Dinah Washington.
     Television studios have approached Freeman and Goldstick for the
rights to Dinah Was, but the duo would like to see the show produced
on a New York stage first. Their dream is to stage the play on
     In addition to acting and writing, Freeman still hones the art
skills she acquired at Delaware. She and her sister, Nia Kondo,
recently completed Ten Little Brothers, a children's counting book
illustrated by Freeman and written by Kondo. They have two more books
     The unassuming actress credits her family with her success. She
talks lovingly of her deceased father, a school truant officer and
musician who gave her her first oil paints and easel and fostered her
love for art. Her parents-she's close to her mother, who still lives
in Wilmington-encouraged her to become an actress, but not without a
college degree.
     Freeman was active in the University's theatre department. "At
Delaware, I learned how to deal with people," she says. "I learned
art. The University opened doors so I could learn. When I got my
degree there, that was just the     beginning."
                                         -Marylee Sauder, Delaware '83