WASHINGTON – A statuesque blonde sitcom actress will depict in a made-for-TV movie Sen. Norie Gorzack, the fictional alter ego of Barbara Mikulski, the plump 4-foot-11-inch part-time novelist and full-time senator.
Mikulski and Judith Light, best known for her role as Angela Bower on the 1980s sitcom “Who’s the Boss,” were an unlikely duo as they spoke Friday in Mikulski’s Capitol Hill office to promote the upcoming movie.
“It is kind of `Nancy Drew comes to Washington’,” said Mikulski. “It is about a woman senator with spunk and character … intelligence and competence.”
The role of murder mystery novelist and movie promoter is a new one for the tough-talking Maryland senator, who gained her entry into politics from organizing against a 16-lane highway in East Baltimore.
Mikulski said Norie Gorzack, the Pennsylvania senator in the novel, is not based on her. But the similarities are striking.
Gorzack and Mikulski are both short female U.S. senators from Northeast states with Polish last names; both attended tiny Mount St. Agnes College in Baltimore; both have deep interests in women’s health, the elderly and other social issues; and both have “spunk” and are “tough-spirited.”
“This was not meant to be an autobiography by proxy,” Mikulski said. “A lot of my experiences are there, but it is not my biography.”
Light has no background in politics, but was attracted to the role “from the moment she read the book.”
The character has a “sense of self, a sense of her own power, a sense of being a woman,” Light said.
The actress described Gorzack as vulnerable, delicate and assertive rather than aggressive.
Light and the executive producers and screen writer for the movie have come to Washington to follow Mikulski around Capitol Hill to become familiar with the inner workings of Congress.
Light said one of the first things she learned is that women senators do not carry purses because they cannot be fumbling with something on the Senate floor.
Mikulski co-authored the book with former Los Angeles Times columnist Marylouise Oates, the wife of political consultant Robert Shrum.
The movie is expected to come out next year, but Mikulski fans can read her new thriller, “Capitol Venture,” while they are waiting.