Originally Posted Online: Oct. 03, 2012, 8:17 pm
Last Updated: Oct. 04, 2012, 11:59 am
Bettendorf mom gets big thrill on Hollywood set
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By Jonathan Turner, firstname.lastname@example.org
On the 'NCIS: L.A.' set are: standing from left, Daniela Ruah, Eric Christian Olsen, Chris O’Donnell and LL Cool J; seated from left, moms Katia Korn-Broder, Jeanne Olsen, Julie O’Donnell and Ondrea Smith.
The episode of "NCIS: Los Angeles" that will air Tuesday is extra special for Bettendorf's Jeanne Olsen.
Her son, Eric, has co-starred in the crime drama since 2010 as Marty Deeks, and in this episode, which will air at 8 p.m. Tuesday on CBS, Mrs. Olsen has a cameo with the three other real-life mothers of the lead actors. In a scene in which the crime-fighting team looks for a suspect in a casino, they bump into the four women playing poker. Each of the moms has one line, Mrs. Olsen said this week.
"It's kind of a cute scene. We're having a girls' time out," she said. In real life, Mrs. Olsen, a lay chaplain for Genesis Medical Center, doesn't gamble at all. "I work really hard for my money; I don't want to give it away."
The "all in the family" episode of the CBS drama was the brainchild of executive producer Shane Brennan, who suggested it to the actors and three of the mothers, including Mrs. Olsen, when they attended a private Oscar viewing party last February in Los Angeles.
"I thought it was a joke," "NCIS" star Chris O'Donnell told People magazine. "When I found out he was serious, I was excited to call my mom. I knew this would be the biggest deal for her."
"When Shane asked us if we wanted to do this, I thought, 'What a gift.' There was no reason for him to do it," Mrs. Olsen said. "Wouldn't it be fun for your grandchildren to see this someday? He's brilliant, a genius at this. He's also just kind. Everybody is as nice in real life as they are in the show. They all get along, all like each other. They're just as kind to everyone on the set -- they're nice and gracious to all of them. It made me very happy to see the type of people Eric is working with."
The episode was filmed in August, and she said, "They treated us like queens." The moms were picked up at 5:30 a.m., and when they got to the set, "They took us to the biggest trailer I'd ever seen -- a huge living room, kitchen, bedroom, everything," Mrs. Olsen said. "I thought that was great for the mothers. But each of the moms had one."
She got along well with the other moms. "We all like each other; they were gracious and delightful," Mrs. Olsen said.
Near the set was an Astroturf courtyard with potted plants and patio furniture, where producers arranged interviews with People, E! and CBS. "Take your mother to work day" also was a thrill for the veteran actors. "It was fun getting to work and seeing her in hair and makeup," Eric Christian Olsen told People.
"What's really neat is I know he loves doing it," Mrs. Olsen said. "When your kid loves what they're doing, they find a job when they get up in the morning, they love to go to work ... Life's too short to not enjoy what you're doing. People come up to me all the time, and say 'I love watching 'NCIS: L.A.'' Our son lives 2,000 miles away, but on Tuesday nights, I get to see my son."
This has been a particularly momentous year for the Olsen family.
Eric, a 35-year-old Bettendorf High School graduate, got married to his longtime girlfriend, actress Sarah Wright, in June near Jackson Hole, Wyo., in an outdoor ceremony officiated by his father, Paul Olsen, Augustana College's longtime track and field coach.
People magazine and other national media outlets reported that instead of a traditional wedding cake, at the reception the couple served their favorite dessert -- Whitey's ice cream, which they had sent from the Quad-Cities for the special day. Mr. Olsen's first acting job was in a Whitey's TV commercial as a teen.
"Sarah and Eric were thrilled," Mrs. Olsen said.